Posts Tagged ‘alex marino’
During November, Alex Marino directs the latest installment of The Director’s Series, The Wake. Every Thursday night at 9pm, The Wake takes you on an adventure inspired by an obituary. I interviewed Alex via email to discuss The Wake and his inspiration behind the form.
What is The Wake and why did you choose this form?
The wake is a form I started thinking about when i was taking classes in LA. I was feeling kinda frustrated because we had been working on the invocation, which I found really interesting, but a lot of my classmates were really dismissive–they’d roll their eyes if they didn’t think the suggestion was cool, they seemed a little bit mocking of improv itself. It was LA and they were just too cool for it. So I started trying to think of a way to approach the invocation that would force performers to at least have a little bit of respect for the suggestion… and I figured “what if you had to do an invocation of a person who had just died… in a room full of people who loved them.” So it kinda stayed in my head gestating for a while. Then when Magnet first opened I was approached by a practice group, it was one of the first groups I’d coached in New York, and that was Louis Kornfeld, Megan Gray, Charlie Whitcroft, Jon Bander, Corey Grimes, and Kelly Buttermore. And after working with them for a little bit I asked if they’d like to experiment with this form I’d been thinking about and they were totally game. What we arrived at was a modified invocation of someone in that day’s obituaries, inviting them to come into the theater and share their story before they go. I heard, and this may be apocryphal, that the practice of holding wakes came from a period in Ireland where they disinterred a lot of old graves and found scratch marks on the inside of the coffins. They realized that something like 1 in 10 people were being buried alive. So they decided to leave the dead out in for a period of time after they passed to give them one last chance to wake up. So the Wake seemed fitting as a name for the form. I kinda liked the notion that this show is one last chance for the dead to come back.
I chose it for this Director’s Series because it had been a while since I’d seen it done and I wanted to work with the original cast again. A couple years ago I taught a class in The Wake, and those bozos have been asking me when they were gonna get to do it again, so I thought I’d invite them along too.
What do you find funny?
All kinds of stuff. Smart stuff, dumb stuff. Deep stuff, light stuff. Lots of things are funny. To me, the funniest thing to think about is that we’re all just a huge biological accident that learned how to wear clothes and comb its hair. That shit is hilarious to me. We’re a mostly bald, mostly flimsy, slow moving animal, with small, dull teeth and worthless claws. We can barely climb, we can’t fly, or hold our breath very long. We have bad backs and lethal allergies to peanuts and shellfish–but not all of us, so you don’t even know if someone is allergic until they just almost die. We eat and drink through the same hole we use to breathe and speak, and somehow we’ve survived long enough to figure out space travel, novelty t-shirts, iPhones and art that goes on your fingernails. It’s incredibly funny to me just how we spend our time.
Do you find death funny?
Death is not funny, no, but everything around death is funnier because of it. Death is the ultimate straight man. I think to have laughter there needs to be a break in tension, which means there needs to be tension to begin with. The more the tension and the bigger the break, the more satisfying the laugh. The uneasiness people feel when they’re faced with death is a great primer for laughter, and that kind of laughter makes it easier to live with death.
What is the future of improv?
I dunno. At some point enough people are going to complain loudly and correctly enough about not getting properly recognized and compensated for content they improvise for commercials and movies… so probably a union will come out of that. And you’ll see “additional content improvised by” in the credits of films which will be good, but things will be weird… or maybe they wont. Maybe the improviser union will be chill. Eventually there will be an improvised show that is so undeniably good that it will get a run on Broadway. Eventually there will be an improvised show that wins a Tony. Some people will be upset by that… or maybe they wont. Maybe Broadway will have relaxed a bit by then. Someone is going to bring a true and honest, disinterested study of improvisation with all its techniques, history, and various applications to the university level, build a curriculum around it, and just like performance studies and jazz you’ll be able to get a college degree in improvisation. I would like to think that degree in improv would be worth more than getting a degree in performance studies or jazz, but it probably won’t be… and after four years, it definitely won’t make anyone a better improviser than performing in every black box and bar that will let you… but, no matter how much actual experience you may have in the field, you’ll need to have a degree in improv to be able to teach improv at the university level… So that will be a nice little scam.
