Improv Cincinnati Auditions

Improv Cincinnati is excited to announce the upcoming fall auditions for our house teams on Sunday, September 15 from 10am to noon. We’re in search of talented performers who embody our values and touchstones. The IC house teams perform once a month on Saturday nights for our main stage performances.

This year, we’re asking our graduates (and other qualified applicants) to perform a Harold. You may coordinate with your current class/team to register at the same time slot, or you may register as an individual and be placed on an ad hoc audition team. Applicants are expected to arrive 30 minutes early to discuss the format, play warm-up games, and run some scenes. A coach will be provided to help with warm-ups.

Click Here to Sign Up!

Improv Cincinnati equips our students and performers with the skills to succeed, the opportunities to try, and the freedom to fail. Anyone who doesn’t make a house team has the chance to gain experience by joining a performance-level class or retaking a previous class at half price.

We look forward to seeing you succeed at auditions. Good luck!

Jon & Colin

IC Community Announcements BONANZA

Cincinnati Team Building

We send IC Community Announcements to students every other week or so. Here’s a look at the latest news!

1. Shhhh - We can see that some of you have figured out the secret show password. If you haven't yet, keep at it. In the meantime, mark your calendars for Saturday, August 31. Sure, the date isn't a secret but the location, time, and performers are. And we guarantee you won't want to miss it. Why? Well because Some People Are Comedic Events; Cause Amusing Tsunamis. (Right?) Click here for the secret show page.

2. It only happens 2x a year - TheTown Hall is coming! Come learn about what the future holds for IC, ask questions, give feedback, and more. More to come. Sunday, September 15 - (3pm to 4:30pm) Save the date!

3. The Long Form Mixer Returns - The #1 best way to get better at improv is to perform in front of a crowd. The next opportunity is the Long Form Mixer this Friday, Aug 23 at 7pm. Mark your calendars. Open to all. If you haven't completed 201-Theatricality, it may be a learning experience - but it will only help your improv journey (even if it's a little scary)! Learn more here.

4. Movie Nights - To prepare for our frightful fall Fearscape show, we’ll be hosting double-feature movie nights at CPT select Fridays in Aug and Sept. Each night will feature two monster/horror movies (one straight, one comedic). Come hang out with your IC pals, and share some laughs and screams! The first is Friday, Aug 30 for Poltergeist and Tucker & Dale vs Evil. Learn more here.

5. Improv Supercharge - This Sunday IC mentor, company member and Hot Mic performer Delmar Davis connects improv with Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). Never heard of NLP? Learn about it here. If you use improv to for personal development, this is the workshop for you. Open to all students who have completed Improv 101. Learn more and register for Supercharge here.

Final Supercharge:

  • September 8 - “Full Body Listening” with Susan Reuter Moser - This class on Kinesthetic Empathy will help you pay attention to body language in a scene.

6. IC needs help -

  • Veracity is a monthly performance where guest storytellers tell true stories that inspire improv comedy scenes. Previous guests include City Councilman Greg Landsmen, Cincy Stories co-founder Shawn Braley, Happen Inc founder Tommy Rueff, TRUEtheatre founder Dave Levy, School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) executive director Nick Nissley and many more. Being a special guest is easy and fun! Do you know someone who might be a great fit? Can you connect us? Please let us know.

  • For the upcoming Fearscape show, we're on the hunt for A) a bluetooth speaker that doesn't automatically shut off or disconnect, or B) a large mobile battery pack that you can plug an AC plug into (the kind one might use for a CPAP machine when traveling). Have a spare we could borrow? We'll love you forever.

  • How are you at writing? Might you like to take a stab at penning these every-other-week IC Community Announcement emails? Eloquently hit us up!

  • Like sales? As Fearscape approaches, we'd love if someone might tackle the task of gathering sponsors. Not only are you helping a great cause, we'll give you a percentage of each paying sponsor you get. Let us know.

  • Is the new calendar (see below) helpful? Does it show too much? Not enough? What do you think?

7. Did you know? - Did you know that Improv Cincinnati...

- sent performers to the Detroit Improv Festival recently? And we'll soon have them in the Improv Festival of Cincinnati - and Dam Good Festival in Louisville.

- Class showcases start next week! Find them all here.

8. All shows in September are FREE - Thanks to your tremendous Kickstarter support, all shows in September are 100% free - including our special guests visiting from Toronto. If you have friends or family who could benefit from a free comedy show, please spread the word. Tickets will be available to reserve soon.

Calendar

Fri, Aug 23 - Long Form Mixer

Sat, Aug 24 - Show: Hot Mic

Sun, Aug 25 - Intro to Improv Workshop

Sun, Aug 25 - Supercharge - "NLP, Yeah You Know Me"

Tues, Aug 27 - Showcases 101 & 201

Wed, Aug 28 - Showcases 101 & 301

Fri, Aug 30 - Movie Night

Sat, Aug 31 - Secret Show

September - All shows free!

Thurs, Sept 5 - Showcases - 201 & 501

Sat, Sept 7 - Showcase 301 & 401

Sat, Sept 7 - Show: Cavalcade/ War Candy/ Girl Talk/ Soup Buddies

Sun, Sept 8 - Showcase 201

Sun, Sept 8 - Supercharge - "Full Body Listening"

Sat, Sept 14 - Intro to Improv Workshop

Sat, Sept 14 - Show: Shouting Clouds/Wampus/ Love Square

Sun, Sept 15 - Town Hall, Auditions

Fri, Sept 20 - Toronto's The Assembly Performs

Sat, Sept 21 - Toronto's The Assembly Performs and delivers workshops

Sun, Sept 22 - Toronto's The Assembly delivers workshops

Community Support:

Requests

  • There's been talk of putting together a monthly/quarterly potluck at CPT. Does this interest you? Let us know.

