Getting Your Feet Wet: Do I want to jump in?
The YES! Lab offers a 2.5-hour, try-before-you-buy workshop that allows anyone to test the waters of improvisation before jumping in. We’ll introduce you to the power of YES! through a series of warm ups, games, and good old-fashioned play.
Crash Course, Part One
Working specifically with the principle of YES!, students will learn the foundation of Chicago-style improv in this fun and challenging eight-week workshop. It begins with short-form games and skill-building exercises designed to help students let go of mental conditioning that keeps them from being in this moment. The goal of Crash Course, Part One is to introduce students to group play and games that set their improv brain’s playfulness free within a group so that they may become comfortable being themselves on stage.
Crash Course, Part Two
Picking up right where Part One left off, the level of difficulty heightens slightly, as students are introduced to integral pieces that create amazing scene work. Focusing on group work, the necessity for emotional connection and motivation, the game of a scene (as well as abstract and organic group games) puts students at the perfect spot where they will perform their Experiment (student showcase) in front of a real, live audience at the end of the level!
This workshop delves into the classic Harold structure: the rule of threes, dissecting themes, linking scenes and continuing relationships.
If you've always heard about the enigmatic Harold, but have never tried it, this is the workshop for you! A fabulous history lesson in long-form improv from Matt Need, a man who learned directly from the founding father, Del Close.
Allowing Scene Work
An ensemble's job is to create scene work that doesn't seem like work. Dynamic scenes are far more enjoyable for an audience as well as for players when discoveries are made, not when players are forcing ideas or agendas to make them work. Approaching scenes through various methods of intent, this workshop will strengthen the player's ability to connect to this moment with their partner in order to allow the journey of the scene to unfold.
A large portion of improvisation is taking the audience on a journey with the improviser. Becoming adept at creating realistic objects that fill an environment as a believable character is where the magic begins. This workshop builds and strengthens improvisers' believABILITY in making an otherwise empty stage come to life through the reality of the characters they become.
Bringing a Gun to a Knife Fight: Arming Yourself for Improvisation
Improvisational comedy boils down to scenes, games and monologues. Long-form, short-form, whatever form you've chosen, the success of your performance is dependent on how you handle those three building blocks. This workshop trains you in the proper and deadly use of an arsenal of skills to create, maintain and explode scenes, games and monologues, while giving you an intimate knowledge of the Harold, the original long-form that Matt learned directly from the late Del Close. Light the fuse, then hang around and see what you've blown up.
Kerstin Caldwell's Monthly Drop-In
Kerstin will be holding a monthly drop-in workshop to help refine each individual student's approach to improv. These workshops are specifically designed to help students become aware of their own obstacles during scene work. Improvisers resist being vulnerable on stage when they are uncomfortable, but by applying lessons from Viola Spolin's Five Obstacles to a Direct Experience, they can learn to be fully engaged as they truthfully play from their own grounded emotional space. With a succession of exercises building on the previous month's work, the focus of each workshop rotates so that new members of The YES! Lab's training program may participate once they have completed Crash Course, Part Two. To ensure success, we are limiting participation to 12 improvisers, with a minimum of four.
*All workshops are eight weeks, unless otherwise noted.