Posts Tagged ‘truth’
Founding member of legendary UCB ensembles The Swarm and The Stepfathers, MICHAEL DELANEY, sits down with host Louis Kornfeld to talk truth in improv, how time has affected his approach to comedy, and his reverence for the Harold. Not only has Delaney been doing improv in NYC since before the arrival of the UCB, but he’s long been considered one of the greatest minds in both improv and sketch that this great city has to offer. Listen in to hear Louis interview his former teacher and to find out what gets under Delaney’s skin.
Louis took Delaney’s Level 3 class thirteen years ago and he still has his notes from it. Beyond that nostalgia trip, Louis and Delaney quickly get into a discussion on speaking to the truth of a situation. In exploring this concept they address the practice of “calling out” your scene partner and how it can be done appropriately. They talk about being more flexible and less rigid when approaching the Harold. For the Harold as a whole, and for artists in general, both agree that variety is good and healthy. Delaney’s most trusted advice? Making the active choice is king. Louis is on a “purposeful” kick right now and he wants to know what Delaney thinks of that notion. Don’t you?
Hear Delaney talk about his own aging within the world of comedy and how he thinks comedy has aged along with him. He believes that having kids has made him a less funny improviser, which is something Louis can’t yet relate to. As someone who has stayed in the improv game for so long, Louis wants to know what’s kept Delaney driven this whole time? Where does his ambition lie? Delaney talks about what he thinks the best comedy work is and how his taste has changed over time. He also speaks frankly about why he’s failed so badly professionally. It seems to have a lot to do with doing what keeps him happy. These guys claim that, as professional improvisers, they are living better than kings of the middle ages!
Louis tells us what he admired about Delaney when taking his class 13 years ago and gets him to talk about his reverence for Harold. They debate how audience participation has developed further since Harold was introduced and how it’s different than what’s experienced with short form. At around this point, I stopped taking notes for a few minutes because the things Delaney was saying were so interesting.
They talk about getting stuck on facts over truth and ask the question, “Does every truth need a justification?” Louis claims that many justifications are simply apologies and Delaney unloads some BS he’s really tired of. He also gets into the difference between starting with a premise versus living in the discovery phase of the scene. Penultimately, they try to crack open the difference in the game of the scene between how Louis understands it and Delaney might interpret it. And finally, Delaney lets us know when to let the subconscious fly in the Harold.
As a bit of a post-script, Louis asks Delaney about about The Swarm and The Stepfathers and what makes for a truly outstanding ensemble! Get in there, folks!
Everyone’s favorite vegan, CHRISTINA DABNEY, stops by the podcast to talk about telling the truth, homeschool education, her sketch team Stockton, and of course, yoga. Plus, Louis spends some time criticizing modern learning and, wouldn’t you know it, Christina gives a shout out to her mom and dad. It’s a thought-provoking episode that you’re just going to love.
Christina and Louis begin this episode talking about people opening up to one another in both the context of improv and in everyday life. Both have found, in different ways, that it’s easier for them to be truthful when they feel it will help others – Louis perhaps to illustrate a point to a class; Christina to make people feel more comfortable in social settings. Outside of those helpful moments though, they acknowledge being oddly closed off at times, which gets them talking about anxiety as a human condition.
They get more into improv as Christina posits that the particular things a character cares about will allow it to relate to other characters. Louis asks Christina if she thinks relationships change over time and then probes into her homeschool education (which somehow includes traveling clowns) and the virtues of such a learning experience. Louis guesses that today’s education system, at best, prepares one to tolerate boredom at one’s future boring job.
Though she feared she’d be terrible at improv, because it was all about being funny, Christina shares that her supportive teachers convinced her to continue and she eventually fell in love with it. Hear the story of how her first taste of improv coincided with her first yoga experience and what she loves about them both. Louis asks her, “Why are so many people turned on by doing something that has no future whatsoever?” Christina claims we enjoy pushing ourselves just to know we can do it. Louis also asks, “Is yoga just stretching?”
Finally, they touch on the practice of taking a step back from something you love so that you can return to it refreshed and we hear about Christina’s sketch team, Stockton.
All of that, and! We find out the answer to the age old question, “Who does Louis hate in his yoga class?”
“Round Trip” 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 Armando Diaz is directing “Round Trip.” We conducted an interview with Armando via email to talk about the show.
What is Round Trip?
The Round Trip is an original form that tells the story of a cast of characters through a series of mono-scenes. The show begins with the suggestion of a location for which the first mono-scene will take place. In that location we meet the characters in the story and discover what the story is about. After the first mono-scene ends the cast improvises a second mono-scene in a different location featuring all the same characters. And finally we see the characters back in the first location for a final mono-scene and this is where all the storylines resolve. In short, the Round Trip is like an improvised one-act play.
Why did you choose to direct it?
Megan told me I had to direct something for the Director Series show. I had no choice in the matter.
What makes a great scene?
The truth! As much as it is good to know the mechanics of improv at the end of the day what makes us laugh is when improvisers find truth in their work. You can be technically perfect in a scene but if it doesn’t find the truth it just won’t be that funny.
I hope it becomes more courageous and less, “edgy”.
The last performance of Round Trip takes place on Thursday, February 28th at 10pm. For more information, CLICK HERE!