Posts Tagged ‘magnet theater’
Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.
What’s your name?
Which team or show are you on?
Where are you from?
How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?
I took my first improv class as a freshman in high school at the Latin School of Chicago. Nick Baer was my first (and one of my favorite) teacher, and here are his notes from my grade report first quarter, freshman year (yes, I have them): “Chloe has been doing solid work in Improv Company this quarter. A confident and enthusiastic performer…she is not afraid to follow a bizarre move or premise with complete sincerity…Chloe could stand to slow down at times in her scene work…I encourage Chloe to continue sharing the joy that she seems to perform with at all times.” Safe to say, I’m still weird, and I could still stand to slow down.
How long have you been performing/writing?
Welllllllll my mom was a performer at the Second City in Chicago, and while she was performing on the main stage, she was also pregnant with me. So, is it safe to say, since the womb? Just kidding, but I have been writing and performing since I was a little kid. I didn’t get into comedy specifically until high school, but I have been on stage ever since I was little. In preschool I made my own stage out of blocks every day and I would bully all the other little kids into watching me perform during choice time. Suckers.
Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?
Oh god. This is a horrible wonderful question. Where to start? Gilda Radner, Martin Short, Steven Martin? Or Tina or Amy or Mindy or Mya or Kristen? Or Jake Johnson or Lamorne Morris, or Tim Baltz because he’s super cute and talented and my friend Lizzie and I had a crush on him in college and would go to shows at the iO religiously to see his teams. I’d love to sit down with Rachel Dratch, or John Lithgow. Stephen Karam, or Sir David Hare? I’d give my left leg to write with or to have known E.E. Cummings or Lucille Ball….ok, I’ll stop there. You probably only wanted me to say like one or two people…
Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?
Oh god, I love to impersonate Jimmy Stewart. Is that weird? I’m oddly good at it. I would love to write for literally anyone who wants me to write for them. Are you hiring?
What makes you laugh the hardest?
Farting. I’m serious. I know that is blue and bathroom humor is frowned upon, but I LOVE farts. Farts, farting, jokes about farts, I just farted, you just farted, laughing until I fart, laughing because someone farted, laughing because that someone who farted was probably me. Hangover farting, farting and walking away. Yeah, farts. 100% of the time anything to do with farts will make me laugh.
Describe the soundtrack to your life!
Yikes, this is tough. A little bit of everything from the Eagles and the Grateful Dead to Tim McGraw and anything country, to Mary Chapin Carpenter and Carole King, to James Taylor and bluegrass and folk, love Grizzly Bear. Anything but screamo. I’m a runner, and frequently run with the November Project, but when I’m not with them, I stick to top 40s. BIG fan of Spotify release radar. They get me.
What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?
Usually their name. (Haha is that a boring answer?) Then I repeat their name in my head at least six times right after because I am terrible with remembering names and someone once told me that if you are bad with names you are just lazy. So, I try not to be lazy.
Where can we find you on a Saturday night?
Ideally? In a cuddle pile with an entire litter of puppies. Realistically (but also ideally)? On my couch with Indian takeout, my boyfriend Jimmy, and whatever topically relevant show everyone is binging at the time.
Actor, director, and Queen of Illinois, KRISTINA GROSSPIETSCH, joins us to talk about her time spent in France, why Freeze Tag sucks, and authenticity on stage. Growing up as a theater-obsessed child and ultimately landing in good old NYC, Kristina shares the story of how she got here and muses on improv, comedy, and interpersonal communication. See Kristina perform each week at Megawatt with Bodywork and listen to her talk with Louis right now!
Louis launches into this episode asking Kristina about her time spent teaching English in rural France. She tells of making up her teaching methods on the fly to see what stuck with her elementary school students. Kristina fondly recalls the ample idle time she enjoyed while living there and wonders if we really need everything New York has to offer, or if we’re better off with simply a good bar, a good friend, and a job to satisfy us?
Although raised outside of Chicago, Kristina did not take her first improv class until 2012 after landing back in NYC following her French sojourn. Growing up, it was all theater, baby! Kristina talks about her heavy involvement in the local musical theater scene around Chicago and then hits us with a HUGE takedown of the classic improv game Freeze Tag. (It’s warranted, folks!) She also admits to being an overachiever and how that has hampered her ability recognize exactly what she’ll be best at in art and life. Plus, Louis and Kristina attempt to answer the hard-hitting question: Can you avoid messing up your kids?
