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Magnet Theater Blog: News and Ideas about Comedy, Improv Shows & Classes in NYC

Posts Tagged ‘magnet theater’

Wednesday November 30, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

matt-alspaugh-podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Writer, actor, and director, MATT ALSPAUGH, swings by to talk with host Louis Kornfeld about teaching, how he got into the performing arts, and some tasty bits of NYC history. How did this kid who grew up playing baseball in Connecticut fall in love with theater and eventually find himself chasing comedy in New York City? We’ll find out! Matt also provides advice for sketch writers, actors, and show-runners. Plus! We ask Matt to perform a never-before-heard segment called “A Very Kind Scene With A Jar of Pickles.” Huzzah!

We open the episode discussing Matt’s time working at the Drama Book Shop, a local institution for actors, playwrights, and fans of theater alike. His years there allowed Matt to meet many wonderful people, read many great plays, and to be surrounded by theater. It also allowed him to do some couch-crashing, which talks about fondly. While back home after college, Matt was a substitute teacher, and he and Louis find themselves discussing how theater fits into the overall education experience. On the topic of staged pieces, our gents talk about the interplay between the audience and the performer and how performers must allow the audience to fill in some details for themselves. In order to allow yourself to act, you must not worry about convincing the audience of the reality. From all of this, Louis asks Matt about how he got into improv and sketch. Having worn so many different hats within Magnet’s sketch community, Matt provides advice for sketch actors, writers, and show-runners. What’s his favorite role? Find out!

For this episode, we to skip over “Getting To Know Each Other” and instead, Matt tells us about some interesting tidbits of New York City history – after all, he’s a licensed NYC tour guide! Oh baby! And finally, A Very Kind Scene Opposite A Jar Of Pickles, because we all need some kindness after the election.

matt-alspaugh-pickles

Friday November 18, 2016, 3:05pm - by Magnet Theater

MVL

Magnet Video Lab is now accepting applications for season 5. We are a comedy video-making collective powered by the Magnet community. Be sure you thoroughly read the description below before submitting.

There will be an informational Q&A session on Tuesday, December 6 from 6:30-7:00pm in Room A at the Magnet Training Center.

All applications are due no later then 5 pm on December 16, 2016after which you will receive a confirmation that we received your submission. All applicants will be notified by December 28, 2016 and groups will start meeting the first or second week of January, 2017.

Selected applicants will be placed in one of three small groups with an experienced leader. The season will last around 3-4 months, and will culminate with a screening at the Magnet Theater.  The videos will also be featured on the Magnet Video Lab website and Youtube page, and will be promoted through Magnet Theater’s blog, Facebook page, etc. 

Leading up to the show, all members are expected to meet once a week to help each other in the writing room, in pre-production, production, and post-production. During the actual shoot dates, schedules may change. The Video Lab does not own equipment and is not responsible for producing your work, it is a forum of people sharing resources, hardware and experience. During production, you are allowed to work with cinematographers and sound people outside of the Lab if necessary. You are expected to be a pro-active individual that will be hands on with your own creation the whole way through. The Video Lab’s main goal is helping you achieve a high quality product ready for public consumption.

Qualified applicants for the Magnet Video Lab should have at least one of the following skills: video direction, script writing, sound design, video editing, special effects, cinematography, or production.

At least one of two things are required to submit:
1. Minimum of one viewable link to a video you were involved with and an indication of your roll.
2. A script no longer then five pages, in pdf format.

Again all applications are due by 5pm on December 16th.

Submit video links and/or scripts to magnetvideolab@gmail.com. You can access the application at this link: Magnet Video Lab ApplicationAny incomplete submissions will not be considered.

We look forward to reviewing your application!

Wednesday November 16, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

derrence-washington-podcast Subscribe with iTunes

The sexiest baby on earth, DERRENCE WASHINGTON, swings by to talk with host Louis Kornfeld about spirituality, working with our egos, and making cultural adjustments while improvising. Derrence tells us about his upbringing in Houston, TX and when it was that he truly began to remove judgement from himself. He also talks a bit about acting and how improv can improve for those underrepresented in the art form. Catch Derrence each week with his Megawatt team Sexy Baby and on the Friday Night Sh*w!

Derrence and Louis begin the program talking about spirituality and what it means to be a spiritual person. Derrence says that forgiveness, love, and loving yourself are key. Louis asks Derrence about his Instagram account and the videos he posts to it which highlight both his inspirational thoughts and his superego. We hear a bit about his religious upbringing in Houston, TX and what began his turnaround as someone who felt spiritual and meditative. Derrence speaks more about removing judgement from yourself and how we have to navigate our own egos. He suggests looking for symbols outside of the ego that we can go to for help. Taking it in another direction, Louis wants to talk about acting! How do ego and a person’s sense of self play into acting? Louis also sets about describing a couple of improv epiphanies. Toward the end of their conversation, Derrence talks about making cultural adjustments when improvising and the experience of being black and going through improv classes. Louis asks him how improv can improve for those that are underrepresented and how can we make more people feel more comfortable? All the great talk leaves no time for a two person hotspot this episode, but you know we got that Serious Scene Opposite A Jar of Pickles.

