“The Butterfly Effect” is the newest installment of The Director’s Series, a 5-week series of performances wherein a Director selects a cast and presents a different form. This month Megan Gray (Magnet Artistic Director, Junior Varsity) and Alan Fessenden (The Weave, Hello Laser) team up to bring you The Butterfly Effect. We sat down with them, via email, and asked them why they chose to direct this form.
MAGNET BLOG: What is The Butterfly Effect? Why are you directing it?
MEGAN: “The Butterfly Effect” is an improv long form that borrows from Close Quarters (which was developed in Chicago by Director Noah Gregoropoulos at Second City) and Tracers (which was developed by Kevin Mullaney at the UCB in NY). Based on the suggestion of a location and a time of day, the cast creates a series of scenes that are all happening at the same time. It’s almost like a combination of Monoscene Eventes.
This form requires a great attention to detail and a pretty sharp memory. I first saw it performed at a Del Close Marathon in 2004 and was blown away. The entire piece took place in a mansion with all these secret passageways. The cast remembered every piece of information and kept it really fun. Since then, it’s been a form I’ve been wanting to develop for a Director Series. I was talking to Alan Fessenden about it and he mentioned that he also wanted to work with Tracers. So we decided to direct it together.
ALAN: When I first saw Tracers at the UCB years ago, it was amazing and looked semi impossible, so I wanted to try and recreate that impossible feeling. Additionally, I was working with Matt Antonucci and a a few others in this style and I thought, we need to need to put this up, and I want to do it soon. We were having so much fun.
MAGNET BLOG: What is your favorite type of improv?
MEGAN: I like to watch improv that has a lightness to it. The performers are having fun, making interesting choices and connecting with each other. This may sound stupid, but I love to watch improv that looks improvised — not like the performers are just saying things they’ve been writing in their heads on the backline. I want to be surprised by improvisers making discoveries in the moment.
ALAN: I like it fast, I like it slow, I guess it depends on my mood. But really I like improv where people are really making discoveries in the moment, so the audience, the actor and maybe even the characters are all figuring something out together.
MAGNET BLOG: What is the future of improv?
ALAN: Structured plays with stock characters where all the dialogue is improvised, only now it will take place in a virtual reality and the actors will be able to digitally enhance the world as they create it. Probably.
The Butterfly Effect plays every Thursday in May at 9pm.
The Magnet Theater is excited to announce that we are now accepting applications for the next round of MAGNET SKETCH TEAMS.
Each sketch team will write and perform a show approximately every 3 weeks. This run of shows begins in June and ends in September. Shows will take place Sunday nights at 9pm. Completion of Sketch Writing Level 2 is required to apply.
HOW TO APPLY TO BE ON A MAGNET SKETCH TEAM:
Send an email with the subject line, “MAGNET SKETCH TEAM APPLICATION” and your name to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your improv/sketch experience and at least 2 writing samples as attachments (please limit total to 10 – 12 pages).
The deadline for submissions is FRIDAY, MAY 17th.
Thank you to everyone who came out for Megawatt auditions. We’re excited to announce our latest teams:
New Team RED
New Team WHITE
New Team BLUE
There will also be additions to Horses, The Wrath and Featherweight
Andrew Yurman Glaser
Lauren Ashley Smith
These brand new teams debut Wednesday, May 1st at 7pm. Get there early.
The latest round of The Circuit has arrived and we are pleased to announce that we are currently taking submissions until Friday, May 3rd. If you have completed level 3 of Magnet’s Training Program, you are eligible to apply!
Your name will be entered into a lottery and if selected, you will be placed on a team of 8 with one of our assigned coaches. You will rehearse with your team once a week, with rotating performances on Friday nights at 10pm at Magnet’s Training Center Theater.
To apply, just fill out this application!
Team announcements will be made Wednesday, May 8th with shows beginning Friday, May 17th.
The Circuit is a great way to gain experience performing and practicing with an improv team. We highly encourage you to apply!
Thank you and we are looking forward to an exciting new season of the Circuit!
Second City Theatricals is seeking actors for ensembles on Norwegian Cruise Line ships. A ship-specific audition will be held at The Magnet Theater Training Center in New York City on Thursday, May 16th, 2013. Auditions will be completely improvised. Performers should be a graduate of a conservatory-level program (such as Peoples Improv Theater, Upright Citizens Brigade or Magnet Theater).
Interested performers should email a headshot and resume to email@example.com ON Tuesday, April 30th or Wednesday, May 1st. Please include “Second City Theatricals – NYC – May 16” in the subject line of your email. On May 15th, there will be a Q&A with Second City Director of Talent, Beth Kligerman, at The Magnet Training Center from 4:30-5:45. Callbacks will be held on Friday, May 17th.