In the back half of the episode, we find out what convinced Kristina to ultimately give improv a try and she tells us about the experience of diving into a new artform. Louis taps into Kristina’s love of authenticity on stage and asks, given her Megawatt teams’ penchant for the theatrical, what has it been like to attempt authenticity within those heightened atmospheres? They also explore the observation that people with anxiety seem drawn to improv and Kristina and Louis have a major communication breakthrough of their own! To close out the episode, Louis spins a beautiful metaphor and Kristina talks about the Magnet Theater’s Very Own 10-Minute Play Festival, which she is producing, coming to you this March! (Submissions are open now!)
Warm-blooded baby of sex, WILL JACOBS, drops by to talk about his foray into playwrighting, being malleable on stage, and how to provide balance on a team. A comedy quadruple-threat, Will can be seen performing on Magnet shows like Musical Megawatt, Megawatt, and The Friday Night Sh*ow; in schools all over the city with the Story Pirates; on the internet with Cake I.D.; and oh yeah, he’s also a playwright. There’s a lot packed into this one, so let’s just dive in!
Will begins the episode talking with Louis about Telegraph, a play he wrote while attending the Washington University in St. Louis. He discusses the undertaking of staging something so daunting as a first-time playwright. Louis and Will talk about college and Will describes what it’s been like to find permission to indulge in his interests. Find out where Will’s ideas come from and if their origin is different when improvising versus writing! He and Louis discuss the hurdle of playing with people who really impress you and the challenge of being malleable not only while acting but in life.
Will relays some great advice for how to behave when you’re being judgemental of a scene! They discuss “wherewithal” as it relates to improv and wonder if it is the opposite of being in your head? Louis points out one of Will’s greatest abilities and diving into the technique, Will offers tips on how to point out an unusual thing in a way that matters and can sustain scenes. They both agree on an improv rule: Don’t be Ironic Comment Guy! Finally, these two gentlemen talk about providing balance to a team and why Spock was so great on Star Trek. Finally, we hear about how Will went from, “I could never do that” when watching improv to performing it almost every night of the week!
Ariana Grande’s resident Floridian, DEDE TABAK, joins host Louis Kornfeld to talk about being from Miami, her college improv experience, and how to surprise yourself on stage. That’s just a sample of what this episode has to offer, though. You’ll also get to hear about celebrities, how to handle disgusting scenes on stage, how Dede got her start in the arts, and why strange scene partners are awesome. More too, but you get the idea! Huzzah!
This episode begins with a rare and lengthy cold open and continues in earnest on the subject of celebrity encounters. “How tall is Jemaine Clement?” you may wonder. Well, Dede Tabak has the answer! Louis asks Dede about her comedy roots and what she was into as a child. Dede grew up in Miami, Florida watching In Living Color, presumably because she didn’t live in the part of Miami where people were partying or going to the beach, or maybe it was because she was a child! Louis and Dede exchange methods on running away from home, something they would both occasionally attempt in their youth and Dede shares the story of her parents meeting at NYU and moving from New York to Miami and, how now, Dede works at NYU where it all began. They talk about the burden of asking friends and family to come see your improv shows and how to perform “gross” things on stage, or when to just avoid them.
Backing up, Louis asks Dede what brought her to improv in the first place, and we discover that she began life as a theatrical kid and attended a University of Miami theater camp growing up. She then talks about her college improv days at Fairfield University, where she had a very positive experience under the guidance of Heather Parady, complete with lessons like cut the bullshit, be truthful, and to occasionally burn some sage. Dede and Louis explore what it means to “be truthful” in a scene and how to step out with nothing in mind. Find out how Dede most loves to play and hear her talk about how she (successfully) surprises herself on a regular basis. They also discuss regret in improv, what Dede likes to get from her scene partners, watching improv after-the-fact, and cherishing the strange classmates and scene partners you’ll have along the way. Dede says “vagina” in this episode more than anyone ever has on the show! Plus, A Serious Scene Opposite A Jar Of Pickles!
- Ariana Grande
- David Wain
- Dede Tabak
- Fairfield University
- Heather Parady
- improv technique
- Jemaine Clement
- Louis Kornfeld
- magnet theater
- magnet theater podcast
- magnet training center
- Michael Ian Black
- Michael Showalter
- new york
- new york city
- Wet Hot American Summer
- What We Do In The Shadows
The Lady Sketch Lab is back! All WOMEN* are encouraged to attend.
