I teach improvisation because there is more than one way to draw an elephant.
I began improvising 18 years ago in New York City. It changed my life. I completed programs at UCB and Magnet theater working with incredible instructors. Over the last decade long form improv has exploded – when an art form experiences a boom like this it should grow and evolve and change in how it’s performed and how it’s taught. Instead the art form and pedagogy has been institutionalized making something that should be organic more procedural. This is an understood reaction – as schools / enrollment booms, formalizing curriculum is a given, but those curriculums become more and more systematized and become more and more perfunctory, which leads to an art form that is predictable and expected, more technician than musician.
Institutions make a name for themselves by branding their approach to improv. The more they cling to their methods and insulate themselves from other approaches – the more they become a monastery, and with that comes idolization, devotion, worship. Their word is the word – an elephant is drawn from trunk to tail. That type of education moves North and South over its clay students creating a cylindrical performer capable of moving North and south. A proper improv education should be spherical – so that its graduates can move in any direction, at any moment and play with anyone.
I aim to give my students a proper improv education. I’ve travelled around the world and worked with some truly inspirational performers who have shared their methods with me, and it has totally changed me, my play and my teachings for the better. I want us to push improv in new directions and who knows maybe be a part of discovering long form cubism, and embrace techniques from around the world to ensure that we are exposed to multiple points of view creating spheroidal performers, who dare to draw an elephant different.