Armando’s Coaching Class needs volunteer improvisers (PREREQ completion of Magnet Level 1 improv) tomorrow, Saturday, January 25th from 4-6pm. Come in and be coached in practice sessions by the student coaches. Not only do you get FREE practice time, you get to hear the thoughts of the student coaches AND Armando himself.
If interested, email schooldirector[at]magnettheater[dot]com to confirm a spot. Spaces are limited, so first come, first serve.
Due to the snowstorm, The Magnet Training Center will be CLOSED Tuesday, January 21st. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the School Director at schooldirector[at]magnettheater[dot]com. Stay warm and get home safe!
Magnet Theater recently chatted with Beth Newell, one of the creators of Reductress.com, an online satirical news site that’s been called The Onion for women. Beth is also Managing Director of Magnet Theater’s Sketch Teams and currently performs in the improv duo Sad Kids. The conversation was mostly about shoes and purses, but Magnet managed to shift the conversation to comedy, the transcript of what followed is below.
MT: Reductress.com is a very smart and funny. I loved the ad for ‘Vagina Whitening Tampons.’ And your coverage of New York Fashion Week.
BN: Thanks. We did some videos that got passed around, which was fun.
MT: And you’ve tapped into a lot of talent in the Magnet community to help, which is great.
BN: Thanks. There are a lot of funny women with good ideas and a lot of sharp comedy skills at Magnet.
MT: Is Reductress.com run by mostly women?
BN: Yes, it is. It’s run by women. There are some men involved, too. We’re not actively avoiding using men, but since our playground is women’s media, women have a unique perspective that more directly serves our point of view.
MT: So basically, ‘no dudes’ is what you’re saying?
BN: No. But because we make fun of the way the media speaks to women and its presumptions about the way women think, it’s natural for women to be more equipped at exposing the comedy targets.
MT: So no dudes. I get it. Moving on-
On Wednesday, December 18th, I (Amanda Ariel Peggy Xeller!) got to interview Magnet’s own Russ Armstrong about growth in improv, understanding the makings of a good team, and how to be a good teacher, director, and improviser. Below is the transcribed interview.
Where are you from originally?
I’m from Michigan. I’m from Ann Arbor, Michigan.
How did you get involved in improv?
I started improvising in high school. I was watching Whose Line Is It Anyway? with my friends and started an improv group to play short form games. The Pioneer Comedy Troupe from Pioneer High School. It was my junior year of high school. We thought we were the coolest people in the world and we didn’t know we were actually the lamest people in the world.
You went to Northwestern yes? Did you do improv in college? What was the improv there called.
I did. Yep. It was the Mee-ow Show. It was billed as 1/3 improv, 1/3 sketch, 1/3 rock ‘n’ roll. Lots of short form stuff. It was great, super fun. It was a blast.
And you studied in Chicago as well? At iO and Second City? How does the training there compare to the training you learned in NYC?
It’s all the same stuff just different approaches to it. I think Chicago tends to nurture you finding your voice a little bit more. They give you a little more time, marinates in a way that Chicago does with everything, with theater and music and food. Because the spotlight isn’t on it as much, there’s less pressure to produce immediately. New York tends to have a little more pressure because it is New York. And it’s more expensive. I think they are both awesome attributes. It’s good to have that pressure. I love that about New York.
The Magnet Theater not only boasts its current roster of powerful improvisers, writers, and performers, but also celebrates those who have taken on new adventures in their lives and with their comedy.
Charlotte Rabbe, a phenomenal Magnet improviser, previously on The Wrath, is now out in L.A. We wanted to catch up with Charlotte and shine the Magnet Theater Blog Spotlight on her and her journey in comedy. We conducted an email interview with Charlotte. Below are her responses:
What’s your home town?
CR: Where I grew up? Most of my family is living in NYC now so I consider that my hometown.
What is your comedy history (highlighting improv and sketch especially)? What got you interested and when were you first exposed to improv?
CR: I would watch a lot of stand up/sketch shows growing up (The State, The Upright Citizens Brigade TV show, SNL) and I was obsessed… When I started coming into the city after high school I went to a lot of stand up shows but was too afraid to ever do it. I ended up taking an improv class after college even though I had seen very little and got hooked.