Sunday, March 06, 2016

Sitting in in a discussion on "improv" and watching a performance

Intro to concept. Generating insights 6 Feb 2016

Just what is an Improv? Short for improvisation? A performance without preparation? Spontaneous? Free for all? Unstructured?

The proponents say it is a no borders anything goes gig. It is tapping your available resources for a desired result. Where there are no performers and observers. A workshop where one need not participate but can participate.

But they say it is also a type of a performing art. That relies on words, actions, linkages, visuals primarily using games or preconditions to draw out involvement and engagement. It is neither theater, nor a musical nor a study group neither exactly a standup comedy or a play. It can be all of the above or none of the above.

There is a mandated prerequisite. It requires a certain mindset. That of being open, being game. The response it will draw out from you depends on the level of your engagement. Engagement means saying YES but following it up with an AND. It has a structure though. Engagement demands involvement. There is an introduction, middle and an end. And not lasting more than two hours.

What it is? Still to find out where Franco, Abe and Vince will lead us to. Only if you say initially YES to be there and eventually be open to get engaged. If you do, it will be fun and an eye opener on who you are and what you can be.

Watching an Open Jam 5 March 2016
Validating insights

Be not afraid of you who you are and what you can be. Flow with the group and the story with your verbal and non verbal communication. As you communicate, you expand the idea, you deepen your linkage with the group and the community, you contribute yourself and commit to a greater whole and you discover what else you can be. In safe environment and in the spirit of fun. That was Katipunan Improv this 5 March 2016.

Subscribers to the principle of Improv gathered at a garage to practice and perform their craft in a jam. Coming from several classes with different ranks they played their unique brand of games mainly interacting with one another viewed by an audience. While collective in effort, once an individual owns a spot, you sense the intensity, the passion for the craft, the wit, humor, spontaneous free association, split second thinking, acting and timing expressed in animated non-verbal body language matched with a verbal narrative to tell their story.  It can be any story from the trivial to the mundane leaning towards the outrageous.

It is amazing that most guests who are strangers to each other have become familiar with each other in a short span of time through games and a series of warm up activities. There appears to be a preset mindset of openness and a willingness to play and contribute one’s self to the session. After only several animated verbal and non verbal exercises, they have been primed to peak performance thus playing with utmost confidence, infectious fun and heightened involvement even with the more difficult gigs to the delight of both participants and active and passive observers in the hall. At 7:30 PM for the non-involved, it was a wait and see. At 8:30, we were fully engaged casually watching the expected and the unexpected.

While appearing to be casual and spontaneous, the activity is paced by a host or a facilitator who initiates and manages the conduct of the games.
Improv breaks down boundaries and inhibitions casually. Improv develops the "I" transforms the "I" to "We" and eventually to just "You" in a light and fun way via games, gigs, gags and whatever medium that conveys expression.

Imagine the potential application of Improv as a skill competency building module where the marginalized can learn how to express themselves, the passive can shift to assert their views,the introverts try out to be extroverts and the extroverts to be bolder extroverts. Through expression, the possibilities are endless both on a personal and corporate level.
The naturally charged group. Photo courtesy of Mico Manalaysay
Quoting Franco Liwanag of Katipunan Improv partner of Abe Barreda, host of the Katipunan Improv on what it is, “. . . improv can be a way of life. It is having an attitude of mutual respect and an instinct to veer away from stagnancy. It is having the mindset for acceptance and growth. Further, it is the key to creativity and collaboration.

Thanks to Abelle Joseph Don Barreda, Franco Liwanag, Vincent Ong and the participants from QC, Makati, Ateneo and to Amotore Pizza Garage @35 Abada. Until the next time they say Yes . . . And.

Foto and inputs courtesy of Franco, Vincent and Abe, KatipunanImprov, venue courtesy of @35Abada. Group foto by Mico Manalaysay.

Coming from zero knowledge, introduced with motley of ideas, formed a concept, hypothesized, stalked a public session, enjoyed the gag, tempted to butt in, validated the concepts, concluded. Highlighted characteristics: variety, spontaneity, split second response, top of mind association, randomness, quick thinking, mental sharpness, anatomy, flexibility, diversity, hilarity, outrageousness, intense, highly charged, respect, rescue, connecting, linking, never ending group storytelling. Ended writing notes.

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