Second City performers are contracted for 4 months at a time.
The Second City was founded in Chicago in 1959 as a hub for sketch and improvisational comedy, and has held a contract with Norwegian Cruise Line since 2005.
That’s it…we’ve had it. Never again shall “improv” be “misspelled” by any spellcheck! Never again will improv be auto-corrected to improve! Never again will a paper clip tell us that what we do is “wrong”! We must stand to make a difference! We must come together, not as any individual comedy theaters or groups, but as brothers and sisters. This injustice will no longer be accepted by improvisers everywhere. The hours we’ve spent performing in noisy bars to audiences of 3 people makes this fight worth fighting! We must justify our life choices! We must YES AND…FIGHT FOR WHAT WE BELIEVE IN!
When is improv going to be accepted as a word into the English language? Band together with us and let’s MAKE IMPROV A REAL WORD.
Share this post. Believe in this movement. One day…one day we’ll be able to write improv without a red squiggly line popping up underneath it. One day, we’ll finally…
Thanks so much to NYC Tourist for this wonderful review of The Magnet Theater and of Trike featuring Ed Herbstman. If you’re interested in taking a Free Magnet Class or seeing an affordable show, check out our website! NYCTourist.com is a travel site dedicated to all the best things to do and places to stay in New York City, check them out!
“The Sleep Over” is the newest installment of The Director Series, a 4-week series of performances wherein a Director selects a cast and presents a different form. This month Kevin Cragg is directing “The Sleep Over.” We conducted an interview with director Kevin Cragg via email about the show.
1. What is The Sleep Over?
The Sleep Over is largely a mono-character improv form that was developed in the early 2000s by then Harold Team Mother. Over the duration of the current Sleep Over incarnation, Kevin Cobbs, Megan Gray, Will Quinn, Amie Roe, Jamaal Sedayao, Emily Shapiro, Caitlin Steitzer, and Kristy Wesolowski introduce us to eight characters and take us on a journey through the world they inhabit.
2. Why are you directing it?
My interest in the Sleep Over stems from the long history I have had with the form. I was lucky enough to be present to watch Mother workshop the form at a tiny storefront theater and it has been one of my favorite forms ever since. By directing it, I have a reason to gather eight of my favorite improvisers and let them loose on one of my favorite forms.
3. What is your favorite type of improv?
Since I have performed improv for quite some time and I have watched improv even longer, I would have to say the type of improv that is my favorite is that which surprises me. For four Thursdays in April, I will be watching my favorite improv.
4. What is the future of improv?
Another realm for product placement.
The Sleep Over performs every Thursday in April at 10pm at The Magnet Theater. The cast features Kevin Cobbs, Megan Gray, Will Quinn, Amie Roe, Jamaal Sedayao, Emily Shapiro, Caitlin Steitzer, and Kristy Wesolowski.
Magnet Theater will be holding auditions for the spring season of Megawatt. Auditions will be held Saturday, April 27th, with callbacks on Sunday, April 28th. To be eligible for the audition, performers need to have completed Magnet Level 6 Team Performance no earlier than January 2011, or to have performed on a Megawatt team within the last year. Please note that due to the limited number of slots auditions are not guaranteed.
To apply, please follow the link and fill out the availability form no later than April 19th.
BEEES!!! turned 2 earlier this year! They are celebrating with a Two-Year Anniversary Show this Friday, March 29th, at 7pm, and you are all invited!
Formed in late December 2010, BEEES!!! gathered for the first time as a team at Mooncake, a few doors down from the Magnet Training Center. Over dinner and cheap Sapporo beers, they got better acquainted with one another. Some had taken the Magnet musical improv classes together, and were nervous and excited to be placed on their very first house team; others were seasoned performers, with years of improv and stage experience under their belts. What they all had in common, was their musical improv training under the brilliant Tara Copeland and Frank Spitznagel. BEEES!!! hit the Magnet stage for their first show on Tuesday, January 4th, 2011.
(Team Trivia: Michael Lutton came up with the team name, which won the majority of the votes, over gems such as “7 O’Clock,” “The Richard Cheddar Show,” and “Employee of the Month.”)
Since then, BEEES!!! has performed regularly on Magnet Musical Tuesdays, survived two hurricanes (Irene and Sandy), won five Inspirado challenges, and performed in theaters and improv festivals throughout NYC and along the East Coast, including The Depot Theatre, Boston Comedy Arts Festival, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, NYC Improv Festival, and the New York Musical Improv Festival.
BEEES!!! is happy and proud to call the Magnet Theater home. Come this Friday, March 29th, at 7pm and join them in celebrating 2 years of making beautiful musical improv together.
BEEES!!! is: Jamie Cummings, Michael Lutton, Desireé Nash, Steve Whyte, Catherine Wing.