TLS Theatre Talk Tuesday July 26 – The middle of your improvisation journey

TLS Theatre Talk Tuesday – June 28th

Theatre-Talk-logoThe TLS Blog about English theatre in Frankfurt am Main, Improvisation and more

What we’re reading and watching this week: Being in the middle of your improvisation journey

improv journey
Photo by Jim Simonson via Flickr

We can’t really remember which improv teacher said it, but we definitely agree with it: the toughest part of the improvisation journey is the middle. The beginning is so easy, so fun. There’s a few simple rules, some serious group bonding and a whole new idea about how to spend your free time unfurls before you. But then you get going.  And it gets harder. Like way harder, before it gets easy again. That’s because people forget to trust the system. It is a system! It does work. Mirror, match your partner’s point-of-view. Listen. Build. But somewhere along the line we start wanting to DELIVER. To entertain. And so we throw the system out the window, in favour of being funny  or clever. We start crawling into our heads. We go for plot, not character. We forget about object and space work.

But the good news is that once we recognise it, we can get back to basics. If we just keep practicing we stop thinking so much, we start noticing what is really happening onstage with our partners. Be kind and calm with this stuff, because the real fun is just waiting for us there in the moment, if we are patient enough to wait for it. Check out Paul Vaillancourt’s video on Picasso and the 3 rules of art for further evidence (below). Remember we all have bad scenes. We survive them and they make us stronger. Tom Rittenhouse has a pretty great story about how he got better from some major scene failure, which we can only have happen if we really give ourselves permission to fail.


Take classes. Watch shows. Practice, practice, practice. It’s worth the ride!

For TLS improvisers:

Come to the August jam! In September, we’ll have special Musical Improvisation Dropins for teens and adults, followed by a short-form showdown jam.

For TLS actors:

We just want to take a moment to thank everyone for their work on the Staged Reading Series this Spring and Summer.

Over 30 people worked on this series over the last several months. Over 120 people turned up to see the shows. Thanks to the directors for picking excellent pieces, and bringing the ensembles together so quickly for these powerful performances. Thank you to each cast who supported each other so well, and took on the specific challenges of a staged reading with vigor and enthusiasm. Thank you to those who conducted talkbacks, respectfully allowing audiences the chance to talk about the pieces, and what they thought each one was about. Thank you to the volunteers, who helped check people in, take photos, sell drinks, set up and shut down, and just generally enthusiastically supported us as champions for TLS and the work we do. Thank you to everyone who shared the experience on social media, because we rely on our fans, friends and students to be our advocates and let Frankfurt know we are here. Thank you to those who attended the shows, in rain or shine, because art needs an audience. In direct line with our artistic mission, each play resonated, created a conversation, and allowed for us to reflect on their meanings and implications within our Frankfurt community. Thank you again, and look for more readings next year in February, March and April of 2017.

Play-in-a-Day registration has closed, with offers going out soon. We look forward to putting together this year’s festival.

For TLS fans:

Have you watched or share our student testimonial video? Please consider posting it on your Facebook wall, as we are trying to get the word out to new groups for our September classes. We have a whole new timetable of shows and classes coming up in Autumn. Check it out!