*women, trans, cis and gender non-conforming/queer.
Here’s how it’ll work:
We’ll be meeting on Saturdays 12-3pm at the Magnet Training Center (22 West 32nd Street, 10th floor) for six weeks starting January 28th. We will be breaking up into 3 different groups. You’ll bring in a mix of new and rewritten sketches each week (1 or 2). We’ll give each other feedback for rewrites. A selection of the generated sketches will be put into 3 different sketch shows each 30 minutes each. Each show will go up twice. The shows will be on March 13th, 20th, & 27th at 9 pm.
For the first meeting all we ask is that you bring in:
1. An example of a sketch that you saw on TV or stage and why you love it.
2. An example of something that happened in your day/week/month/life that you thought was really funny. Anything.
3. That supportive spirit.
THAT’S IT! You don’t even have to write anything just yet. Give it a try.
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED:
But I’ve never written a sketch or taken a sketch class.
That’s totally fine. We still want you.
But I really can’t write. Can I just perform?
You can get involved as a performer only. Come to the meeting anyway. You might find yourself accidentally writing something amazing.
But I can’t perform/memorize lines.
You can just write then.
I write better with a partner. I can’t do this on my own.
You and your writing partner can present co-written material at meetings. Alternatively, if you realize you really like working with someone at the meetings, you can go off and write together.
I can’t make all the meetings.
If you want to be in the final show or have your sketch considered, you must attend at least 4 of the 6 sessions.
How much does it cost?
Do I have to pre-register?
Nope. Just show up!
But I’m still uncertain.
Follow your fear. Remember how hard improv used to seem before you actually tried it?
See you there,
Amanda Xeller & Megan Gray
We’re looking for eager improvisers (prerequisite: completion of Level 1) to participate in warm-ups and exercises run by the students in Armando’s coaching class. All the details are below—but keep in mind that space is limited. Hope to see you there!
When to be available:
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at (212) 244-2400.
Youthful cast member, KIM BROWN, joins us to talk about training at multiple theaters, Gilmore Girls, the post-election Megawatt experience, and much much more. Hear about her Megawatt team YOUTHS as well as what it’s like to put on a show with The Cast. She dishes about everything from hot celebrity gossip t0 her indie team Free Kittens, so you can rest assured that this episode explores the full breadth of humanity. Listen up!
Welcome to 2017! The Magnet Theater Podcast is back for another year of interviews and, this week, we have Kim Brown on the mic. Kim and Louis begin this episode discussing her writing gig at JustJared.com, a website dedicated to celebrity editorials and hot hot goss. As he often does, Louis asks our guest how she got herself into acting and comedy. Kim’s origin story eventually lands her at UCB and with her beloved indie team, Free Kittens. We hear all about that, plus, she and Louis share some hot takes on which days of the week are best for taking classes!
After several years at UCB, and following a short break from improv, Kim began classes again at Magnet and had an amazing experience going through a second program. She details what it’s like to come back to take improv classes at another theater and why it was such a joy. Kim joined The Cast just after completing Team Performance Workshop and speaks here about how everyone on the team brings their own expertise to the show each week. Speaking of expertise, Louis and Kim get to talking about Gilmore Girls! As a Gilmore Girls expert on The Cast, Kim has much to say and Louis, who is only about three seasons in, also weighs in. This dive into the lore of Stars Hollow raises the topic of recreating something you really love and prompts a discussion on The Cast’s weekly process of paying tribute to a particular genre or theme.
If you’ve ever wondered, “Will Kim Brown ever take a musical improv class?” we have the answer! We find out what scares Kim about musical improv and her former love, musical theater. Kim talks to Louis about performing at Megawatt the night after the 2016 election and they wax poetic about comedy’s ability to help us during dark times. Louis asks about Kim’s Megawatt team YOUTHS and they have a rousing discussion about reframing the Harold to make it more fun and how gaining a bit of confidence can make you so much better improv. The episode concludes with a round of Getting To Know Each Other and a once-in-a-lifetime epilogue from Louis Kornfeld. Check it out!
MAGNET THEATER’S VERY OWN 10-MINUTE PLAY FESTIVAL
If “write more” was your New Year’s Resolution — you’re in luck! We are looking for five original comedic plays to produce for our 10-Minute Play Festival, and submissions are now OPEN! Instructions and submission guidelines below.
