imprology, improvisation based training

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Improvisation workshop, London 2008

Improvisation workshop, London 2007

Improvisation workshop, London 2007

Improvisation workshop, Birmingham 2010

Improvisation workshop, Birmingham 2010


Rather than following a set script, we apply the principles of improvisation to our teaching and our classes are deeply influenced by participants. Each session is dedicated to a particular aspect of improvisation. Some part of the learning takes place in stages. To find the flow we need to be both engaged and relaxed. So we take the time to practice relaxation and engagement first. Other times learning happen in a break through. As we play or watch others play we suddenly realise something about ourselves and the way we do things. The pace at which participants acquire the necessary skills depends on each individual. The confidence to speak for an audience tend to manifest easely through repeated exposure. The capacity to keep listening no matter what is far more capricious, yet essential to a satisfying practice of improvisation.

The journey:
Awareness through relaxation, sensory awakening and the suspension of judgement;
Cooperation through common rules, suggestibility and accountability;
Flow through engagement, projection and play;
Commitment through disclosure, choices and consistency;
Composition through patterns, contrast and transformation;
Narration through serendipity, reincorporation and consequences;
Pleasure through shared courage and accomplishment.

Awareness. To improvise we have to be entirely present and available to ourselves and others. Stress, tension and over-thinking take us in the opposite direction so we must first learn to relax, and stay that way. Then our best asset will be our ears, eyes and skin as we practice valuing sensations over opinions.

Cooperation. Improvisers depend entirely on each other to succeed and even games that look competitive will have a collaborative underlying. Games' rules are designed to reduce self-consciousness and to supply common grounds. Being suggestible takes some practice but complicity is the reward and mark the beginning of a beautiful adventure in imagination land.

Flow. If projecting is a positive action, flowing is also a form of abandonment. Improvisers give themselves up to the great unknown. The gateway to flow is playfulness and physicality. Actions take us out of our heads and into the creative space. Being engaged is paramount, being creative isn't. Creativity is what happen when we look the other way.

Commitment. When most people are asked about improvisation, they terror is not to know what to do. The answer is commitment. If you are terrified, commit to your terror. Uncomfortable? Commit to the discomfort. Giggly? Giggle. Everything you think and feel is material for the moment. Improvisers have to be specific, deliberate and frugal instead of jumping from one idea to the next. The trick is to commit to your partners' offers rather than going through the trouble of coming up with your own ideas.

Composition. The beginning of a scene should be as serendipitous as the flight of pollen. If you going in with an agenda, you risk becoming deaf and blind to other players. But if you support others soon enough patterns will emerge, and composition can be obtain by offering contrast to what is there and by letting things run their course and have consequences.

Narration. Stories requires protagonists to be affected by what is happening. After establishing a few key elements serendipitously, the trick is to reincorporate those elements and to let them have an effect. A satisfying narrative will have a transformational effect on its protagonists and, hopefully, on the audience.

Pleasure. There is nothing quite like improvisation to make you feel at one with fellow players and spectators.

This syllabus is studied at beginner, beginners-improvers and advanced levels. The same progression is used for each level at an increasingly demanding pace, but the accent is always on pleasure and forgiveness.

© Remy Bertrand - Imprology 2006/2015
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