Thursday afternoon marked the end of my first week in the iO summer intensive. Since classes start at 11 and end at 5, this is the equivalent of eight weeks of level one. The pacing of the intensive certainly makes for an odd experience. The experience of the class ranges from those who have never taken an improv class before to those who have been improvising for ten years, yet by the end of day four we performed our first Harold as a group. Though I took a week long intensive for my UCB 101 class, we were still just doing basic scene work by the time our class show came.
The makeup of the class is quite interesting. Several people in the class are not native English speakers, hailing from Germany and Poland. Though their English is very good, occasionally there will be a minor language barrier. Ultimately I think that this is a good thing for improv as it forces us to assume that we know more than we do and not let ourselves stumble too much over a lost word. Additionally, several people in the class are from England and one is from Canada, making the total number of foreigners as high as the Americans. While I love meeting people with all of these different backgrounds, ideally I wish that this class were filled with people who lived in New York and who I could go home and form a team with. Already the intensive program has built among us a great group mind.
Many of the exercises we did in a level 1 were familiar from my time at UCB. We zip-zap-zopped, Crazy-Eighted, Hot Spotted and passed the clap. What interests me, and what I am excited to continue exploring as I go through my classes, is the notion of “relationship” based improv. “Game” has yet to come up other than as the palette cleansers between beats in the Harold. Instead of identifying what the “Game of the scene” is, we are primarily identifying the relationship between characters (not to be confused with “relation” of the characters, i.e. father-son). When talking to my teacher about the different performance styles at UCB and iO he said, “Yeah, UCB sees iO perform and wonders why it’s so slow. iO see UCB perform and wonders, ‘Why do we care?’” I think the balance lies somewhere in the middle and I am excited to find out where that is.
Shows I’ve seen:
- Cook County Social Club with Uncle Magic
- Felt with Berserker
- Delicate Men with a Harold team I don’t remember the name of
- Improvised Shakespeare