Are you a sketch writer looking to try something new? A playwright looking for more exposure? A random internet user who stumbled across this page? Anyone and everyone is encouraged to submit. Please send us your best 10-minute play (seriously, no more than 10 minutes) and stay tuned for auditions at the end of February, as well as Magnet Theater’s Very Own 10-Minute Play Festival on March 19th and 26th!
HOW TO SUBMIT
il.com with the subject line, “10-Minute Submission: <YOUR NAME>”.
Please include the following information in the body of the email (and keep answers short!): Name; What comedy theater you are associated with (if any); Whether you have an sketch or playwriting experience (it’s fine if the answer is no!); Why you wanted to be a part of Magnet Theater’s Very Own 10-Minute Play Festival.
Attach your play to the email as a PDF. This is important. We won’t read any other format.
Only one submission per person. Send us your best work!
The plays really do need to be under 10 minutes. That means no more than 11 pages, not including the cover page. We will not read past the 11th page.
We are looking for NEW plays! Please don’t send anything that has already been produced.
All submissions must be in by February 19th, 10:00 pm EST. Submissions will not be accepted or considered after this time.
Notifications of selection will go out a few days after submissions close.
All authors agree to permit the Magnet Theater to produce their submitted play if the theater should wish to do so. Authors retain copyright and full ownership of their plays.
Diversity applicants strongly encouraged to submit!
Don’t know what 10-Minute Play Festival is? Check out our last blog post for more info.
Friendship Club founder and genius-level baby, ELEANOR LEWIS, joins host Louis Kornfeld to discuss the best improv exercises, how modern comedies fall short, and why mixers are so wonderful. There’s oodles of improv talk in this one and, by golly, that’s probably why you’re here. Plus, they do some two-person monologue hotspot and Eleanor performs A Very Serious Scene Opposite A Bottle Of [Redacted] Water.
This episode begins with a rarely heard cold open as Eleanor and Louis discuss hot spot, one of the very first warm-ups most improvisors encounter. They debate whether or not it’s a good exercise for a class, or even for a team, to use. They talk about ego in improv, both its destructive and creative tendencies, and Louis offers the theory that the ego of the character and the comedy of the scene are intertwined. He then asks which improv exercises Eleanor really loves. They get into talking movies, where modern comedies fail us, and the greatest comedic strengths of film versus improv. Plus, they ask the question on everyone’s mind: Is Branson Reese the ideal improvisor?
They also partake in a rousing rendition of Getting To Know Each Other in which many great topics pop up. Louis shares his ULTIMATE BELIEF and Eleanor discloses her FAVORITE IMPROV THING! I mean, these are huge. The episode wraps up as Eleanor and Louis discuss shock-value comedy and hosting the Thursday Magnet Mixers, which you should all attend! Finally, Eleanor performs A Very Serious Scene Opposite A Bottle Of Nestle Pure Water even though Nestle is a horrible company and we don’t endorse them. Superman sucks too!
The Magnet Theater is excited to announce that we are now accepting applications for the 2017 Spring/Summer Season of MAGNET SKETCH TEAMS, which will run from March 6th – July 24th, 2017! UPDATE: Applications are due by Monday, January 30th, at 5pm!
Please read the following application instructions and sketch team participant expectations very carefully. Got questions? Come to the 2017 Spring/Summer Sketch Team info session Tuesday, January 10th, at 6pm at the TC.
GENERAL SKETCH SHOW EXPECTATIONS
Each team will create one 20-25 minute sketch show every three to four weeks.
All sketch team shows will be on Monday nights at 7:30pm! Two teams will perform in each show.
All sketch team shows must contain new, original material written specifically for Magnet Sketch Night that has never been previously performed.
Each show will contain the best material created for the team as selected by the director – there is no guarantee that every writer will get a sketch in each show or that every actor will be featured in each show. Funny wins. Them’s the breaks.
All sketches will be performed by the team’s ensemble cast of sketch actors. If a particular sketch requires it, the team may use outside casting (writers, other actors) at the director’s discretion.
GENERAL SKETCH TEAM EXPECTATIONS
Sketch team members are expected to attend all required meetings and shows and arrive fully prepared. Sketch is time intensive – make sure you can commit 100% and make sketch a priority before applying.
Sketch team members must be available 1:30-4:30pm the Sunday before their show for a mandatory tech rehearsal at the theater.
Sketch team members may not schedule conflicting appointments (work, rehearsals, shows, etc) during scheduled techs, shows, rehearsals, or meetings.