  • Student Brenden Davis, is looking to further his career in the media world. He has experience in videography, filmmaking, audio editing, graphic design, public speaking and voice over work. Know of media department who could benefit from this young go-getter? Contact brendend211@gmail.com. (If you watched the Kickstarter launch and Sith videos, you’ve seen his work!)

  • Have a Request or Opportunity for the next IC Announcements email? Contact us!

Thanks for all you do to make Improv Cincinnati an epic asteroid of comedy gold.

Gratefully,

Jon and Colin

Fearscape Auditions Are Here!

latenightfearscapeauditions.png

LATE NIGHT FEARSCAPE AUDITIONS

Announcing auditions for Improv Cincinnati’s October spooktacular, Late Night Fearscape!

Improv Cincinnati is producing an homage to the classic late night, low-budget, hosted creature feature shows of the 70s and 80s (think Elvira, The Crypt Keeper, and Svengoolie). Our creepy hosts will present a few shorts (short-form improv games) and a feature (a long-form improv performance).

Show runs every Friday in October (10/4, 10/11, 10/18, 10/25).

Most of the show will be improv, with some scripted elements for the hosts. There will be some musical improv for a few of the performers, but most of the improv ensemble will not need to sing.

Improvisers of all experience levels are welcome to audition!

ROLES

The Host: A TV weatherperson for ICTV who got roped into hosting a TV horror show in a cheesy vampire outfit. He/she might be a little resentful of their career status, but ultimately really loves being an entertainer, and sometimes amps up the overboard cheese factor by a lot. Modeled after the classic “horror hosts” of the 70s and 80s (e.g., Elvira, Svengoolie, Count Floyd, The Cryptkeeper). Actor should be comfortable with improvised banter and jokes. Ideally also comfortable with light crowd work, and possibly musical improv.

Bob, Co-Host: An animatronic pirate skeleton who will be operated and voiced by an offstage actor. The improviser operating Bob should be OK with puppetry voicing and improvised banter, and have a tiny minimum of hand-eye coordination (though it really won’t take much).

Improv Ensemble Member: Eight improvisers who will perform in the improvised short-form games and long-form feature.

Musical Improv Ensemble Member: A 2- to 3-person subset of the main Ensemble who will perform in show segments that involve improvised singing.

REHEARSALS

Rehearsals will be held twice weekly: Sunday nights, and one other evening to be determined based on cast availability. Cast members are expected to be available to attend most rehearsals. A couple of missed rehearsals are not a big deal (especially if we know about them in advance), but please make an effort to block off the rehearsal dates on your calendar.

Rehearsals will begin Sunday, August 11.

Name *
Name
We will text you.
For Which Role(s) are you auditioning?
Check All That Apply...
Workshops, classes, teams/shows? Theatre or other relevant experience?
Why do you like them?
Check the rehearsal days that are IMPOSSIBLE for you.
Be Honest. :)
We'll email you a packet of information to help you prepare.
I acknowledge the production I'm auditioning for may involve flashing/strobe lighting. I do not, to the best of my knowledge, have any medical conditions that would prevent me from safely performing in such an environment.


CONTACT INFO

First Name:

Last Name:

Email:

Phone:

Is it OK to text this number?:


ROLES

The Host

A TV weatherperson for ICTV who got roped into hosting a TV horror show in a cheesy vampire outfit. He/she might be a little resentful of their career status, but ultimately really loves being an entertainer, and sometimes amps up the overboard cheese factor by a lot. Modeled after the classic “horror hosts” of the 70s and 80s (e.g., Elvira, Svengoolie, Count Floyd, The Cryptkeeper). Actor should be comfortable with improvised banter and jokes. Ideally also comfortable with light crowd work, and possibly musical improv.



Bob, Co-Host

An animatronic pirate skeleton who will be operated and voiced by an offstage actor. The improviser operating Bob should be OK with puppetry voicing and improvised banter, and have a tiny minimum of hand-eye coordination (though it really won’t take much).



Improv Ensemble Member

Eight improvisers who will perform in the improvised short-form games and long-form feature.



Musical Improv Ensemble Member

A 2- to 3-person subset of the main Ensemble who will perform in show segments that involve improvised singing.



Which roles are you interested in (check all that apply)?:

HostVoice of Bob, the Pirate SkeletonImprov Ensemble MemberMusical Improv Ensemble Member


EXPERIENCE

Describe your level of improv experience (classes, workshops, performance, etc.):



Do you have any favorite horror movies, shows, or books? Favorite horror villains? What do you like about them?:


REHEARSALS

Rehearsals will be held twice weekly: Sunday nights, and one other evening to be determined based on cast availability. Cast members are expected to be available to attend most rehearsals. A couple of missed rehearsals are not a big deal (especially if we know about them in advance), but please make an effort to block off the rehearsal dates on your calendar.



Rehearsals will begin Sunday, August 11.



In addition to Sunday nights, please indicate which of these times you are available to rehearse:

Monday nightTuesday nightWednesday nightThursday nightFriday nightSaturday morning

Which of those potential rehearsal times (including Sunday nights) are absolutely impossible deal-breakers for you?:



Do you have potential scheduling conflicts that you already know about? If so, which dates?:


AUDITION TIMES

Please choose your preferred audition time:

    • 10:00 am Saturday, August 3

    • 11:00 am Saturday, August 3

    • 10:00 am Sunday, August 4

    • 11:00 am Sunday, August 4

We’ll email you a packet of information prior to the auditions to help you prepare.



SAFETY NOTE

Because of the nature of this show, there is a chance there will be some spooky strobe lighting effects. You cool with this?

I acknowledge the production I'm auditioning for may involve flashing/strobe lighting. I do not, to the best of my knowledge, have any medical conditions that would prevent me from safely performing in such an environment.

Kickstarter Campaign ends TONIGHT!!!