The Wake plays every Thursday in November at 9pm. Make Reservations Here!
The Evente is not the easiest form out there, in fact it can be quite difficult to understand at times. It begins with one central event, suggested by the audience, and builds from there. The forms utilizes flashbacks and time jumps, all while focusing on relationships surrounding the event. Created by Armando Diaz in the late 90′s, it is part of the “wild wild west improv movement” that Diaz created when he started the Magnet in 2005.
Check out the above chart that will help you understand Evente better! And if you’re looking to study the form with Alex Marino, the next session starts February 2nd! More info!
In the latest installment of The Director’s Series, Christina Gausas takes the reins on The Subject. The Subject is a form that ”follows the central character of the evening (the subject), never leaving the stage while the others enter and exit as various friends, relatives, demons and fantasy figures”.
The Subject, created by Alex Fendrich, was originally performed at the iO theater in Chicago and was “Highly Recommended” by The Chicago Sun-Times. Gausas was a member of the original cast and now she leads an all-star cast made up of Louis Kornfeld, Megan Gray, Alex Marino, Angela Demanti, Sebastian Connelli, Ruby Marez, Binu Paulose, Tom Levin, and Liz McDonnell.
The Subject opens Thursday May 3rd at 10pm, and is followed by an Opening Night Party at Mustang Sally’s (28th & 7th). Come to the show and celebrate afterwards with great food and drink specials!
The Subject, opening May 3rd at 10pm at The Magnet Theater!
Dave Razowsky and Ed Herbstman answered questions from Alex Marino and the audience on January 29th at Magnet Theater, and somebody recorded it. Wanna listen to it? Well here it is. Enjoy.
Oh, and if you’d like to see them perform together in the very clearly titled, ‘Razowsky and Herbstman’, you can do so on Saturday night, April 28th at 9pm, on the Magnet Mainstage.
Make a reservation here.
And if you’d like to train with these guys (along with Rachel Hamilton and Armando Diaz and others) while enjoying swimming, kayaking, and campfires, you can sign up for Camp Magnet 2012!
Growing up it was a bi-monthly event in my family. We’d drive 45 minutes to the nearest movie theater, go out for Chinese Food and then go see something. Something big. But starting this Thursday my bi-monthly childhood treat will become a weekly one…
“The Movie” is coming to Magnet Theater! This improvised long form will leave you a bit breathless. It’s an entire improvised film, complete with cuts, pans, zooms, helicopter shots, and maybe even some prohibitively expensive CGI. And if we’re lucky, we may get some Chinese Food before (but probably not).
It might be a heart-warming coming of age picture, or a tear-jerking sports hero battling cancer sort of thing. Or maybe a sci-fi horror ‘stuck on a planet battling a monster (but the real monster is their own inner demon)’ sort of movie. Maybe a combo of all three. Doesn’t matter though. I’ll be there.
“The Movie” is the first installment of The Directors Series, a 4-week series of performances wherein a Director selects a cast and presents a different form. This month Ed Herbstman is directing Fiona Mallek, Jamie Rivera, Louis Kornfeld, Peter McNerney, Chet Siegel, Nick Kanellis, Christian Palluck, Woody Fu, Elana Fishbein and Alex Marino. Every Thursday at 10pm in February!
Oh, and it’s part of Thursday Night Out – you get to see the whole night of shows for one $7 ticket.
Take five of NYC’s sharpest improvisers, add a dash of Youtube, and stir well with the nimble fingers of a trusty Research Assistant in the tech booth: you get Search Engine, the newest innovative improv cocktail to hit the stage at the Magnet Theater. With improvisers hailing from 4Track, Mother, and Hello Laser, Search Engine promises to deliver knowledge that you didn’t even know you had to know.
Alan Fessenden, Jesse Falcon, Matt Evans, Alex Marino