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Posts tagged David Razowsky improv

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David Razowsky has a wonderful tool that he uses to teach about energy and duration of emotions in scenes. He calls it “The Jerry Chart,” and now there’s a YouTube tutorial courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times so everyone can learn about it. Click below to view.

Oh, and happy birthday David!

We love this infographic by Bob Kodzis. If you’ve ever taken a class with David Razowksy, you’ll get it. And if you haven’t, we hope it intrigues you to do so.

There are still a couple of slots open for his Toronto workshop this Friday. Click here for details.

Image © Bob Kodzis

Photo © Kevin Thom

Photo © Kevin Thom

What if you could start over whenever you wanted? What if you could begin again? What if you could begin again again? What would you do differently if you could do it differently? When do you have the chance to do THAT?

Hm?

Well, you can each time you step on a stage, sit before a blank page, pick up your axe, sit at the bench, stand by the easel. You just have to decide that you are starting fresh. All it takes is your being aware that always your point of view can be at the “Point of New.”

What’s stopping you from starting anew?

You. Your story, your decision to think that you’re helplessly, hopelessly connected to your past actions. You know the dialogue:

“That’s what always happens.”

“That’s just the way we are.”

“I’m the kinda person who…”

“My family’s history is…”

“I’ll never get it.”

Or the classic:

“I don’t know.”

You do know, don’t you, that it’s your decision to state those statements, to engage in that text, to play that part? All of those sentences you decide to utter. Your choice to engage the thoughts then carry on with what you think is your destiny. We do it mindlessly.

UH-UH!

Be mindful that your words matter. Be aware that your thoughts are being thought. That your mental texts have weight. You give them weight. You give them meaning. You choose to dwell on them. Think about it. You might not say the “C” word or the “N” word. These are two of the heavy weight heavyweights. For some these words are “cringe-worthy” because we’ve given them power.

Your engaging in the sentences above are just as cringeable. Those two pieces of architecture have the same energy as the words you might use on yourself: the story that you “suck,” that “others are better at improv than you,” that others have “more experience,” are “blessed with wit,” or good looks or a better family who cares more for them than you perceived your family cared for you. These are bullshit memes that lets your ego control your artistry.

Your ego does not control you. You choose to let your ego control you. You do it by listening to it, then engaging in it. In all of the museums, in all of the theaters, in all of the galleries, in any hall or field or closet or on any wall there is no artwork that was created through the union of inspiration and ego. None. It can’t be made because that voice that you’re letting to speak drowns out the voice that you use to produce your output of you-ness.

Each time I stand at the entrance to the stage I’m aware that I’m standing in the middle of absolute nothingness, emptiness, a blank canvas. It’s the opportunity for me to be aware of non-engagement. I am not attached to my past performances, I am not aware of what I’ve done “wrong,” or what I’ve done “right.” I am just there. When I’m just standing in that void I’m present to my openness, my chance to listen to all that is happening. Not what has happened, nor what I hope will happen. It’s a sacred space, that place right where I’ll be entering the stage. My awareness to the stillness that’s there helps me to be affected by whatever stimulus I enter into on the stage, the stillness that’s there not because I put it there, but because it’s been there the whole time.

It’s the opportunity for a birth. Not a re-birth. A birth. Clean, fresh, aware, awake, alive, alert. It’s not an opportunity to run the mental newsreel, to make sure that the plan is going to go as planned when you planned it during the time that you planned it. It’s your opportunity to leave the baggage in the car, to store the stuff in the locker, to time to start anew. To keep what went on yesterday securely stored in the “history bin” you keep out of reach. Now is the best time. Now. Now. Now.

The time is always there. Always. Just like the moment is. Weird, huh?

©2013 David Razowsky

If you’d like to learn more about David’s workshops, i-Acting classes, shows, and other cool stuff, visit www.davidrazowsky.com. And if you haven’t already, subscribe to his podcast, A.D.D. Comedy with Dave Razowsky and Ian Foley. It really is the shizz.

At the risk of sounding like the old man standing on his porch shouting “Get off my lawn, you kids,” I need to kvetch.

One of the reasons many see improvisers as the 19th century public saw actors (“No Dogs or Actors Allowed!”) is that we don’t carry ourselves in a professional manner. We aren’t acting professionally nor are we treating each other professionally.

In the past month I’ve had three groups who’ve hired me to coach them cancel at the last minute. It’s unprofessional and it’s a bad precedent. I’ve lost work, time and money. I and many of the other teachers and coaches and directors that are hired spend a great deal of time preparing for these sessions, thinking about how to help individual casts find their voice, finesse their shows, further their careers, and, perhaps, make money. Yes, make money.

If you’re doing this for the art, cool, I get it. But there’s also a few shekels to be made from some of this work. The more of us who see the possibilities in that, the more the public will respond to the strong work being presented. The more we work on our craft with focused professionals the better we look. The better we look the more the public will see how great this art form can be. Should you blow off rehearsals when you’ve hired someone to come and work with you, you’re not just diluting the power of your work, you’re also continuing this idea that theatrical improvisation is merely a parlor game, or a series of easy jokes, or an evening of sloppy work delivered by shitty actors. I know that’s not who we are. I know we are able to do better.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. By the same token, you are the one that’s ultimately responsible for you being treated respectfully and honorably. If I say, “Hey, it’s okay that we scheduled a rehearsal and no one showed up,” that doesn’t serve any of us.

I allow you to treat me the way you do. Should I stand up and say, “No, we can all do better,” that doesn’t just make me stronger, it makes all of us see this work with professional eyes and hearts.

Honor me and my time. In the end that will serve us all.

Photo © Kevin Thom

When we saw this photo of Steve Carell, Scott Allman, Stephen Colbert and David Razowsky as the Fab Four, we had to ask for the story behind it. Here’s what David said…

Photo © Jennifer Girard

“[Beatles] was the scene’s name. We tried to get that thing up a number of times. Well, obviously we finally did.

Here was the conceit: It was The Beatles’ debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, and they were just returning from the set. They entered the scene to the screams of the fans, each time the door opened and one of us entered the crowd screams filled the stage. They were exhausted. They talked about how the set went, and they came up with a song idea from it. They sang it, roughly, but “Beatle-y:”

“Squiddy, squiddy, squiddy,
Love my little squiddy
Squiddy, squiddy, squiddy,
Rock-n-rollllll”

Then Paul (Steve) realized he felt weird. Like something happened that he couldn’t quite remember, couldn’t quite identify.

Then John (Stephen) realized that he felt the same way, that something happened that he was unable to pinpoint.

Then George (Scott) noticed that he was going through the same feeling of incompleteness.

Ringo (me), well I felt nothing like that.

The boys (sans Ringo) realized what it was: they were repressing a horrible memory. That memory was that Ed Sullivan had fondled each one of them before the show.

The scene went on in some such manner, and toward the end Ringo realized he was intentionally untouched. He was disappointed. “I wish Mr. Sullivan fondled me.”

It was, if nothing else, a blast to do. Steve and Stephen’s Liverpudlian dialects were wonderful. I tried one, but it sure didn’t feel right. Scott didn’t even try. It was wonderful.”

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