I’m just back from Impro Hotel in Corfu, and I’m still completely Corfused.
I was definitely in another world for a full week – and that world was full of sun, laughs, delicious homemade meals served at pre-appointed times, dune buggies, improv revelations, dancing and high quality good times. Although I was technically working (I was there to teach improv), it sure didn’t feel like it; in the words of camp director Ralf, there was much party made last week.
My trip began in Amsterdam with a Friday night cab at 2am to catch a 4am flight. It finished the next Friday night/Saturday morning with a 4.30am pick up. That lack of sleep bookends a week where there wasn’t as much sleep as there could have been. But I attempted to compensate by taking care of myself with excellent food and plenty of sunscreen. I managed, but barely. It was an intense expenditure of energy, but worth every drop.
|Jim Libby, Patti Stiles, Stevie Heydeck, Katie Freudenschuss, me and Nadine Antler: the teachers!|
First of all, the people! I was one of few non-German speakers, but still managed to make more than a few lifelong friends.
Special shout outs must go to my fellow teachers and Ralf. We were each other’s support network over the week, and looked out for each other, whether we needed to take the boat for a test ride, have daily teacher’s tea time, to having lunch or drinks and riffing on exercises, ideas and goals.
And of course, there was also that one night when we went karaoking, and showed the town how we cut loose. I chose two songs that, as it turned out, I didn’t know nearly as well as I thought.
Fortunately I was able to freestyle my way through them (Will Smith’s ‘Miami’ and Cameo’s ‘Word Up’, if you’re wondering), which I enjoyed more anyway; I sure am glad I had a dope-as-hell avenue to channel my desperation into, as I stood there with the mic in my hand and realized I was sinking.
Other karaoke highlights were Jim’s heartbreaking version of ‘In the Air Tonight’ and Katie’s perfect rendition of ‘American Pie’ (“The day the tango died”).
The other big delight was teaching my two workshops.
|Take it Easy!|
The first was Take it Easy, which is about discovering story and structure, letting them come out in the moment, and offering the scene what it needs. The second, Get Real, is about connecting with our scene partners, and being aware of what they’re doing and how we feel, and acting on that.
I had prepared three hour sessions for each of them. However, I found out the night before starting that each of my workshops were actually ten hour sessions spread over two days (!)
After the initial panic subsided, I scrambled to think of how I could expand the content. In the end it couldn’t have been better. I was able to go really deep with each group and explore the improv elements I wanted to teach them, and also focus on what they needed, as those things arose. Now I just wish, quite seriously, there had been more time.
There were hundreds of other bits and moments that became part of our week, and though they may only translate into “you had to be there” anecdotes, they live on. Like the tango. which is forever. And everywhere.