Next Up

Next up: I will be featuring in the short films Dark & Stormy and Belfast Caliber 9.

4 May 2018

Improv 101 with Paul Mone

Since April, I have been involved in an introductory class delivered by Belfast Improv Theatre. It's taught by Paul Mone, who has several years experiencing teaching improv at the highest level, across many countries. This is all part of a drive I'm going through to upskill across a range of areas ahead of #PilotSeason2019.
Improv is an increasingly valued skill across a wide range of areas (particularly in the US); it compliments acting abiliities and gives actors the confidence to deal with a situation where something unexpected happens on stage, but it also has uses across a number of fields, including business and all the way down to making people more confident in day to day conversation.

This class is for beginners, to introduce practitioners to the idea of getting up on stage without a script. There was introductory games to get people into a more fluid-thinking mindset. Paul is a well-informed and reassuring tutor, who understands how difficult the idea of opening up to suggestion on stage with a group of people you've never met can be.

The crux of improv is "yes, and": ie, when someone makes a suggestion, the improviser's mindset must be to agree/accept the suggestion and build upon it. This is more difficult than it sounds, as we are often conditioned in society to quell our instinctive impulses in favour of adhering to stiff upper lip social mores.

I have actually taken an intensive improv course before in London with IO Chicago (which I was annoyed to find out I hadn't blogged about at the time - I'll have to do a recap), so I was able to pick up the terminology a lot quicker, and had a grounding that I wanted to build upon.

The class I was in is very encouraging as well, with practitioners coming in with different backgrounds in the discipline, with come people just wanting an outlet away from their daily lives, to the likes of Eoin Cleland, who wants it to inform his writing, and some just wanting to overcome stage fright.

I'll continue to move through the grades of Paul's course, and will hopefully have a solid grounding in improv that I can rely on and get increased stage time.