Cincinnati Comedy Team Building

There’s so much going on, we just had to make the latest Community Announcements internal email public. Buckle up!

1. The Ballad of Improv Cincinnati - The Improv Cincinnati Kickstarter ends tonight at 10pm! To celebrate crossing the $10k thresh hold, we've released the footage "The Ballad of Improv Cincinnati", a Delmar Davis original song also featuring Tone Branson and Mary O'Connell. We love it so damn much! Watch it here

And just a friendly reminder: There are a handful of rewards our students in particular may enjoy (outside of the swanky IC-branded swag), such as the original improv guides. They'll be short PDFs, co-written by Jon and Colin and packed with helpful knowledge, tools and techniques: 

  • Overcoming Fear – A brief guide to help new improvisers overcome fear, shame, and performance anxiety. Provides tips on how to navigate a scene when you're in your head. Lists several common fear-based defense mechanisms, how to notice them, and how to avoid them. 

  • Game Styles and Strategies – What is game? Different theaters and teachers have different opinions! This short guide will tell you all of the game definitions we've learned as well as how to execute them. 

  • Forms From Around The World – A brief introduction to signature improv formats from theatres across the globe. Useful if you are or would like to one day become an ongoing performer. 

  • Saving The Scene – In a stalled improv scene that feels impossible to salvage? "Saving the Scene" will provide tips and tricks on how to revive any failing scene. 

Only $10 each - or $25 if you buy em all. If you'd like to purchase one of these individually - or add it to your existing pledge, it's easy. Just follow the instructions here.

1. Did you know? - Did you know that Improv Cincinnati has...

- Student IDs that let you get into Saturday night improv shows for free? If you're an active student and haven't received one, please reply to this email.

- A sketch comedy writing group? All are welcome, just let us know if you'd like to join. First you'll need to sign into the IC Slack Channel…

- An improv team that features a music producer, a beat boxer, and a free style rapper? It's called Cavalcade and it's happening this Saturday.

2. Give back and support PFLAG - The next Improv(e) Cincinnati event is TOMORROW at 9am @ CPT. We'll be assembling PFLAG bracelets w/support group info to be given out at the PRIDE parade. Improv Cincinnati Founder and big shot Jon Ulrich (ie, me) will be there. He will be requesting autographs.

Learn about the event here & Join the Improv(e) Cincinnati FB group here.  

3. Improv Supercharge - One of the coolest electives we've ever offered. Seven teachers are teaching seven different workshops. You can also register for your favorites a la carte. This week's is "Improv for Commercials and Bookings" with Jess Harris. Jess has trained at every improv institution and spent years in the trenches of Hollywood. Learn more here 

4. Cincinnati Sketch Contest and Show - This summer we launch a brand new sketch comedy review focused entirely on Cincinnati. And a great show needs great sketches. Want to try your hand at sketch writing? Learn more here.

5. Final performance of "Live from Jabba's Palace" - IS SOLD OUT. Hope you snagged your tickets! This was such a fun, epic, and hilarious production. Huge thanks the production team, cast, and volunteers who made it happen. The Force was strong with this one!   

6. The Long Form Mixer Cometh - The #1 best way to get better at improv is to perform in front of a crowd. The next opportunity is the Long Form Mixer on Friday, June 7 at 7pm. Mark your calendars. Open to all. If you haven't completed 201-Theatricality, it may be a learning experience - but it will only help your improv journey (even if it's a little scary)! 

7. Laughing the Night Away - Improv Cincinnati is pleased to host "Laughing the Night Away", a fundraising show for Alzheimer’s Association of Cincinnati. This is a comedy show for everyone, but it’s dedicated to the caregivers and families of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Special thanks to Tom Badger and Emily Elma for leading! Learn more here.

April and May 2019: Our Busiest Months Ever

Cincinnati+Comedy+Team+Building

There is SO much going on in April and May. Take a gander below:


1. Long Form Mixer is here! - The Mixer is a beloved IC tradition, however it only focuses on short form Whose-Line style games. The new Long Form Mixer will be long form only. (Shocking.) First one is this Friday nightApril 12. All are welcome. Learn more here & find Facebook event here.

2. Give back - This Saturday, April 13, Improv(e) Cincinnati participates in the annual Cincinnati Parks GreenUp Day at California Woods Nature Preserve. Come mingle and give back in the great outdoors! Learn more and register here.

3. Three Year Bash - Just a reminder that April marks IC's Three Year Anniversary (!), and at the end of the month we're doing it up right with three different events! Tickets are free, limited, and going fast. Join us! Learn more and grab tickets here

4. New competitive improv show - The Bucket List is unlike anything IC has done before: Led by Charlie Roetting, two improv teams are determined randomly from a pool of registrants. Each team gets 20 minutes to win over the audience. The winners get an actual prize worth actual money (!). Want to play? You gotta register first. All skill levels welcome. Learn more and throw your name into the hat here.

5. Star Wars Variety Show - "A Night at Jabba's Palace" includes improv, sketch, stand up, and more  all through the Star Wars universe. IC original productions consistently sell out, so if you want to attend learn more and buy tickets now. (Seriously). Get in free if you volunteer. Interested?  

6. Cincinnati Sketch CONTEST and Show - This summer we launch a brand new sketch comedy review focused entirely on Cincinnati. And a great show needs great sketches. Want to try your hand at sketch writing? Learn more here.

We’re so grateful to have such a terrific community who can make all of these things happen. Hope to see you there!

Make Improv History on 4/12!

Cincinnati Comedy Team Building

Sean Dillon here.

Improv Cincinnati’s first ever Longform Mixer happens on Friday April
12th
at Clifton Performance Theater. It starts at 7pm, ends whenever,
admission is free, and everyone's welcome. We need reps in order to
improve at improv, and mixers are an excellent way to get them.