 

Wednesday November 9, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

sisters-three-podcast Subscribe with iTunes

The creative team behind SISTERS THREE joins us to talk about their incredible show. Starring Magnet all-stars Elana Fishbein and Elena Skopetos, directed by the one and only Peter McNerney, and written by all three of them, Sisters Three is a fast-paced, hilarious play that is running at the Magnet this fall and early next year. It’s Louis’ favorite show he’s ever seen at the Magnet and it’s also a New York Times Critics Pick. Your next chances to see it are Friday November 11th and 18th but you get to hear all about the show right here first.

They get started with attempting to describe Sisters Three and Louis claims that it’s the perfect marriage of improv and theater. The creators dive into the process of building, writing, and staging the show through improvisation and workshopping pieces of it. They say it took at least six months of work to even have an idea of what the show would look like!  It’s an incredibly interesting and wonderful process. They discuss embracing subtlety and avoiding the temptation to spell it all out for the audience. They talk about characters left on the cutting room floor and some of the jokes that didn’t make it in. Louis floods the episode with compliments and they’re all warranted. He also asks, “What’s the next step?” They talk about promoting and producing the play and where else they might be able to take it. Also, they give a nice hat tip to Locke & Key, a graphic novel series which has inspired them all. PLUS – They ALL do a Serious Scene Opposite A Jar of Pickles. (And no, it wasn’t Evan’s idea!) Huzzah!

Wednesday November 2, 2016, 4:28pm - by Magnet Theater

large_thecircuit

Congrats to all of our new Fall 2016 Conservatory Circuit teams! Come see one of their shows, Fridays at 10pm, November 4th through December 16th. Huzzah!

Charlie
Joy Passey
Adam Gorsline
Joy Weeeng
Mike E Delta
Matthew Aromando
Nick Phillips
Melanie Rubin
Mauricio Jimenez
Coach: Gregg Zehentner

Patty
Billy Soco
Roman Zelichenko
Kate de Longpre’
Hillary Dale
Olia Toporovsky
Racheal Free Demps-Lewis
Jonathan Fuchs
Peter Vale
Coach: Michael McLarnon

Lucy
Will Cheng
Rachelle White
Simon Shannon
Sarah Schlesinger
Patricio Machuca
lorena russi
Aditya Otiv
Maggie Lalley
Coach: Will Jacobs

Woodstock
Nat Trammell
Yimin Peng
William Cybriwsky
Camille Guinemer
Grant Goldberg
Annie Howard
Joe Lemonik
Amanda Rothman
Coach: Amanda Xeller

Wednesday November 2, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

dubbs-weinblatt-podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Founder and host of Thank You For Coming Out, DUBBS WEINBLATT, joins us to discuss battling stagefright, coming out stories, and the show TYFCO. Dubbs talks to host Louis Kornfeld about getting started in comedy in Ohio, how great Hawaiian shirts are, and what it feels like to be cut from a team. This episode is filled with the laughs you’d expect and also a lot of honest, touching moments that we think everyone can appreciate. Dubbs FTW! Check out the next Thank You For Coming Out on Monday, 12/12, at 10:30pm.

This episode kicks off with an exploration of why Dubbs been shaken by performance anxiety lately, but before going too deep into it, we back up a bit and Louis asks how Dubbs got started in comedy. We find out that Dubbs was originally pursuing stand-up in Columbus, OH! They both talk about the difference between the fears associated with standup (you’re prepared, but alone) and the fears linked to improv (you’re unprepared, but with people). Eventually, Dubbs moved to NYC and signed up for a UCB intensive improv class, but never even got to take it! Instead, Dubbs found musical improv at Magnet.

Louis talks with Dubbs about coming out as gay and then, later, coming out as genderqueer. As someone who didn’t fit into the gender binary, gaining the language necessary to properly articulate Dubbs’ new identity was perhaps as important as anything else. Dubbs describes the lead-up to top surgery and how the effects of the surgery can be seen in the camouflage and Hawaiian shirts Dubbs wore, respectively, before and after the procedure.

Circling back to where we began, Louis and Dubbs discuss stagefright! Dubbs describes the experience of a recent show where the cast of TYFCO (literally) held Dubbs’ hand leading into a scene and goes on to profess the benefits of community support. Diving further into the background of that moment, Dubbs speaks candidly about being cut from Musical Megawatt and how it hurts more being let go from within the system than not being a part of it at all. The interview ends with a bit more talk about TYFCO.

To close the show, Louis and Dubbs get to know each other with a “coffee and cake” monologue hotspot and Dubbs gives us a Serious Scene Opposite A Jar Of Pickles for the ages!

dubbs-louis-pickles

Monday October 31, 2016, 6:05pm - by Magnet Theater

Magnet TC Logo v3

Part-Time Training Center Assistant (Weekends and Evenings)

We’re looking for a friendly, responsible, and detail-oriented office assistant to open, close, and maintain the Magnet Training Center. Hours are from 6-11pm Monday – Sunday, possible weekend hours before 6pm as well. We’re looking for candidates that can regularly work at least 2-3 shifts a week.

Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of MS Office Suite and Google Apps
  • Ability to to lift 15 lbs.
  • Please be personable, calm, efficient and detail-oriented—and of course, a sense of humor is a plus!

Please send resumes and cover letters to schooldirector@magnettheater.com.

Priority will be given to resumes and cover letters  received by November 14th. Please note: only those applicants invited to interview for the position will be contacted.

Wednesday October 26, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

louis-kornfeld-podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Oh my my. To celebrate our 100th episode, host LOUIS KORNFELD takes a seat on the other side of the table to be interviewed by the incomparable Peter McNerney! What more do you need to know??? Happy 100th! Huzzah!

Fellow Magnet veteran and instructor, Peter McNerney, literally takes Louis’ place to interview our intrepid host all about his life and mind in the world of art and improv. We get to hear tidbits from Louis each week, but this episode is all about him! We thought that after 100 episodes, it might be nice for Louis to kick back, take the night off from hosting, and simply answer some questions. The result is wonderful and we’re so happy to share it with you. Here’s to 100 more!!!

peter-and-louis-pickles

Wednesday October 19, 2016, 2:18am - by Magnet Theater

matt-shafeek-podcast Subscribe with iTunes

A Megawatt performer since the very beginning, MATTHEW SHAFEEK, joins host Louis Kornfeld to talk about the different eras of Magnet, being a class clown, and, oh yes, gaming! These two performers go way back and have a lot of fun with this conversation. See Matt perform each week on Wednesdays with Metal Boy and on Saturdays with The Armando Diaz Experience!

Louis kicks off the episode my enlightening us to the fact that this Metal Boy has been in and out of Megawatt since the VERY beginning of Megawatt. How many teams has he been on?? Louis tries to guess! He and Matt discuss the different eras of Megawatt and even reflect on the days when you could take an eight-week Armando Diaz class for $99. Matt describes the role that improv has taken in his life and the balance it provides. He and Louis talk about what it means to be a class clown and Matt surmises that joking around in school was the beginning of his career in comedy. He even tells of the fan club he once created for himself! Both guys reflect on how nice it is to hang around comedians without having to do bits all the time and you won’t want to miss the moment when Louis says something that he thinks sounds insincere! That’s all before Louis asks about Matt’s life off-stage and he tells us that he’s a big time gamer. Matt gets into the board-game renaissance, how incredibly helpful games can be in social situations, and how gaming may be the future of storytelling. There’s no hotspot on this episode, but you better believe that we cap it all off with A Serious Scene Opposite A Jar Of Pickles! Huzzah!

Wednesday October 12, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

annie-moor-podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Visual artist and Magnet performer, ANNIE MOOR, is on the podcast talking with Louis about improv and how her art, no matter the medium, always trends toward storytelling. They dive deep into how narrative shows come together and even discuss how jealousy can be a great motivator. Aside from performing at Magnet with Wonderland, Premiere: The Improvised Musical, and Object Work, Annie is also a Magnet instructor, an early childhood educator, a teaching artist, and a visual artist who will be selling her incredible works of art at the Union Square Holiday Market from November 17th to December 24th! So many ways to enjoy Annie Moor, so little time! (But at least this episode will live online forever.)

Annie recently started teaching Level One Musical Improv at Magnet, so Louis begins the podcast by asking her what she thinks is the mark of a successful Level One class. He also wants to know how teachers help students who have zero musical awareness – how to bring them to their voice? Annie find that sharing her own anecdotes of “not knowing” with students often puts them at ease. Louis comes up with a cool analogy about cutting tomatoes with a dull knife that relates to staying sharp and keeping things fresh when performing. As he is wont to do when musical improvisers are across from him, Louis asks about the use of narrative structure in musical improv. He and Annie get into how narrative shows differ from traditional longform and how picking an antagonist is really hard! Annie has been doing improv since 2008 but it took her four years to find musical improv, which has truly been her love. She’s been doing theater her whole life though and made the jump to studying animation when she went off to college where, Annie claims, she was the worst animation student NYU has ever had! More recently, her primary non-musical improv experience has been performing with Object Work, an improv show which uses real objects. Louis and Annie talk about playing out real life on stage and they ask, does a good kind of jealousy fuel us appropriately? Annie talks about how all of her artistic pursuits trend towards storytelling and narrative moments. She says that storytelling starts taking shape for kids around four years old and that she loves getting to see that development on a regular basis in her work teaching one through five year olds. To end the show, Annie and Louis play a rousing game of monologue hotspot! Sadly, due to a recording error, we lost this episode’s edition of A Serious Scene With A Jar Of Pickles. Only Annie, Louis, Evan, and Grant will ever know how truly delightful it was!

annie-louis-pickles