Posts Tagged ‘UCB’
Long-time Magnet performer and all-around swell guy, Sean Taylor, joins host Louis Kornfeld in the studio for an interview. A military brat growing up, Sean has called New York City home longer than anywhere else and, since moving to NYC right out of college in 1999, Sean has watched the improv boom happen first-hand. He’s gone from diehard ASSSSCAT fan to a Harold Night player to an instructor at Magnet. He and Louis discuss the underground nature of those earlier days and how the UCB seemed to bring a sense of positivity, respect, and empathy to the NYC comedy scene. Sean tells us how community plays such an important part in his life, whether it’s comedy, eating pizza, playing softball, or meeting his wife. Louis asks Sean about teaching the weekly Drop-In Class and his upcoming elective course Here, Now, discussing the difference between working with a steady group of students versus one that changes week to week and his love of discovery in two person scenes. As a teacher, he applies the debugging skills from his work as a computer programmer to classes in an effort to guide people away from fear-based choices to joy-based ones. These two vets also discuss the early days of Magnet, the difference between agreement and acceptance, and the privilege of being continually inspired by other improvisers.
Enjoy Episode #33 on iTunes or below via SoundCloud.
On this episode of the podcast, we welcome UCBT performer, instructor, and improv nerd Brandon Gardner into the studio to talk about college improv, his class focused on creating improvised plays, and various elements of compelling improv. Our host, Louis Kornfeld, begins the hour getting into Brandon’s vast experiences working with college improv teams and bookends the 60ish minutes by taking it all back to those formative years. In the meantime, Brandon describes why he became interested in bringing elements of theater to the improv stage and how he challenges actors to improvise and improvisers to act. For all our fellow improv nerds out there, you’ll love as Louis and Brandon parse through topics such as displaying emotion versus emoting authentically; playing to the top of your intelligence versus playing to the top of your integrity; story versus plot; and dramatic comedy versus comedic drama. These two veteran teachers trade exercises and generally advise on what is essential to playing satisfying improv scenes. Check it out!
Enjoy Episode #32 on iTunes or below via SoundCloud.
Sketch writer, actor, and improviser Jesse Acini sits down with host Louis Kornfeld to talk about getting his start in comedy, the growth of the Magnet community, and having more fun along the way. An active participant in the NYC improv and sketch scene since the early 2000s, Jesse talks about The Second City in NYC, discusses studying with Gary Austin, and otherwise litters this episode with tidbits about the olden days. Not to mention, he provides some solid advice for aspiring sketch writers! Jesse and Louis have known each other for eight years and this is the longest conversation they’ve ever had — you don’t want to miss it!
Enjoy Episode #25 on iTunes or below via SoundCloud.
I’m very happy to share this recording from the archive of Craig Cackowski interviewed live onstage at Magnet Theater by the well-prepared Louis Kornfeld. Craig and I were in class together with Del Close, on our first IO teams together, and when I was promoted from understudy, Second City placed me in his touring company. We did a lot of scenes from the Razowsky/Colbert/Carell and McKay/Adsit eras. He was great to tour with because he’s both reliable onstage in scenes and touring the country for long stretches in a van. Usually people are one or the other, but he was both. Onstage he’s casual but precise, and he’s got great timing both as an audience-pleasing comedian (in the good way) and as an improv partner. He rescues things, and if it can’t be rescued, he’ll go down with the ship. And it seems like he’s really enjoying himself either way. And since I’m on a roll here, I should mention he’s become one of the best, most sought after improv instructors in Los Angeles. Possibly because he’s committed to the things we learned in those classes with Del. But also because he’s sensitive to the advancements that have been made as long-form has evolved from an obscure experiment in the basement of an anonymous Chicago apartment building 24 years ago to the dominant comedy language spoken across America and beyond. And that’s thanks in no small part to Craig. So listen to this episode and see if you can hear what I hear – a genuinely good guy who cares about what he does, does it well, and has no need for false bluster. Enjoy. — Ed Herbstman PS: Craig is okay. But his little sister is like, 12 times funnier than him and at least twice as funny as me. Hi, Craig. Subscribe to the Magnet Theater Podcast via iTunes here. Enjoy Episode #11 on iTunes or below via SoundCloud.
