Study the Art of Improvisation
Since its founding in 2002, Un-Scripted Theater Company® has practiced a style of improv with its roots in acting, theatricality, and scientific study, both theoretical and experimental, and built on a foundation of work pioneered by Keith Johnstone. As a result, the Un-Scripted Theater Company is now home to a rich and unique school of improvisational theory and practice.
Playing with Status: The Hidden Game of Social Dynamics
March 23, 2019, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Total Class Size: 14 people
Minimum Class Size: 7 people
Status is the subtextual language of power, authority, and respect. It’s a vocabulary that colors all our interactions that we’re often not aware of. When we become fluent in status, we get to engage with it in a way that’s helpful and fun. We get better at collaborating with coworkers and friends. We communicate with both warmth and authority.
In this workshop, we’ll explore the set of physical and verbal cues improvisers use to communicate status. We’ll play a wide range of characters and observe how small physical and verbal queues can have large impact on the status hierarchy of a room. We’ll become experts at recognizing status interactions and playing with them in a grounded way. Participants will leave with pragmatic tools for recognizing status conflicts early and diffusing them gracefully.
Peter Chapman is an improviser, director, and recovering venture capitalist based out of San Francisco. When not performing, he helps individuals and teams bring a sense of playful pragmatism into their work.
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Past Classes and Workshops
Dancing For Dummies Workshop with Laura Doorneweerd (Amsterdam)
In this one-evening workshop, international instructor Laura Doornweerd will use her background as an improv and dance teacher to teach anyone at any level how to bluff your way in ballet. Or in hiphop, Bollywood, country, disco, tango and many more styles. You will learn the most important tricks and steps to make it look like you are a dancer.
Flash Freeform Intensive Workshop
Take an intense leap off the improv high dive! Freeform improvisation is the ultimate way to enhance your improv confidence -- once you've improvised with literally no rules, you can do anything! Traditional freeform improv intersperses and layers games and scenes into a seamless and continually morphing performance. Flash freeform takes place at a faster pace than other freeform, helping the actors make quick, bold choices, connect with each other and the audience, and find a level of spontaneity and playfulness that's downright exhilarating.
The First 60 Seconds
How many times have you walked onstage at the beginning of an improvised scene, grabbed that same invisible glass of space object water, sipped it pensively, and felt uninspired and...well...stuck? We all have! This one-day intensive course takes on that very topic, reigniting your scene starts with an array of strategic moves that improvisors can make in the first 60 seconds of a scene to inspire variety, excitement, and emotional engagement. Improvised scenework is most exhilarating when it’s a bold discovery, and this workshop promotes just that sort of playful venture into the unknown.
Intermediate Musical Improv Workshop
In this one-day workshop, you'll learn how to create songs that you might find in a full-length improvised musical, work on different types of improvised song structures, focus on singing from an emotional place, practice both solo and group numbers, and learn simple tricks to make the audience think that you must have written that song earlier. You'll also have time to jam, create runs of scenes, and play games. Who wouldn't want to spend their afternoon making up songs?
Stop Talking! -- Physicality in Scene Work
Are you looking to make your improv more connected and engaging? Then stop talking! The best scenes are driven by our actions and physicality much more than the words we say.
In this day-long intensive, we'll explore the non-verbal sides of improv: body language, character physicalities, space-object work, environments, and more! Whether you are an advanced or intermediate improviser, focusing on physicality will help bring your scenes to the next level.
Beginning Musical Improv Workshop
Have you ever seen an improvised musical and wondered, "How do they all know what to sing?" Have you ever wanted to know how to make up songs on the spot? This workshop will introduce you to the simple tools you need to create improvised musical theater, and it’s a great introduction to the world of musical improv games.
A great singing voice is not required. Some understanding of music and how it works is helpful, but not mandatory.
Powerful Scene Starts
How is it possible for a group of improvisors to take a simple audience suggestion and transform it into a scene, or a one-hour or even two-hour story? What healthy goals can improvisors set for themselves at the beginning of a scene? The opening moments of a scene can be a wonderful time to make simple, flexible decisions that channel an improvisor's nervous energy into a sense of power and agency. These simple decisions also sow the seeds for characters and relationships, and they foster in the improvisor a playful approach towards scene discovery rather than scene invention. This intensive class is geared toward the intermediate and performance-level improvisor who is looking for fresh strategies and perspectives for bold and delightful scene starts.
Making Things Matter: Emotions, Reactions, Interactions
Have you ever had that feeling during an improvised scene that, despite your earnest efforts to "Yes, And" and define "Who, What, Where," the scene still feels flat and directionless and the improvisation itself feels more like a mental labor than a playful joyride? It may have something to do with allowing the characters to care deeply about things. One of the beauties of the San Francisco improvisation scene is that, rather than catering to jokes onstage, improvisors here favor genuine acting through characters and relationships with powerful emotional stakes. This class will explore various strategies for accessing and encouraging emotional response, creating situations with high emotional stakes, and maneuvering the wonderful dance of character interaction and conflict. This intensive class is geared toward the intermediate- and performance-level improvisor.
San Francisco-Style Longform Improv Intensive
In "San Francisco-Style Longform," students will be immersed in Un-Scripted's unique narrative longform improvisation method, developing skills that span acting, direction, and playwriting, all in real time. Participants will learn how to:
create characters that generate strong story dynamics
serve the needs of the story through character action
endow rich and vibrant situations
build effective narratives
simultaneously manage character, plot, and narrative arc
Scenework Feedback Intensive
Are you looking to take your improv to the next level? Do you find yourself defaulting to the same characters or scenes over and over? Are you performing at your absolute best? In this workshop, Dr. Andy will diagnose your improv woes and give you a hefty dose of highly personalized feedback!
Give 'Em What They Want! -- Attention & Playfulness in Scenes
Do you want to be an improvisor who is super fun to be with onstage? Who makes scenes feel easy and is a delight to play with? The best improvisors are not always the loudest or flashiest players onstage, but rather the ones intent on making their partners' eyes light up.
In this day-long intensive, jump into the core skills of noticing everything and really playing with your scene partner. We'll start with short games and exercises and transition into applying these skills to scene work. And - of course - we'll have a lot of fun!
Improvised Musicals Performance Class
Now that you know how to improvise songs, how about taking it to the next level and learn how to turn it into a long form musical! What knowledge and skills does it take for a group of improvisors to instantaneously create legitimate full-length musicals from practically nothing? This course tackles that question.
We will be covering topics such as Finding Your Voice, Song Structure, Harmony, Solos, Duets, Group Numbers, and more! With a curriculum that focuses on understanding musical structure both within songs and entire shows, you will learn to think simultaneously as a singer, composer, lyricist, librettist, and improvisor in order to make more effective artistic choices in the moment.
Advanced Musical Improv Workshop
This course will expand the world of the improvised musical for the performer. Students will learn song structures as well as new kinds of group numbers. As always, the course will touch not only on improvisation, but singing and musical theater structure and history as well.
Whether you are an actor/improvisor trying to sharpen your skills, or a newcomer to the stage who wishes to get a first taste of improvisation, this course promises a rich and rewarding experience. Our 4-week Beginning Improvisation course offers games and exercises that strengthen listening, encourage close attentionw and mindfulness, and support you in rediscovering the thrill of risk-taking and spontaneity in a playful and safe environment.