Changing times

Hi, All.

We’re in the process of changing over our Improv Hobby wordpress account to the actual website. It’s a little bit of a trial in the sense that we are just going to keep this as a separate blog because we love the people and information that we’ve been able to share here. Hope you can still find us in the blogosphere! Or you can check out our non-profit endeavor at We’ll still be posting things on this website, they might be more random and all but hopefully they’ll always be pertinent in some way.


Rance Rizzutto Workshop 20Feb10

Improv Rehab – Saturday February 20th (1:30pm – 4:30pm)

Every improvisor picks up a bad habit or two along their journey. Some know what theirs are and some don’t. You don’t have to know what it is to take this class, but you’ll know by the end. Based on hours of observing, performing, and coaching Rance Rizzutto has developed Improv Rehab. It will break your bad habits and focus you in strong relationships and environments…oh, and like rehab, your brain is gonna hurt a little.

RANCE RIZZUTTO has been professionally performing and teaching improv for over ten years. He got his start with ComedySportz (improv) and The 3rd Floor (sketch) in Portland, OR. After moving to Chicago in 2003 he has trained with iO Chicago and Annoyance and has performed with ComedySportz Chicago, The Beatbox, and numerous other groups, including Silent Treatment, a two-person silent improv show with his lovely fiancée Deanna. Currently he is working for Second City Theatricals for his fourth contract on NCL cruise ships. Aside from performing his other love is photography.

This class was energizing and fun. It involved a series of loose scenes (suggestions were locations with a lot of activities people could do) and the addition of “rules” to the scenes as the class progressed.
For sake of continuity we’re going to number each series of exercises as scene sets. In each scene set different rules were added on to the players in the scene. The audience also had the task of calling out certain key words if the players on stage were not doing the rules.

1) Rule established is that you must talk continuously (no silence) and do an activity each time you speak. (Key words for the audience to yell out if the rules were not being abided were “Talk” and “Use.”)
2) Added rule you can’t use the same object more than once, each time you speak you need to use a different object (Key word is “Switch.”)
3) Added rule no talking about the object. (Key word Buzzer tone “Eeeh!”)
4) Added rule no standing in a bingo line. (Key word “Bingo.”)
5) Added rule if you say the word “You” or “I” in a relationship context (Key word “aah.”)

Edits in Improv (Basic)

What is defined as an edit is somewhat less important than the effect. Edits are better defined as “any time a person enters or exits.”
However, loosely defined, edits are any things that act on the scene from the outside in a way that changes the direction of the scene. There are edits that initiate a new scene and there are edits that help an existing scene from the outside. This is not a definitive list but more of a work in progress.

For edits to be successfully done EYE CONTACT is essential. If you want someone to stay on stage you need to make eye contact with them, if you want them to leave, do not make eye contact with them.

Edits are grouped below in subcategories that they are most similar to:

1. Basic edits (Hanamichi, sweep edit, transition edit and cross edit are essentially the same thing, in that they all start a new scene).

o Cross Edit – come on stage, walk to the opposite DS position, and start a new scene or start the new scene while crossing down stage. Someone off stage walks across the stage w/o making eye contact and the people on stage exit. People on stage exit.

o Hanamichi Edit – usually happens to DSL or DSR of stage, new person comes on stage and freezes in a pose. Two people on stage leave.

o Sweep/Curtain Edit – someone off stage comes on stage and mimes wiping the stage clean. The action of drawing a curtain is also popular.

o Transition Edit – (Game time) Person enters from off stage and takes Center Stage
Activity – the machine would be an example of this

2. French Edits (Stalker, push, pull and slacker are all variations).

o French Edit (R.’s definition) – In classic French drama, any time a character enters or exits, it’s considered the start of a new scene.

o Push Edit – 3rd person enters two person scene and tells one of them that they are needed offstage. Or someone calls from offstage for a character that is on stage, person leaves (the latter situation mandates that someone jump on stage pronto so the person that is on stage isn’t left alone for any length of time).

o Pull Edit – Call someone from offstage on to the stage. Usually a slacker or a push edit needs to happen to get one of the players currently on stage to go offstage.

o Slacker Edit – three people are on stage and someone finds a reason to leave of their own volition.

o Stalker Edit – usually involves someone spying at upstage center, involves miming a hiding place (in LTC USL or USR is also good). This edit doesn’t change the location. The two people on stage are talking – person upstage says a phrase or word that they have spoken, says it out loud, the two people “on-stage” hear it (don’t know where it’s coming from) but take it as a cue to leave and talk privately – person hiding upstage comes out and starts a related scene from the line or word that they said while upstage.