They’re the Magnet Theater’s longest standing, longest standing teams – veterans who’ve been performing high quality improv together for almost seven years. That’s a length of time most people can’t even wrap their heads around in this ever-more present-focused world of ours.
Now they’re loading themselves up into chambers randomly (not really randomly… there’s a set schedule) for a weekly round of Russian Roulette known as The Revolver. Each week you’ll see two of these teams perform, each in their own unique and seasoned styles.
Come out and see them, every Thursday Night at 8pm.
Then talk to them afterwards. Being around so long, they have stories to tell.
“The Butterfly Effect” is the newest installment of The Director’s Series, a 5-week series of performances wherein a Director selects a cast and presents a different form. This month Megan Gray (Magnet Artistic Director, Junior Varsity) and Alan Fessenden (The Weave, Hello Laser) team up to bring you The Butterfly Effect. We sat down with them, via email, and asked them why they chose to direct this form.
MAGNET BLOG: What is The Butterfly Effect? Why are you directing it?
MEGAN: “The Butterfly Effect” is an improv long form that borrows from Close Quarters (which was developed in Chicago by Director Noah Gregoropoulos at Second City) and Tracers (which was developed by Kevin Mullaney at the UCB in NY). Based on the suggestion of a location and a time of day, the cast creates a series of scenes that are all happening at the same time. It’s almost like a combination of Monoscene Eventes.
This form requires a great attention to detail and a pretty sharp memory. I first saw it performed at a Del Close Marathon in 2004 and was blown away. The entire piece took place in a mansion with all these secret passageways. The cast remembered every piece of information and kept it really fun. Since then, it’s been a form I’ve been wanting to develop for a Director Series. I was talking to Alan Fessenden about it and he mentioned that he also wanted to work with Tracers. So we decided to direct it together.
ALAN: When I first saw Tracers at the UCB years ago, it was amazing and looked semi impossible, so I wanted to try and recreate that impossible feeling. Additionally, I was working with Matt Antonucci and a a few others in this style and I thought, we need to need to put this up, and I want to do it soon. We were having so much fun.
MAGNET BLOG: What is your favorite type of improv?
MEGAN: I like to watch improv that has a lightness to it. The performers are having fun, making interesting choices and connecting with each other. This may sound stupid, but I love to watch improv that looks improvised — not like the performers are just saying things they’ve been writing in their heads on the backline. I want to be surprised by improvisers making discoveries in the moment.
ALAN: I like it fast, I like it slow, I guess it depends on my mood. But really I like improv where people are really making discoveries in the moment, so the audience, the actor and maybe even the characters are all figuring something out together.
MAGNET BLOG: What is the future of improv?
ALAN: Structured plays with stock characters where all the dialogue is improvised, only now it will take place in a virtual reality and the actors will be able to digitally enhance the world as they create it. Probably.
The Butterfly Effect plays every Thursday in May at 9pm.
Second City Theatricals is seeking actors for ensembles on Norwegian Cruise Line ships. A ship-specific audition will be held at The Magnet Theater Training Center in New York City on Thursday, May 16th, 2013. Auditions will be completely improvised. Performers should be a graduate of a conservatory-level program (such as Peoples Improv Theater, Upright Citizens Brigade or Magnet Theater).
Interested performers should email a headshot and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org ON Tuesday, April 30th or Wednesday, May 1st. Please include “Second City Theatricals – NYC – May 16” in the subject line of your email. On May 15th, there will be a Q&A with Second City Director of Talent, Beth Kligerman, at The Magnet Training Center from 4:30-5:45. Callbacks will be held on Friday, May 17th.
Second City performers are contracted for 4 months at a time.
The Second City was founded in Chicago in 1959 as a hub for sketch and improvisational comedy, and has held a contract with Norwegian Cruise Line since 2005.