Sketch teams must rehearse with a Magnet approved director. Each individual sketch team member is responsible for paying their director a flat rate of $12/week; team due collection is left to the discretion of the director and team (as it would be for an improv team or practice group).
Sketch team members are expected to promote their shows at the theater.
For the 2017 Spring/Summer Sketch Season, you must apply as a writer, performer, or a writer/performer. Expectations, prerequisites, and application instructions for each role are below!
Writers must attend one 3 hour writing meeting per week, all performance rehearsals of their sketches, and all tech rehearsals.
Writers must constantly generate new material and are required to bring in a minimum of one new sketch per week, even during show week.
Writers are expected to be respectful and gracious collaborators in writing room. Writers should give and receive feedback to and from their teammates in an open and constructive manner.
Writers will be required to rewrite material and meet deadlines as requested by their director.
Completion of (or current enrollment in) Magnet Sketch Writing Level 2 or previous participation on a Magnet Sketch team (as any role).
- Equivalent sketch writing experience somewhere else with a contactable reference (email address).
WRITER APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:
Send the following materials to sketchdirector@magnettheater.
- A cover letter detailing relevant sketch experience inside and outside the Magnet community.
- If your comedy experience is mostly outside of the Magnet Theater, you must provide the email address for a reference.
- A single PDF of a sketch writing sample. Your sample should contain at least two sketches and may not exceed 10 pages.
Performers must be available for a regularly scheduled 2-3 hour performance rehearsal the week leading up to the show (ex: Sketch Team Fart Police has a performance rehearsal every Tuesday before a show, 7-10pm)
Performers must be available for techs, table reads, and any additional rehearsals as required by the director.
Performers must learn all show material in a timely manner.
Performers may collaborate with writers outside of rehearsals to help create characters and sketches, but performers should not be writing material on their own for shows.
Performers must perform sketches as they are written – ad libbing is good in a pinch, but be prepared and don’t put yourself in positions where you must resort to improvisation. Be polished and professional in all shows.
Completion of or current enrollment in Level 6 team performance workshop, participation in a past or current Megawatt team, or previous participation in a Magnet Sketch Team (as any role).
- If your comedy experience is mostly outside of the Magnet Theater, you must provide the email address for a reference.
PERFORMER APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:
Send the following materials to sketchdirector@magnettheater.
“2017 SPRING/SUMMER MAGNET SKETCH TEAM APPLICATION// PERFORMER // <YOUR NAME>”
A cover letter detailing relevant performance experience inside and outside the Magnet community.
A PDF of your acting resume
A SINGLE link to a 3-5 minute sample of your work as a performer. This can be a reel, a recording of a stage sketch, a video sketch, a monologue directed at a webcam, anything you feel showcases you as a comedic performer. Youtube or Vimeo preferred. The link can be public, private, or unlisted – just be sure to send passwords if necessary and you may only send one link and the link itself may be no longer than 5 minutes.
You will be informed by Monday, January 30th, if you have been selected to audition in person.
In-person auditions will be held in the evening on Friday, February 3rd and in the afternoon on Saturday, February 4th at the Magnet Training Center. Unfortunately, if you are not available for the above callback dates, you cannot be considered as a performer for the 2017 Spring/Summer Sketch Season.
For the in-person audition, you will perform two contrasting sketches that will be assigned to you and another applicant a couple days prior to the audition. You must be completely off-book and you may rehearse before hand with your scene partner, at your discretion. You will also be asked to cold read sketches in the room.
WRITER/ PERFORMER EXPECTATIONS
Writer/performers must meet all writer expectations AND performer expectations.
Writer/performers are expected to write for other performers as well as for themselves. There is no guarantee that a writer/performer will perform in all of their own work.
Writer/performers must meet all writer AND performer prerequisites or previous participation on a Magnet Sketch team (as any role).
WRITER/PERFORMER APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS
Send the following materials to sketchdirector@magnettheater.
“2017 SPRING/SUMMER MAGNET SKETCH TEAM APPLICATION// WRITER/PERFORMER // <YOUR NAME>”
All materials detailed in writer application instructions.
All materials detailed in performer application instructions.
Also, please indicate if you are willing to be considered as a writer or actor ONLY if you are not selected for a writer/performer position. Be completely honest – your preferences will not be held against you!
You will be informed by Monday, January 30th, if you have been selected to audition in person. See performer application instructions above for more info about the audition.
Failure to follow application instructions will keep you from being considered for sketch team. Double check your application!