Improvisational Theater

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Back to the Table

Many years back I was leading a Blank Slate rehearsal and I used an exercise I had learned from Sparky Johnson to inspire some new ideas about storytelling.  The exercise was going wonderfully when suddenly something completely unexpected happened!  A new idea about storytelling was inspired!!!!   Well, a concept for a new performance format was inspired. Since then I have given the early concept a lot of thought.  Sometimes I worked the idea with Blank Slate,  sometimes I wrote stream of consciousness about it to process it and see what developed, sometimes I talked about it with other improvisers, daydreamed about it...etc. But unfortunately I was never able to put all the pieces together in a way I thought really honored the idea, the players and the audience that would watch the performance unfold.  So, for a long time I let it go.  Until just a few weeks ago when the concept re-awoke and began to stir in me. And for whatever reason, this time it was perfectly clear! The whole thing!  How it looked from beginning to end!  Besides being beside myself with glee, I was also trepidatious. Often, as I am sure you know, concepts look awesome in the brain, but muddled, chaotic or cockamamie in practice.  I knew I had to see it done.  I had to do it!  But with Blank Slate on Holiday vacation, and not a lot of playtime on the table, I was pessimistic about putting it to the test before it slipped out of my brain again.
Perhaps it was the holiday spirit that guided the improv angel to my door?  Or maybe it was just by luck?
 The perfect opportunity presented itself mere hours after that moment of creative clarity, and just before I succumbed to my own doubt.  For Sunday night was Diabolical Experiments at the Brody Theater!  Oh yes it was.  The first DE I've been scheduled for in a long time.  Diabolical Experiments is a wonderful show at my home theater wherein professional improvisers from all over town, and often out of town visitors, come together and play.  The DE cast never knows exactly what they will do until warm up time, and often the chosen format is a new, untested something... an experiment.  And usually these shows are superbly fun and entertaining.  In the afternoon of this fateful day, Beau Brousseau, the DE moderator, M.C., organizer, Guru, posted a request to the weeks cast regarding possible formats to play and Back to the Table seemed the PERFECT FIT!!!!!!  I suggested it to the cast, they liked the idea, we played the format with my new tweaks, twists and outlines and it was wonderful!!!!After the show the cast cheered for the format, which delighted me.  And because we had played it, the hiccups and the hallelujah's were perfectly clear.  I cannot wait to workshop it and play it again!!!!  Thank you to those who played.  It was a terrific experience.  Have I mentioned I love improv?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Getting Down with Blank Slate

Four Year Old Improviser

Teaching Fort Hays University



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Blank Slate Takes the Citywide Theatersports WIN!!!!

 Blank Slate Wins the Citywide Theatersports Tournament

It was funny, but it was no joke, as Blank Slate took the tournament home to mama!  We all had an incredible time.  We worked hard to adjust to the nuances of playing very differently than we are used to.  Blank Slate is a fast paced and format free ensemble wherein ANYTHING goes.  Working inside of the short form games and Theatersports container was a joy, a challenge and an awesome learning opportunity that we all grabbed hold of with enthusiasm. Thank you fan's for coming out to see us, and thank you to the other teams that played so well and were so incredibly fun, and thank you to the Brody Theater for organizing and hosting the event. 

Domeka Parker's European Improv Teaching Tour:

Domeka Parker's European Improv Teaching Tour:
 (Said in One Breath)
Friday December 14th, 10 pm
The Brody Theater
16 NW Broadway
$5 measly buck-er-roo's

 I was once a tiny, lithe, bugger faced thing. I dug in the dirt.  I ate glue.  I climbed trees. And I watched my parents teach and perform improvisational theater.  Sitting in the dusty corner of rm. 119, I watched my father's students come to life playing theater games.  I watched how they idolized him as he instructed them to jump and run and to let themselves laugh and play.  I watched how they respected him as he taught them to think, connect, build and create together.  Half the time I did all this from my periphery whilst doodling on my stomach with a sharpie pen, or creating a masterpiece from old gum.  Without even trying I absorbed his lessons, and even when I was seen as odd, asked to straighten up, quit asking questions or behave, I lived his lessons in silliness, critical thinking and creativity. And I wanted to be him.  But that was just in the daytime.  At night, from the back row of dark theaters, I watched my mother perform.  I watched her completely transform herself, her body, her voice, her perspective. I watch as she told dynamic stories, spontaneously and effortlessly.  I listened as numerous people complimented her skill, her prowess, her grace.  She was a powerhouse of drama and comedy both, a genius performer. And I wanted to be her. 
Then came THE DARK AGES, but I made it through, and theater, especially improv, was waiting for my in the light.  I embraced it and improv and performance has again become the center of my universe.  Teaching improv has become my heart.  Cheesy, yes. True, also yes.  No, no, not literally, figuratively... oh shut it...
Recently I have been given the opportunity to teach and perform abroad.  Yup, abroad.  Europe.  That's where "abroad" is. I will be performing and instructing at the Amsterdam International Improv Festival, traveling south to Munich and Zurich and Slovenia for more teaching and performing.  This opportunity feels BIG. It feels like the door to all my kid dreams has opened.  And it feels like my future, my dream future, is at my finger tips.  
Please join me on December 14th, 10 pm, at the Brody Theater for a fundraiser to help me get my fingertips to that door, as it were.  I am so grateful for your interest and your help.