This is also the first time I’ve ever written a blog for IC. A quick
scan of previous entries suggests this post should be approximately
300 words long.

Therefore, please know that the Longform Mixer will be very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very,
very, very, very, very, very, very fun.

Here’s the Facebook Event for IC Students

BIG NEWS: Three Year Anniversary Bash

Cincinnati Comedy Team Building

This month, IC turns three! To celebrate, we're having a Three Year Anniversary Bash - and it's not only one event, it's three

Friday Apr 26 will be a laid back late night party with fun improv-y "Side Quests". (Registration required - Password is ThreeYears)

Saturday Apr 27 will have a bit more pomp. Awards, trophies, a new IC song, pizza(!), and a few surprises. (Registration required - Password is ThreeYears)

Sunday Apr 28 will be a hangover Mixer/brunch. Show up at 10am. Whoever shows gets to decide if we have a Mixer, go to brunch at Frisch's, or do both. (No registration required)

Tickets are free but limited. We won't be surprised if they sell out, so if you'd like to attend any or all register soon. (Also, please only register if you definitely plan to attend).

Here are the links again:
Friday Night
Saturday Night
Password for both is ThreeYears

Should be a great time - and is our small way of saying thanks for the last three years!

All the best,
Jon and Colin

Announcing The Cavalcade Showcase

The critics rave that Cavalcade knows how to put on a show
We rap about anything - we never know where we’ll go.
Our lines are improvised because we go with the flow
We’d be on Wild’n Out but we ain’t trying to go pro.

If you haven’t seen us play then you must rectify this mistake.
The first Saturday of the month - we should just make it a date.
The show starts at 10pm because we like to stay up too late.
Like caffeine in your coffee, our rhymes will keep you awake.

As if that weren’t enough, we have some tricks up our sleeve.
We’ll be welcoming some guests that you must see to believe.
A rap act or a poet? Or someone entirely unforeseen?
It’s different every time, so the truth remains to be seen.

TL;DR: Improv Cincinnati introduces The Cavalcade Showcase, a monthly show that brings together freestyle rap, improv comedy, hip hop acts, stand-up, spoken word poets, and more! Catch it the first Saturday of the month at 10pm. Find details on the first performance here.



The Bucket List

Author: Charlie Roetting

Do you have a Bucket List? We do and you’re on it.

On the third of Saturday of every month, ten improvisers throw their names into a bucket. Then, before the very eyes of the audience, two teams of five players each are randomly selected determined by two lucky audience members drawing names. Once the teams are decided, an opening act gives them time to meet one another and talk strategy. This opening act is henceforth known as…The Sacrifice.

Now it’s time to rumble.

Both teams square off in a head-to-head improv showdown. Polish up your pennies because a coin toss determines the order. Both teams spend UP TO twenty minutes doing whatever they want – and we mean WHATEVER they want (within reason) — so long as it isn’t scripted.

At the evening’s end, the audience determines the winner. The losing team goes home packing, shy one set of steak knives. The winning team however, receives a nice little prize – yep, one with cash value – and is automatically placed back into the bucket for the following month. Bet you can taste that sweet sweet mysterious prize right now.

We should all keep a bucket list. If you don’t, you should start. And if you do, you should add to it: “Winning the IC Bucket List”.

Throw Your Name Into The Bucket List Below. The first 10 who enter will be contacted to participate. The rest will be put in the queue for another month…

Name *
Name

**Kidding! It is the only rule

New Teams Announced!

Thank you to everyone who attended our recent round of auditions. We’re honored to have so many talented and passionate students. You’re energy and dedication are the traits that keep this theatre running, and more importantly, you help us fulfill our mission of lifting spirits and inspiring personal growth.

A new house team will be comprised of: Josh Bush, Miguel Trejo, Sam Corder, Sania Arab-Corder, Sam Holcomb, Samantha Voigt, Alex Morris, Des Morris, and Jordan Mytton.

Castle of Wonder welcomes Josh Shreve and Eric Holmes.

Wampus welcomes Ada Cencki.

Charlie Roetting coaches a “Special Missions” team that will learn and perform the “Pretty Flower” form. Performers will include: Cyndi Stinson, Jason Lenczicki, Evie Epifano, John Gilsinger, Chris Wang, Cat Ward, Mary Lee Sauder, and Brandon Isaac.

Finally, we welcome back our all-female house team formerly known as Brovaries: Mary O’Connell, Audrey Macneil, Jenna Yuenger, Chloe Kaplan, and Amanda Monyhan.

Please congratulate these terrific performers when you see them. We’re thrilled and grateful to have them aboard the IC performance family!

Read More

Cincinnati-Themed Sketch Comedy Show and Contest

A New Sketch Comedy Format

This summer Improv Cincinnati launches a brand new sketch comedy review focused entirely on a city near and dear to all of us: Cincinnati. Each show, audiences will vote for their favorite sketches. The sketches receiving the fewest votes will be dropped, and two new ones will be added the following week. Every week will be a different show!

The Audition Starts Now

If you want to be a writer (and possibly performer!) for this show, submit your best Cincinnati related sketches now to info@improvcincinnati.com. Only the best entries will be added to the review. The sketch that receives the most votes every performance will earn that sketch’s author a gift card to a Cincinnati-based business or restaurant.

We can’t wait to read your sketches - and to perform them for a live audience this summer!

Good Luck!

Auditions: House Teams

It’s that time again! We’re having auditions on Sunday March 3rd (10am - noon) for our improv house teams. House teams are Improv Cincinnati’s featured teams with regular monthly performance opportunities. They’re open to everyone, but preference will be given to those who have completed the five levels of IC’s training program (or equivalent). We look forward to expanding our roster of players and providing new opportunities to our graduates.

Name
Name
Check the levels that you have completed... *
Please list all that apply...
Availability *
When Can You Rehearse? Check all that apply.
Let us know anything else you want to say...

