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2015 INNY Award Nominations Ballot
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The Action In Reaction
Written by Israel Savage   

 Give It To Me Straight, Doc

Doctor

After postponing my annual physical three times, I finally made it to the doctor's office. He was a new doctor for me and the experience was relatively painless. But later, when I called to get the results of my checkup, I found out that he never requested any tests be ran! My fasting, the needle picks, the time-off from work – it was seemingly for nothing!

Twenty years ago, I wouldn't have said anything about the testing snafu. I was a people-pleaser then, and would have just grinned and pretended that it didn't bother me. Ten years ago I would have ripped the doctor a new one – How dare he be so incompetent?! Didn't he know how valuable MY time was?! – and threatened to launch a press campaign against his clinic.

I'd like to think I've learned a little something since then – now I know that both reactions are the result of an inflated ego and over-sized sense of importance; not speaking up can be just as egotistical as overreacting. I've also lived enough during the past two decades to know what it feels like to mess up. I've made my share of oooopsies!

So after taking several deep breaths, I said what I needed to say to the doctor, but kindly. He, in turn, owned the mistake – what more could I ask for? And while the biggest lesson may be that it's time to switch doctors, I've also learned that, although it's important to do what needs to be done and say the things that need to be said, in the end, the way you do and say things can make all the difference.

Edited By: Tommy Johnson

 
Improvisation plus Business equals Success
Written by Emily Brock   

 

businessHow Improvisation Can Help You Succeed In the Business World

Improvisation is defined as the art or act of improvising, or of composing, uttering, executing, or arranging anything without previous preparation. This is usually associated with music or some other performing art. But in recent years improv has stepped out of the theatre and into business schools.

It might seem like an odd pairing but the basic principles of improv are being applied more and more in a business setting. Arguably, the most important of these are actively listening, ‘yes, and…’, and team work. These are all simple ideas that are incredibly difficult to execute correctly whether on stage or in a boardroom.


  Building on Requests

The principle of active listening is not just listening to the other person but really hearing what they are saying an what your clients and employees are requesting. Most people have a tendency to plan what they are going to say after the other person is done speaking instead of truly listening. In a business setting or in negotiations, if you’re not truly listening (different than merely hearing) to what a client is saying that can lead to mistakes and cost you dollars

  Building on Ideas 

The ‘yes, and...’ principle is perhaps the most commonly known improv principle. It’s the idea that you agree with the idea or thought that your partner has put forth and then you add more information. Being able to deal with any situation without negating what has happened; being able to go forward and find a solution is a core business tenant.

  Building Trust

Team work seems like a fairly obvious business strategy and even something that you need to apply in the theatre world. But team work means more than simply working together. It’s the idea that you have to develop a group mind and trust of the people that you’re working with. Improv games help establish this trust and sense of camaraderie.

More and more business schools and universities are incorporating improv into the curriculum; UCLA, Columbia and Indiana are just a few schools that now offer improv classes to business students. It’s not only schools that have seen the value of improv but companies as well. Power houses such as American Express, DuPont, Ford, PepsiCo, and Procter & Gamble all conduct improvisation workshops.

This new demand has created businesses that cater specifically to corporations and schools, such as Business Improvisations, founded by Robert Kulhan. Mr. Kulhan has a background at the famed Second City Company, which is based out of Chicago. He teamed up with Craig Fox, who was an Associate Professor of Management at Duke University at Raleigh/Durham, and together they created a company that helps incorporate the principles of improv into the business world.

Other improvisation training theaters like IN Studios of NYC, The Second City and Chicago City Limits have divisions dedicated to training business professionals in to increase their success in business through improvisation.

Employees with performance or creative backgrounds are becoming highly desired at advertising agencies and internet startups. The creative way of thinking and interacting with fellow employees has businesses paying attentions.

As the business world evolves and technology opens new doors companies will look for different ways to evolve and stay ahead of trends. One of these ways is to bring improve and creative thinking into the workforce. Creative and thoughtful minds and thoughts lead to creative and thoughts products.


Coleman, Roshaunda. “Professor utilizes improv to teach class.” Vidette Online. April 6, 2015.

Tutton, Mark. “Why using improvisation skills to teach business skills is no joke.” Cnn.com. Feb 18,2010

Smith, Preston. “10 Fundamental Principles of Improv Comedy.” JesterImprov.com.

Stevenson, Seth. “Getting to Yes And.” Slate.com. March 30,2014.

 

 
Colin Mochrie Returns to Whose Line!
Written by Emily Brock   

Colin Mochrie

  Mochrie. Colin, Mochrie...

The American version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? ended its run in 2007 and returned in 2013 hosted by veteran comic, Aisha Tyler. Colin Mochrie, a celebrated audience favorite, returns to the cast summer 2015!

