Day: May 13, 2015
For what it’s worth, here are my improvisation preferences. I’d love to hear if you agree or disagree.
My favorite way to improvise is with one other person on the stage only. No gimmick, no game, no sweeping, no editing. No input (if you want my complete and total honesty). There’s something about two people carrying on for what could potentially be forever and discovering their relationship without an out. I love a good Harold or Nightmare or some shorter games too, but if you asked me to improvise one way, it would be a two person mono scene.
My approach to a scene starts slow. Really slow. I’m rarely the first person to speak and totally comfortable in silence. I prefer it actually. The tension created by two people in the same room without dialogue sits on my soul in a fun way. Maybe it’s a power trip. The audience is absolutely craving for you to say something. Anything. And typically my scene partner is feeling the anxiety too. When I started improvising a long time ago, I thought that the scene was better the more I talked. Coincidentally, I used to feel that way as a salesman. The two have helped each other work that out of me. Let the customer tell you how to sell them and let your scene partner tell you who you are.
I don’t have any preferences from my scene partners. Their habits and quirks and “go-tos” don’t matter to me. I’m just trying to find a character I can connect with and completely ignore their patterns… as much as I can. I trust there is a part of my brain that already knows all that shit and will serve it up to me when needed. I typically start from a defensive position if we’re going to use sports terminology. I’ll let someone else attack or initiate because I find that if my partner is able to provide the first few details of their world, I’m quite strong at building inside that world. Sometimes when I initiate a scene I can be too strong and overwhelming which immediately puts my partner on their heels. This is no way for a scene to start. I like my partner to feel confident and comfortable. I need to calm down when I’m leading the scene.
If you want to know my secret to a long scene (20+ minutes), I just have no interest in doing anything. At all. I don’t want to solve problems, I don’t want to go anywhere. All I want to do is be and exist. Similar to that of sitting in a room with your spouse or best friend with the TV on. I trust that something will happen, because something is always happening. As David Razowsky has taught me, “just by sitting and breathing, you’re doing a lot”. If this makes you less comfortable, think of it from the audience point of view. Or think of it from a “people watching” point of view. How many times have you been at the airport and watched people from a distance… for minutes at a time? What were they doing? Packing? Talking on the phone? Reading a book? It’s more interesting than you think.
I like to take breaks in scenes too. A 25 minute scene isn’t 25 straight minutes of talking. It’s certainly not 25 minutes about the same thing either. It’s going to start about one thing and if it’s successful will finish somewhere totally different. If you allow yourself time to breath and take a break, you can discover what your scene is all about. It’s hard to do if you don’t stop talking. At least it is for me.
I’d love to hear how you improvise. Send us a note at email@example.com, comment below or put a comment in facebook… let us know if we can publish it.
Boca Raton, FL – Local man Marvin Golden grew up in a strict family in New York. The expectation was straight A’s, athletics and church. Friends were a luxury he could rarely have because his mother reminded him that he needed to “Make something of yourself.” Golden, not completely sure what that ever meant, worked day in and day out as a child to impress his parents. The teachers would remind him “You’ll be lucky you learned this. You’ll need it in the real world.” According to Marvin’s last statement, he never did.
Golden became a salesman after college against his mother’s will. “You were supposed to be a doctor or an attorney” she’d always say when he’d visit, but Marvin didn’t want to be either of those things. Truth be told, he just wanted to get his mother’s voice out of his head. “You’ll thank me one day for all of this” she would say… but he never did. He never thanked her because work without a purpose is meaningless. It’s a sad existence.
When asked what he would have done different, Golden replied “Nothing. Disappointing my mother became purpose enough.”
Marvin passed away fictionally. Because. He’s not real.
Stand Up Comedy is hard. You’re on the stage by yourself with a mic, your material and a light on you. When you fail, it’s all your fault. But at least you come with prepared material. Sick Puppies Comedy is going to perform a stand up comedy show unlike any other. We have no material prepared. We will only have inspiration from the audience and our ability to convert it into comedy gold completely improvised.
Saturday, October 4th at the Funky Buddha in Boca Raton, we’ll be performing two 90 minute shows. One at 8PM and another at 10:30PM. It’s only $5 at the door. Enjoy craft beer, excellent food and an ambiance unlike any other establishment. Your entry will let you see both if you like. Since all of the material is improvised, you’re guaranteed to see two completely different shows.