5 Ways Improv Can Enhance Relationships

#1 Positive Interactions

As almost everyone knows, the fundamental principle of improv is "Yes And", which is essentially affirming and validating each other's choices in an act of selfless collaboration. There's also a natural positivity when improv is done well because comedy is meant to lift our spirits. Incidentally, love is uplifting and positive, but over time it often slides into negative interactions.

John Gottman is a psychologist who studies how the daily interactions of couples affect their relationship over the long term. His research has accumulated enough data that Gottman can now view video tape of a couple interacting and predict (with 91% accuracy) whether their marriage will end in divorce within five years. The offending actions are often subtle microaggressions that many of us take for granted: contemptuous eye-rolling, exasperated sighing, and biting sarcasm. Casual, habitual negativity kills relationships. Improv is a positive and nonjudgmental art form; it gets us in the habit of sharing joy with the world.

#2 Wholeheartedness

Part of the spirit of Yes And is that scenes are exponentially better when the actors eagerly accept their partner's offers. New improvisers often reflexively block the offers from scene partners because they fear losing control of the scene. It’s interesting that the natural inclination many of us have is to put up defensive resistance to anything that challenges our comfort zone. The #1 trait of excellent improvisers is wholeheartedness, which is to have the spirit of jumping into things with zest and total commitment.

In life, couples reflexively block the ideas of their significant others because they’re reluctant to step outside of their comfort zones. Constant rejection can stifle the free-spirited nature of an otherwise healthy relationship. Approach your partner’s offers with wholeheartedness, and you will find that this eager acceptance is mirrored back to you.

#3 Active Listening 

You can't “yes” what you don't hear. If improvisers are overworking their brains by worrying about what to say, they're missing the line of dialogue to which they're replying. Someone once said that a good improv actor listens to his scene partner like he's listening to his lover. Why does this resonate with so many students? Because we all know the feeling of new love. Lovebirds want to immerse themselves in each other.

Sadly, when the oxytocin has worn off, we start to lose those intimate listening skills. Active listening means putting down the smart phone, making eye contact, asking follow up questions, and locking in to every word. It means you validate your partner by giving them your total attention. It isn't easy, but it's essential to a healthy relationship. 

#4 Defuse Arguments

Ever find yourself in an argument and wondering why you're continuing to argue? You don't even care that much; you just want to be right. Arguments are depressing, often pointless, and rarely move a relationship forward. Improv scenes are similarly weighed down by the heaviness of arguments, which is why we coach improvisers how to end them. Surprise surprise... a great way to end an argument is to let go of your pride and admit fault. And it turns out that admitting fault often leads to the heart of good improv, which is connect and be emotionally vulnerable. When you defuse the argument bomb, you start intimately connecting on a human level. How many times have you found yourself stuck in an automatic argument cycle? Break the cycle and connect. It's easier than you think.

#5 Know, Care, Say

Will Hines unlocked the secret to performing better improv scenes with three words: know, care, say.

“Know” means that you know the world of the scene. You’re familiar with the people, you understand your occupation, and you play at the top of your intelligence (your characters aren’t unnecessarily ignorant). It’s not a stretch to say that couples should show an interest in each other’s lives, to know each other and to be curious about each other. New lovers are hungry for information about each other because they want to know everything about the other person. Older relationships can take this for granted where couples are no longer even checking in with their partner.

“Care” means that the outcome of the scene matters, that the stakes are high, and the relationships are meaningful. Often, but not always, scenes that are the least successful are ones that are trivial and pointless. No surprise, but relationships are also the best when two people actively care about each other. Great marriages are filled with meaningful conversations, unforgettable vacations, and little acts of kindness. It’s easy to forget the importance of actively showing love when we have mortgages, teacher’s meetings, recitals, etc. It’s good to stop and purposefully take the time to connect with your partner.

“Say” means that great scenes, by their very nature, are interpersonal interactions between two people. That may seem obvious, but anyone who has seen improv has witnessed scenes that are about things, ideas, other people, and even irrelevant nonsense. The same is true about our relationships in life. The best conversations are ones that are meaningful. Allow yourself to slow down and connect with each other. Make time for a weekly check-in where you can voice what you appreciate, and also what’s been bothering you. Too often we keep things in.

Announcements Galore

cincinnati comedy

Magnificent IC Community,

A veritable plethora of announcements follows. Some say too many. To that we scoff haughtily. 

BEHOLD

Update from Jon and Colin - In case you missed the annual update. Read it here.

Help a Friend - Kurt Lindemann is a wonderful human being and a veteran computer programmer. He was recently let go from his job and is seeking new employment. His specialty is C#.Net. Can you or someone you know help him out? Reply to us if so.

Second City Workshops and Smash Up Show - A new Second City show at Playhouse in the Park means Chicago improv vets are in town. Two cast mates are hosting a workshop on improvised spoken word/storytelling. Sign up here. We're also doing a special smash up show this Friday at 11pm with performers from IC, Second City, and OTRi. Note: Because it's a specialty show, student comp tickets won't apply. Learn details here.

Give Back with Improv(e) Cincinnati - The next event is Feb 23 at FreeStore Foodback. Come give back to the community and work side by side with fellow IC'ers. Note: You must register ASAP via the FreeStore page to attend. Officially register hereFacebook event. If we don't get enough registrants by Feb 5 we'll be ineligible to participate - so register now.

Diversity Scholars Update - Last round's showcase revenue and donations were enough to sponsor three diversity scholars this round. Thank you for making a difference!

Kickstart IC? - To celebrate IC's three year anniversary and to fund upgrades at CPT, we'd like to run our first ever Kickstarter campaign - and we need help. Are you interested in helping or leading this process? We'll need someone with organization skills and creativity. If that's you, reply to this email.