The show is comprised of various games that the cast plays using suggestions from the audience and helped introduce improv comedy to the masses. The original American incarnation was hosted by Drew Carey and  cast members included Ryan Stiles and Wayne Brady.   Wayne Brady was especially noted for doing musical improv which usually involved making songs up on the spot.

Although Mochrie is best known to American audiences as a member of the cast of Whose Line Is It Anyway? which ran from 1998-2013, he has enjoyed a long international career.

Mochrie was originally born in Scotland but grew up in Canada. After auditioning for a play at university he was hooked. He attended the Studio 58 in Vancouver and then head to Chicago to work with the prestigious Second City. It was at Second City that he first met and worked with Ryan Stiles.

Mochrie worked on the original British version of Whose Line, which filmed in London. After several grueling auditions and getting cut three times, Mochrie was made a regular cast member and was on the show for seven years. After the show ended Mochrie returned to the US and joined the cast of the American version of Whose Line.

Mochrie was once again paired with Ryan Stiles, whom he had worked with on the British Whose Line. Mochrie was a staple of the show and appeared in every single episode. Mochrie was also a staple on Canadian commercials, selling everything from crackers to detergent.   He has stayed busy on television as well as the stage. Since 2002, he has toured with Brad Sherwood, another Whose Line alum, in their two man show, Colin & Brad: Two Man Group.

Whose Line Is It Anyway? airs on The CW Fridays at 8pm.

 


 

“Colin Mochrie”. Wikipedia. 25 March 2015. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Mochrie.

Valcourt, Keith. “Improv Comedy King Colin Mochrie on the TV Revival of Whose Line is it Anyway”. The Washington Times.  7 April 2015.

 

 

 
Gender Equality in Improvisation
Written by Gary Austin Workshops   

Editor's NoteWith Hillary Clinton's bid to become the first female President underway and movies like Boyhood, starring Patricia Arquette making headlines, the topic of gender equality has never been more relevent.

But, just how far have we come in the male-dominated world of improvisation? Gary Austin (founder of the world famous improvisation training center, The Groundlings) says not far enough! Have a read and let us know your thoughts and experiences by commenting below?


Ye Who Profess to be followers of Del Close take heed.

Gender EqualityMost of you 'Improvers' in America transgress big time.

Read this and GET IT that Del is not your improv mentor. You have perverted his work. Del was my teacher. Del and I stayed up all night many a night "rapping" about improvisational theatre. We performed together.

I am distressed by the GENDER ISSUES that pervade American "improv."

The following is an excepert from Guru: My Days with Del Close by Jeff Griggs...

 

Joe stepped into the middle of the stage and began doing a scene with a curly-haired brunette wearing a pair of very short shorts and a plaid skirt. After a few quick lines, Joe informed the girl that she was a hooker and he wanted her to admit it.

"Why did you make that girl

 turn into a hooker?"

Del erupted and jumped out of his seat. "Just stop. Just stop it already," he yelled. "If you don't stop wasting my time, I'm going to walk out of here and drive back to Chicago. I have yet to see one grounded relationship scene. They've all been about bizarre characters and frat-boy jokes and I'm sick of it.

"You there, on stage. What were you doing? Why did you make that girl turn into a hooker?"

'Joe answered, " I thought she was playing the part of a hooker."

"I don't believe that's true. I think that it's very rare that a female improviser takes the stage with the intention of being a prostitute. Usually they're forced into those roles by inexperienced young men who have little imagination." Del said. "Actually," he continued, " I think it was very clear to all of us that she was working in a garden until you barged in and called her a whore, "Isn't that right?"

The girl nodded sheepishly.

"Don't ever tell me that

 you did something because

 you thought it would be

 funny."

"She obviously was working in a garden, which you completely ignored. So tell me, young man, why did you force her to play the part of a hooker?"

"I don't know," Joe answered. "I thought it would be funny."

"Well that blew up in your fucking face, didn't it?" Del asked him.

He turned to the entire class: "That is the last time that I ever want to hear that phrase again. Don't ever tell me that you did something because you thought it would be funny. Long-form improvisation isn't about the jokes and the cheap laughs. It's about people exploring and discovering situations and relationships. Humor will occur when our discovery is completely honest and ambiguous. Forget about the jokes and the bits and allow yourself to work with your scene partner so that the two of you can construct a relationship that is grounded and honest and real."

  Edited By: Emily Brock

Del Close

Del Close was an American actor, writer, and teacher, coaching some of the best known comedians of the late twentieth century. Co-authoring the book Truth in Comedy with Charna Halpern and Kim Howard Johnson, in addition to a career in television and film, he influenced the development of modern improvisational theater.

 

 

 
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Kelsey McLaughlin

Actor, Improvisor

Kelsey is an actor, writer and improviser. She performed weekly in ImprovBoston's 'Face Off,' (voted 2012's Best Improv Troupe in Boston) in her college troupe, NU&Improv'd, (2012 College Beanpot of Comedy winners) and an improv playmaking group. Kelsey is new to NY and ready to rock!  
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