The Growth of San Antonio Improv

Alright, it’s been a hot minute minute…ok it’s been a long minute.  I’m going to try to bring this back now, especially with the scene in this town growing exponentially in the past year.  So that’s what this post is going to be about, the growth of improv in San Antonio, Texas since I’ve been here (2012).

I’m not going to lie, my knowledge of the history of San Antonio improv is elementary at best.  I know there isn’t MUCH of a history to go on, but there is some there.  I’m going to pick this up from where I came in and, hopefully in the next few days, will add some edits to this with updated information.

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Untitled Space Western

Video of the final performance of our Live Musical version of the “Our Mrs. Reynolds” episode of Firefly Untitled Space Western (original name omitted due to copyright claims from FOX).  This was one of the best final shows I’ve ever been a part of (I played drums) and much of the dialog was improvised, leading to a usual 40 minute show to be an hour and 20 minutes.

Untitled Space Western

I’m back.

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It’s been two years.  Two years of non-improv related activities (minus a couple of trips up to Austin here and there) in San Antonio.  But now I’m back.  Last week I took an open audition for the ComedySportz San Antonio troupe here in town and was invited to enter their 4 week training program to see if I would be a good fit to join the troupe.  Passing the audition allowed me to bypass their initial Improv 101, 102, and 103 classes.  I had my first class yesterday (well, first two) and it was like riding a bike.  It just felt so good getting back into the improv swing of things.  I’m excited about the possibilities of performing with this group.  I haven’t done a ton of short form games before but so far I’m enjoying the process, and the principles of storytelling and building the relationship still apply.

I’ll be updating this blog throughout my training and (hopefully) acceptance into the troupe.  Time to “Yes, And…” the hell out of this.

Sorry

I have been neglecting this blog and that is crappy.  There is a new post coming soon, I promise.  It will update on everything I’ve been doing in Level 6 (!) at Coldtowne and also give you updates/video on the live version of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog that I have been a part of for the last 2 months.  It’s coming soon, I promise!

Deconstructing the Deconstruction

Sorry It’s been so long since my last update. Ever since school (work) started back up I haven’t had any time to write what with driving 45-50 minutes to and from work every day on top of doing my Level 5 stuff at Coldtowne and what not. Oh yea, I’m in Level 5 now, one more level to go until I am a Coldtowne Conservatory Graduate. I am extremely excited about that let me tell you.

So, we have been spending two days so far on the Deconstruction format and though this is not a rewriting of my notes from that class (that will come later as we finish it up) I do want to write some thoughts on this format.

I really enjoy this format. It challenges you as an improviser in a variety of ways. Pulling information back from the first Source Scene when you are 5-6 scenes in takes a lot of work and practice, but when you can do it it really makes for something special in the scene. I really enjoy trying to keep the first Source Scene as grounded and “real” as possible. To me that is fun in a “I get to really act” way (not that improv isn’t acting, but you know what I mean). It really lets me explore my character in a different way than doing 2 minute montage scenes or even a Movie or La Ronde. There is something infinitely emotional when you get an entire 5 minutes to become someone and really get inside their thoughts and feelings to bring those out to your scene partner and the audience. It’s almost organic in a way.

Following the Source Scenes are the two character based tangential scenes. These are awesome. The other performers can give you so much information in just the 2 minutes they are on stage it can really be overwhelming at times, but it just gives you that much ammo when coming back to the Source Scene the second time. It’s so much easier to heighten a character trait when you have already seen it done before you. It’s almost like paint-by-numbers improv.

I think the Deconstruction is my favorite format that we have learned so far. I can’t place what it is about it just yet. Maybe it’s the fact that I feel our class as a whole is getting it really well, maybe it’s something more than that. I don’t know yet, I just know I like it.

Footnote-I promise to update this blog more. In the last few months I’ve realized that I don’t want a life without improv/sketch, that would be a dark life for me, and I want to share my love of these art forms with my reading audience (which now is probably like 3 people…hi Allison sweetie). Anyway, notes from our Deconstruction class and from my group scene workshop I took with Eric Hunicutt are to come soon.