For IC Students

January Mixer - Mark your calendars for 1/27 at 7pm at Chamelon. Meet other students, play silly short-form games together, eat enormous pieces of pizza. What's not to love?

Town Hall and Auditions - Share your thoughts on how things are going with IC and/or audition to be on a house team. Save the date for March 3. See those events and more at IC's new public calendar.  

Help Out - Volunteering at IC shows is a great way to A) set yourself apart in the community and B) see shows. Our illustrious House Managers, Cait and Erica, have created a new way to sign up. Find it here.

Gratefully, 

Jon and Colin

Founder’s Message

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It’s already 2019!? These years really do keep going faster and faster.

We wanted to take a moment to reflect on the year that was, as well as to give a few ideas of what’s to come.

A few fond memories from 2018:

  • Clifton Players allow IC to use Clifton Performance Theatre full time!!

  • Massive IC community turnout to walk aside Ferris Bueller-themed float in the Northside 4th of July Parade

  • New students team program. These allow Core Curriculum graduates the opportunity to play on a coached improv ensemble and perform at IC shows.

  • Performances in the Dam Good Improv Festival and Improv Festival of Cincinnati

  • Creation of Diversity Scholarship funded by showcase proceeds and donations. The scholarship provides additional opportunities for individuals with unique voices and perspectives to take improv class.

  • Impact!

    • 45 classes

    • 148 students took Improv 101: Fundamentals (formerly Level 1)

    • 35 students completed Improv 501 (formerly Level 5), thus graduating from IC’s Core Curriculum

    • 51 shows and nearly 2000 attendees

    • 9 Diversity Scholarships awarded

The Community in Action…

We also refined our values this year. And while values are nice, they’re nothing without action. Naturally, the IC community really stepped up to model them:

Embodying Yes And:
When Clifton Performance Theatre became IC’s new full-time home (thank you, Clifton Players!), the IC community STEPPED UP! Countless volunteers helped pack and move existing costumes, set pieces and props to Clifton Players’ new home. Sean Dillon led an effort to paint the back room and even provided the paint. New shelves and organization systems were installed. The bar was relocated and spiffed up. Sparkling lights now adorn the performance space. Heck, someone even donated the money to buy new LED color-enhanced lights! We are flabbergasted!!

IC’s House Managers are a delight! Not only do they recruit and manage volunteers, make sure show attendees are warmly greeted and served, and take care of the myriad show prep and clean up activities – they do it voluntarily! Furthermore, they’re always finding new ways to do it more effectively! We are the luckiest!

It seems every time we turn around Nathan Mendel is volunteering more time for IC. He has put in 30+ hours to program a custom class registration system for our website – and also has put in the time and research necessary to help us add and upgrade the theater’s equipment. What a guy!

Thank you to everyone who embodies a Yes, And mindset – and extra special shout outs to Sean Dillon, Cait Riley, Erica Bauman, Nathan Mendel, Mary O’Connell, Tone Branson, and our anonymous LED lights donor!

Fostering a fun, inclusive, and friendly community filled with meaningful and supportive relationships:
Sean Dillon’s monthly Mixer exemplifies this value in every way. Everyone feels welcome, included, and safe, and Sean carefully curates the themes and games in a way that helps blend novice and experienced improvisers without either group feeling outside their skill level. We’re also excited to see the game nights, D&D groups, and karaoke nights that have popped up. The community is easily our favorite part of IC, and we can’t wait to see how we grow and support one another in 2019.

Equipping students and performers with the skills to succeed, the opportunities to try, and the freedom to fail:
We may be an improv theatre, but our scripted seasonal shows are outstanding! Tom Schmidlin and Ed Osterman’s Hogwarts parody “Luna” (directed by Cait Riley) was hilarious and wonderful. Mary O’Connell’s spectacular “Twi-Lit Zone” was deliciously weird and stylish, and sold out well before opening night. Both production casts were jam-packed with IC students. It’s our hope they grew artistically and had experiences as unforgettable as their performances.

In 2018, we were also lucky to welcome legendary improvisers, Matt Donnelly and Rich Talarico. Each taught terrific workshops and were hosted by our friends at Rebel Pilgrim.

Improving our theater, our community, our state, our country, and our world:
We’ve mentioned all the work that has gone into CPT, but did you know about Colette Lindemann’s community service group “Improv(e) Cincinnati”? They’ve already volunteered at Freestore Foodbank, made scarves for people in need, and distributed food for Community Matters. We’re excited to see what they’ll do next...

Looking Ahead

We have a bunch of cool things planned for 2019:

Second City Workshops - In January, we welcome our friends at Second City Tourco who will have a month-long residency at Playhouse in the Park. The cast will offer exclusive workshops to IC: “Creating Original Works with Improv, Freestyle Poetry, and Spoken Word” with Asia Martin and Terrence Carey and “Staying Grounded In Your Insanity” with Chuck Normant.

Regular performance schedules are being created and will be implemented in January. This will allow all student and house teams to have recurring predictable schedules. For instance, Veracity (improv inspired by true stories) will perform the third week of every month and Hot Mic (full length improvised musical) will perform the fourth week of every month. Find out more on IC’s calendar soon.

Meeting days - In 2019 we’ll be consolidating auditions and several meetings onto key days. The first is Sunday March 3. More info to come on this. Make plans to be there!

New scripted show - This summer expect a new musical parody of the Star Wars universe, which may or may not involve Ewoks. Tone Branson will direct and Tom Schmidlin and Edmund Osterman will again pen the script.

Additional theater improvements are planned, including a new audio system, a new projector, and a camera system to record shows.

Thank you

2018 reinforced yet again that Improv Cincinnati is more than just a theatre. It’s a community and home for lovable weirdos. We move into 2019 with a passion for great improv, a desire to improve people’s lives, and a love for the students and performers who make this place special. Thank you!