3. Directing Edits and variations thereof are Swinging Door, Tag Out, and Split Scene (though Split Screen also may transition to a new scene).

o Directing Edit – “delivering a package and exiting” thing. You’re basically entering the scene to deliver some small piece of information and then leaving. The package isn’t the only way to do this. You could also do scene painting which involves someone off stage coming on stage and drawing attention to important aspects of the space to enhance the scene. The point of this edit is to support the scene by adding some new information that drives it forward in some way. Ideally, the players take whatever information that was delivered in the directing edit and make it very important for the scene. It’s sort of a way of saying “I recognize that this scene needs help and am going to provide them with something that will help them.”

o Traveling edit – two person scene involves another location. The two people “travel” (usually walking in a circle) to that location and someone off stage offers to be a person of that “new” locale. Usually an additional push or pull is needed when they get to the 2nd locale so it’s back to a two person scene.

o Split Scene – two people are on stage, two more people enter and start having a loosely related scene (doesn’t need to be in the same location-better if it isn’t). They alternate conversations between the two couples.

o Swinging Door – two people are on stage, one person enters and “swings” the person in the center to them and has a related scene with that person, the person on the other side, doesn’t leave but waits and “swings” the other person back to them to talk to. Person that initiates the swinging door (3rd person) usually is responsible for ending the swinging door and leaving.

o Time edit – Flash Forward or Flash Back. This is a directed edit. Someone off stage says “Flash forward or flash back to (a specific time)” and the people on stage do so.

o Tag Out – come on stage and tag someone out to leave and continues the scene.


Having a set form . . . does it hurt improv?

For the new year, I’d like to broach any interesting theory for those that think improv is best when it’s free form.
During my time at Honolulu Theatre for Youth, I performed in a show directed by David Furumoto called, “Wondrous Tales of Old Japan.” As a side note, it was one of the best experiences I had at HTY. But one moment that stood out in my memory occured during one of our note sessions. It was the moment that David likened the style of Kabuki acting to a crystal. When you shine a light through a crystal it creates a rainbow of colors that shine in all directions. The crystal is the style and the light is what the actor brings to it.
I see this in Improv shows that have a set form. Sometimes set forms can create stagnation because people see it as being too constricting but if you work on the skills that set good improvisers apart from another (e.g. relationships, agreement, establishing who, what, where) you can create a rainbow of colors that may not be possible when you are without a form because you don’t have any time in performance or rehearsal to do so.

Shows coming up for “Pea, Branes, Burritos” – from now till the end of January

Saturday will be the day of the week for PBB to be at Laughtrack Theater. Mark your calendars for more “Fishbone” long-form.

December 19, 2009 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
December 26, 2009 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
January 2, 2010 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
January 9, 2010 at 8 p.m.
January 16, 2010 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
January 23, 2010 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.

If you can, you should check it out. I have to admit it is one of my favorite forms to be working on. I find that most forms are inspired by ideas that are thrown into the ether (loose scene structured), but this is one of the first forms that I have worked on that is more closely tied to the scene before through the need to be effected by something that occurs in the prior scene, instead of inspired. My brain works a little harder and I listen a little bit more avidly to what is going on before. No loose scenes here! And it’s fun to follow when you can see what you should be looking for.

As always, Laughtrack is across the street from Hawaii Theater, you can bring your own booze, and it is only $10 a peep.

I fail

One post a day was not possible. But I have many excuses. Regardless I am trying again. But I think I’ll try one a week because I went to a conference about social networking and I heard at least two people say that this is a realistic goal.

Things going on –

Professionally – It’s the holiday time at work and we’re slowly getting into the spirit. We have a Christmas Tree that needs to be put up and a thank you party for those that have made special contributions to our organization in the past year.

Improv Hobby – Board members found and I received the Articles that I need to file with the DCCA and that has been sent out. A copy of the bylaws was created for us and now we have to have a meeting with our board to okay all these things we are trying to do for the Incorporation.

Improv shows – Peas, Branes, Burritos has successfully done two nights of shows at Laughtrack Theater and may be looking at continuing on through December and January. The “Fishbone” is a longform that involves following an action that has a direct effect on the following scene. It is only one scene removed and Jennifer Waihee is to thank for being the main brain behind this idea. Our opening, we have to thank Jeff Griggs for. Our opening is a popcorning idea/google search idea. We take a random suggestion and give statistics and facts off of each others information.
Opening Example would be: Money
A: The US is currently 1 trillion dollars in debt.
B: The US is a world power.
C: Another world power is Japan.
D: In Tokyo, Japan you can buy a toupee for your dog.
E: Dogs are color blind. . . .
Longform Example would be:
Scene 1: Ralph our dog is peeing on the floor and I want it to be an outdoor dog, but my husband Mike doesn’t want him outside because it’s not safe. Mike looks out the window and shuts it quickly.
Scene 2: Two girls outside the house see him look out the window. One of the girls has a crush on him and waits daily for a glimpse of him through the window. This is the first time that she has brought her friend Megan to prove to her that he exists.
Scene 3: Megan is late for a double date with her boyfriend and his friend to whom this is actually a blind date with a friend of Megan’s.

and so on and so on . . .