When I was 14, I had a golden retriever named Harold. He had been sick recently and we didn’t know what was wrong. He had cancer and thyroid issues in the past but this particular time we didn’t understand what was ailing him. He wasn’t eating and he wasn’t happy. But he loved to go on walks. So, we walked. As we walked in the grass at the park I heard a voice. “Nice Bitch”. I kept walking. Then, something went flying by my head. It was a bottle. Not a second later, it was a another bottle and it hit Harold.
I didn’t know who was behind me or how many of them there were but the rage that came out of me that day was not only from that moment, but years of dreading the day my dog would no longer have to suffer and the anger inside me because he had to. I dropped the leash and I ran. At them. There were two of them. Familiar faces. Seniors? I was a freshman. Bigger. Much bigger. They were so much bigger. I didn’t care. One of them was going to die before the other could get me off of them. I wanted them to feel every seizure and ache and pain and fear that my poor companion had felt over the years. I wanted to tear inside of his chest and squeeze on his beating heart just long enough for him to see his fate then let him suffer as my dog and I watched and did nothing. I had all of the thoughts of destruction and nothingness in my head. I was a bullet of pain heading for that son of a bitch.
One of them took a few steps back and to the side while the other braced himself. In the last moment he stepped to his left. I predicted correctly and connected with my head directly into his chest. I knocked him out. For a moment and just a brief moment I stopped to consider what had happened, but my hands did not. They were swinging. Hard. I had never been in a fight before. I didn’t know how to punch or swing. He was probably lucky for that.
There was barking. The familiar voice that pulled me out of my fit. It was Harold keeping the other kid at bay. Teeth fully exposed, hair standing on end and ready to attack. As I sat on top of this unconscious bastard I looked and saw an animal completely afraid and prepared at the same moment.
The other kid fled to the car screaming he was calling the cops. Harold grabbed my pant leg and tried to pull me off of the other kid. It was enough. I rolled over on my side completely out of breath and I remember Harold walking over me and to the other boy. He put his head by his nose and nudged him. The boy came to and vomited immediately. Blood was gushing from his mouth and nose. He got up and ran to the sound of his friend screaming his name. I can’t remember the name and I probably couldn’t identify their faces if you showed me their pictures.
I sat up and realized I had been crying and sobbing likely through the entire episode. All things considered, a 5’6″ 100 pound kid shouldn’t have been able to do that to a couple of normal sized teenagers. I was compelled to do it. I don’t know if I can say I wouldn’t do it again. My heart races thinking about it.
As I sat there, I looked at my hands and they were covered in blood. Harold cleaned up the mess to reveal cuts all over my knuckles. I told my folks I had fallen off my bike, but the kid must have had braces or something. Harold quietly put his head on my lap and let me pet him for what felt like hours until I was ready to go home. This dog that seemed to only have days left to live was there to console me. He thought his job was to make me feel special and happy and important all of the time. And on one rare occasion he had to defend me. He never complained and he never stopped loving. If he was capable of taking his own life, I wouldn’t have blamed him for it. The pain must have been insufferable.
This week we lost a human with the heart of a golden retriever. We knew he suffered. He told us. He showed us. He touched everyone that ever saw his work. He had that smile that was always slightly clouded by sadness as if he always knew this is how it would end. If you are asking yourself why this particular celebrity hurts more than the others, just look two feet away at your loyal companion. A pure heart that asks for nothing in return. That’s not human. And it hurts when we watch the innocent suffer.
1. Look at yourself in the mirror. Did you just murmur, “I’m Federal Agent Jack Bauer, and today is the longest day of my life”?
2. Ask someone something–anything. Maybe ask the guy at the deli counter what sort of condiments he offers. Or maybe ask the friendly man walking down the street what sort of breed his dog is. Did you torture someone, shoot them in the kneecaps, and accuse them of being a terrorist, just because they didn’t answer quickly enough?
3. Do you never urinate? Ever? Like even just once at some point during a very stressful day in your life?
4. Have you disarmed a lot of nuclear bombs? Also quick side-note do you like surreptitiously find somewhere to pee while you’re disarming the nuclear bombs because I’m just really confused on this issue.
5. At this point you’ve probably figured out whether or not your Jack Bauer. So if you are Jack, I have a couple questions. Do you have a fear of toilets?
6. Do you have a really strong urinary tract?
7. Does this help you fight off the terrorists?
8. I’m just curious I’m sorry I PROMISE I’m not a terrorist.
9. Pinky swear.
10. Cross my heart and either way I hope to not die.
11. Oh god my kneecaps.