Gratefully,

Jon and Colin

Have a surprising story? RISK! is coming...

 
cincinnati comedy
 

RISK! is coming to town in February, and they’re seeking stories! Check out the message below:

Hello,

My name is Brad and I am looking for storytellers in your area to pitch true stories from their lives for consideration to be in the RISK! live show that is coming to CINCINNATI on 2/8/19 @ LUDLOW GARAGE

Theme: SURPRISE

(Please note: while RISK! like to offer a theme as a launching point for storytellers to brainstorm around, we are much more interested in great stories than we are stories that adhere closely to said theme. Alternate theme ideas might be "What was I thinking?" or "Secrets.")

I am reaching out to you because I found your contact information while looking up storytelling and comedy organizations in your area. I am hoping you can encourage the storytellers, comedians and performers in your community to pitch us their stories for the chance to perform in our live show.

RISK! Is a live show and podcast “where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share in public” hosted by Kevin Allison, of the legendary TV sketch comedy troupe The State. RISK! has featured people like Janeane Garofalo, Lisa Lampanelli, Kevin Nealon, Margaret Cho, Marc Maron, Sarah Silverman, and regular folks from around the world, dropping the act and showing a side of themselves we’ve never seen before. The RISK! podcast gets over a million downloads each month. Slate.com called it “jaw-dropping, hysterically funny, and just plain touching.”

RISK! is not like other storytelling shows. It’s “where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share in public.” We encourage our storytellers to step out on a limb, be brutally candid and emotionally raw. This is an uncensored show where taboos are tackled and people talk about things they ordinarily might not share in mixed company, but might save for their therapist.

To hear some of our stories, go to: http://risk-show.com/listen

For more information about what we look for in story pitches and how to submit, go to: http://risk-show.com/submissions/

Send us your pitch by: 1/4/19 to be considered! pitches@risk-show.com

Please let the performers in your community know about this exciting opportunity as soon as you can, and let me know if you have any questions!

Thank you,

Brad

On The Importance of Object Work

originally by Micah Philbrook

July 3, 2018 14:00

I remember watching youtube videos late one night on improv and object work (yeah, I’m an improv nerd). In this one video*, there was a clip with an improvisor from Barcelona, I believe, who described improv, and specifically object work, as “creating in the minds of our audiences”. That has stuck with me ever since. It’s a powerful concept and one that I think gives improv artists a responsibility for this often forgotten aspect of improvisational theater.

Just in case there happen to be any readers of this article that are not improvisors, that have not devoted time and money to this art, that have not watched or performed in countless shows, dissecting and analyzing them late into the night with friends, then allow me to explain what object work is before I go any further.

In Improvisational theater, “Object Work” (a.k.a. “Space Work”, a.k.a. “Environment Work”) is the act of manipulating negative space to create imaginary props, costumes, and set pieces that help create the world the scenes inhabit. In short, it’s make believe cups and suspenders. It’s very different than what we improvisors call “finger props”, i.e. a thumb and forefinger gun or the Inspector Gadget phone. It’s closer to mime than perhaps many improvisors want to admit, but that is a useful comparison for any non improvisors reading this. If you are still confused, I encourage you to do a google search for the term “object work” and watch any one of the hundreds of youtube tutorials that will turn up, each professing to offer some useful tips and tricks to interested viewers.

But this article isn’t simply on what object work is, but on why I feel it’s important in our craft, perhaps one of the most important aspects, that is sadly often overlooked or completely abandoned.

For Us
First and foremost, I believe object work to be extremely valuable for us as creators in this art form. By existing in our environments, we uncover details that can inspire us and lead to powerful discoveries about our characters and the environment. Simply using the items that would normally exist in a space, say a kitchen, can tell us so much about the character we are creating. How does this person make coffee? Where do they keep the cups? Do they know where the filters are kept in this kitchen? How am I going about this process, am I relaxed like I’m in a home? Is it my home? Or am I being professional or guarded like I am in a work environment? The answers to these questions, uncovered in real time, will tell the improvisor who they are playing and give hints towards their awareness and comfort within this space. If we are open to these discoveries, we as improvisors will find endless material from which to create nuanced and believable characters free from forced or unknowing choices.

For Our Partners
Secondly, I believe that a concentration on object work provides our scene partners similar inspiration about the relationship our characters are in, their character’s relationship to us, their relationship to the environment, and their own ability to exist in the world. Using my kitchen example again, if my scene partner reaches for a cup but doesn’t know where they are kept, do I? And if so, why? And if they are making coffee, perhaps I can get out that tray of pastries in the fridge. What are the pastries even doing in the fridge? And if we’re both preparing food related items, do we work here? Are we setting up for something specific? Or are we merely getting our breakfast together? Is this a special occasion or our normal routine? By being aware of our partner’s choices and actions, often called “moves”, we are allowing for discovery. And if my partner’s moves can lead to discoveries for me, ipso facto, my moves can provide the same fertile ground for my partner.

For Our Audience
It is in this area that I feel the object work skill of an improvisor can be the most profound, even as I admit it’s almost more of a side effect. Our artform of improv is almost entirely unique in the world of the Theatrical Arts (capitalized for importance and pretension) in that we allow for this sort of make believe material creation. I am not aware of any other theater where the actor can create props out of negative space without first explaining what is going on to the audience. It is taken for granted in this medium (sadly, sometimes even by the improvisor) that the actors will be using pantomime to create whatever items and pieces of the environment are needed at the exact moment they are needed. If you consider a broadway production, with their elaborate sets and detailed costuming, it is almost laughable to imagine actors in those shows curling their fingers around an imaginary cylinder and beginning to move their arms like they are using a broom. It would look out of place and therefore the item itself wouldn’t be remotely believable in any way other than as if the character was pantomiming. In improv, the characters are not pantomiming, they are using an actual broom. And since there is that unspoken agreement between audience and artist, I think we have to take this very seriously. But more on that later. What does good object work do for the audience of an improv show? Well, I’ll go back to the first quote I referenced at the start; we are creating in the minds of the audience, in their imagined reality of the world on stage. Every bit of pantomimed object work we create is filled in by the audience. That coffee cup is given shape by the improvisor, but it is given color by the audience member. That tray of pastries is given dimensions by us on stage, but it is given it’s contents (at least initially) by the audience member’s imagination. And as we create more imaginary items, the audience creates even more. If we mention that we are in a kitchen, the audience has already begun defining that space, coloring the walls and creating the counters, using their own experience with kitchens. When we make the motion of sweeping or using a shovel, the audience is calling up their own memories of the same items, allowing their imagination to give color and life to an otherwise make believe situation. And therefore, when we create these items that an audience fleshes out, we need to take that responsibility seriously. They are willing to go along with new developments to their perceived world, but a particularly jarring one, caused by an improvisor not remembering that they are holding a cup or forgetting to open that door as they exit when they closed it as they entered the scene, can throw the whole world into momentary disarray. The effects may only last a second, or perhaps for the rest of the scene. Will it cause them to stand up, exclaim their disapproval, and storm out? I hope not. But it can take them out of the scene and therefore could potentially ruin the experience for them. And even if it transports them out of it for one scene, collapsing their suspension of disbelief, isn’t that enough of a reason not to do it?


SOME NOTES FOR THE IMPROVISOR

Dear improvisor, please don’t get lazy with your object work. Maintain a sense of realism so that you don’t work harder to justify your laziness. What follows are some tips I tell my students and actors when we’re dealing with object work.

Object Work Is Important
Often I see improvisors ignoring object work to focus on character work and dialogue. Sometimes, they focus only on dialogue, letting character work fall away as well. I think this is because in our world of make believe, our words seem like the most tangible thing, ironically. We have to be the kind of artists that can utilize all areas of this art to create. And for reasons I have mentioned above, object work may be the strongest way we can draw our audience in to the experience. By forgoing or forgetting object work, we’re giving our audience (and ourselves) only a small portion of what they could be getting. And we are missing out on some brilliant discoveries in our scenes.

Objects Come From Some Place and Go To Some Place
In that oft repeated improv phrase, there is a lot of simple truth. That cup you’re drinking from can’t just magically reappear in your hand. Remember to set it down and remember where you put it. Your phone doesn’t just start in your hand, you have to fish it out of your pocket or bag. That computer desk doesn’t disappear when you need to stand up, that car door doesn’t close itself, that office door has to be opened to leave the room... You see where I’m going with this.

Avoid Cartoon Eating
When an improvisor is doing some rote action (i.e. stacking boxes) that becomes mindless to them, they will often lose the basic realism of the activity. The same box gets moved to the same point in the other stack over and over again. I call it cartoon eating after the way animators saved time by drawing their characters taking the same bite of food again and again. Instead, make every action real by seeing each box and where you put it. Even in this area, discoveries can be made that will drive the scene forward or create new aspects of character and relationship.

Leave Space For The Broomstick
Whenever I am using an object, like a broom or a shovel, something I close my hand around, I will leave space for the object. It seems like a small thing (and it might be depending on your hand size), but the action allows my brain to continually perceive the object as real. I have seen many improvisors use a closed fist while sweeping and invariably the realism is lost and their hands move out of sync in a way that no one sweeping ever does. Unless their broom was broken or had some sort of odd hinge. This concept can be applied to almost any object, but essentially you’re allowing your brain to do a lot of the work for you by telling it this is not just imaginary space but an actual item you’re holding. By maintaining that encapsulated negative space, you create a bit more reality for you and allow for even more discovery.

Lastly, I want to leave you with a quote from Viola Spolin, the woman who created (modern) improvisational theater, whose son went on to found The Second City. Spolin has a wonderful saying about object work and our individual approach to it. I’m paraphrasing here, but the quote is “If it’s in your head, we can’t see it. If it’s in space, we can all play with it”.

I take this to mean if you really believe the object is real, then it will be real for us all. But if you are only playing make believe, then it will be invisible to everyone. You have to believe it or no one else will.

Is there some aspect of object work that I have left out? Do you have any thoughts or a response to what I’ve laid out above? Let me know in the comments or DM me.

*I can’t for the life of me find that video with the Barcelona improvisor again, so if you know to which one I’m referring, please post it in the comments or DM me. I’d like to link it and give the artists’ credit.

Improv(e) Cincinnati's next volunteer project: Scarfing It Up!

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Date/Time: Saturday, November 10, 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Location: Clifton Performance Theatre

We're going to gather at CPT to create great heaping piles of easy, no-sew fleece scarves for a local shelter to distribute to people in need of warmth. If we have time and fingers, we'll also make a few blankets.

No crafty skills? No worries! No skills are necessary for this project. All you need are a pair of scissors and some moderately functional fingers. Here's a video that shows exactly what we'll be doing:
https://youtu.be/vnJEFDiulMg

We will provide some of the necessary materials, but it would be especially helpful if you're able to bring some, as well. Here are the things we'll need:

Fleece fabric - 
Various colors and patterns to appeal to different tastes.
1 yard of fleece will make 4-6 scarves.
4 yards of fleece will make 1 blanket.
Fleece can be obtained at most places that sell fabric (JoAnn, Walmart, etc.).

Scissors - 
Fabric scissors are great for this, but regular old scissors will work just fine.

Folding tables for work surfaces - 
I have a couple I can bring, but we might need a couple more as well.

That's it! It's about as easy as it gets.

We'll make as many as we can from 10am until 1pm, then we'll clean up and maybe go grab some lunch.

Sound good? You can RSVP to this Facebook event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1125059867658679/

Or, if you don't use Facebook, you can let Colette know you're coming at cdmarine@gmail.com.