Posts Tagged ‘diversity’

Monday August 21, 2017, 1:31pm - by Magnet Theater

Well folks, Remix is back for Vol. 2!

What is Remix?

Remix is the Magnet Theater’s diversity sketch lab. For seven weeks participants will meet with Magnet Alumni and learn about sketch writing! We start with the basics of what makes a good sketch and take you through the process of writing, getting notes, editing, and performing! All participants will be eligible to have their sketch considered for the show at the end of the the lab, and all participants will have a chance to perform in the show!

Want to see some sketches that made it into last year’s show? Look here: Remix on YouTube

Who is this for?

Remix’s aim is to lift voices of people from marginalized groups, and celebrate diversity of all types – including (but not limited to): race, age, gender identity, orientation, ability, and more!

But I Didn’t Do Remix Vol. 1…

Perfect! There’s no prior experience needed. People who participated last year are welcome to participate again, but we’ll be covering a lot of the same ground.

But I’ve Never Done Sketch Before…

It’s never too late to start! Remix is for people of all experience levels in sketch and comedy writing. Even if you’ve never done sketch comedy or if you’re on a team at another theater, Remix is for you! All experience levels welcome.

OK… But What’s the Catch?

There’s a tiny (less than $10) fee to pay for the show recording and our amazing tech.

To qualify for show participation, we require that you miss no more than 2 meetings and miss no more than 1 show.

But that’s it! Any sketches written in the lab are yours to do with what you please and the seven weeks of classes are absolutely free!

Whoa, that’s pretty sweet. How can I stay up to date on the info?

Our main form of communication will be through our google group: Click here. We will also post everything possible on Facebook (click here), as well.

When does this party start!?

Remix Vol. 2 will be kicking off Saturday, September 23rd @ 12pm.
We’ll be meeting Saturdays from 12 – 3pm in the Magnet Theater Training Center, located at 22 West 32nd St.

And the shows?

Shows will be November 6th, 13th, and 20th at the Magnet Theater (main stage)!

We look forward to seeing all of you at the kickoff meeting 9/23!

Best!
The Remix Team

Tuesday August 15, 2017, 1:40pm - by Promo Team

Alexis Lambright is a writer, storyteller, and cast member of Magnet ensembles The Wrath and The Cast. Alexis also hosts The Griot Show, in which she brings together a range of black performers and storytellers together around a specific theme! In anticipation of this Friday’s edition of The Griot Show, we spoke with Alexis about storytelling, “edutaining,” and pooped pants.

What makes a compelling story?
For me, the thing that makes a story compelling are the details. This is in no way profound, but I’m drawn to stories with a lot of details. Someone could be telling me about the time they pooped their pants in public, and I wanna know which city they were in, the surroundings, the time of day, the temperature, what they wore, what they ate earlier that day, and of course why they pooped their pants in the first place. All of those details allow me to see it happening (that’s not to say that I am obsessed with envisioning someone pooping their pants, I was just using that as an example). Anyway, I’ve heard some very detailed stories that made me feel like I was actually there.

How does your background as an improviser inform your style as a storyteller?
I think my improv background has allowed me to be able to recall stories pretty quickly. I’ve done shows were I had to come up with a story from an audience suggestion, which means going through my mental Rolodex of related stories. In the case of The Griot Show, I might have a story prepared, but maybe something from one of the performer’s stories sparks an idea that leads to a better story!

Your show features a variety of performers from different experiences and performance styles. Aside from improvisers and comedians, what other people have performed at the Griot Show?
Over the past three years, while I started out trying to keep the format to a traditional storytelling show, I’ve found that the show is really great when the performers tell a story through other mediums. I’ve had a video artist on who showed a piece that he directed, in which Harriet Tubman and other slaves were doing interpretive dance to Britney Spears’ “I’m A Slave 4 U”. There have been poets who have shared stories through their work, a few performers have incorporated music into their pieces, and I’ve even projected illustrations from a book I wrote at the tender age of six about slavery. Yes, 6 year-old me wrote a book about slavery. One of my absolute favorite guests on the show was Mr. Dabney Montgomery, who served the U.S. Army Air Corps as one of the Tuskegee Airmen. When I tell you it was an honor, privilege, and just an absolute DREAM COME TRUE having him bless my little ol’ show, I am dead serious! He was phenomenal!

What inspired you to produce this show?
I was approached by Beth Newell (former Magnet Sketch Program head) about creating a show that would bring some diversity to the Magnet stage. I brainstormed some ideas and finally decided on a storytelling show for Black History Month. The first two times went so well, that people came up to me and said “have you ever thought about having the show more than just once a year?” The next show was on Juneteenth for its historical significance to African Americans, and eventually I did the show every other month. I’d like to make it a monthly show, but I need help either producing or hosting it.

You’ve been hosting the Griot Show for a while now. How has the show changed over time since you first started hosting it?
As I mentioned before, it’s been a little over three years since the show debuted. In the beginning, it didn’t have a specific theme- I just wanted to get more black people performing at the Magnet. Now, I will try to come up with a theme for the show, like “Juneteenth Edition”, “Pride Month+Loving Day Edition”, etc. Also, because I love it when a show is “edutaining” (educational and entertaining), I try to do black history or theme-related trivia questions with the audience. There are prizes, too!

Check out The Griot Show this Friday, August 18th at 7pm!

Wednesday June 28, 2017, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

hot air baloons (small 2)

Announcing the 2017 Magnet Diversity Scholarship Program

The Magnet is pleased to announce that applications are now open for the 2017 Magnet Diversity Scholarships. The Magnet Diversity Scholarship Program was established in 2016 to provide access to improv classes to those excited and motivated students for whom money is a barrier, and to add new and diverse voices to the Magnet’s vibrant and open community.

Those selected will receive full program scholarships for Magnet’s Improv program, covering Levels One through Level Four. Contingent upon acceptance, Level 5 and Team Performance Workshop will also be included. Due to the limited number of full scholarships and the expected number of applicants, applications will be competitive. Applicants who were not awarded a scholarship last year are welcome to re-apply.

The Magnet Diversity Scholarship Program is aimed at increasing our diversity of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, and age. Students of all experience levels are encouraged to apply. The scholarships are open to those who have never studied at Magnet, as well as to those who have partially completed the program. Up to $30,000 worth of scholarships will be awarded at the conclusion of the selection process.

Applications are due July 31, by midnight, and can be filled out here. The application includes general information and short essay questions. Selected students will be notified by Monday, August 14.

There will be an Open House at the Magnet Theater on Saturday, July 8 from 12 – 3 pm. Prospective applicants are encouraged to attend to meet with current Magnet performers and Diversity Scholars. There will also be an informal Diversity Jam for interested people to improvise on stage.

Please email diversityscholars@magnettheater.com or Rick@magnettheater.com for any questions.

Click here to apply for the Scholarship.

Wednesday May 31, 2017, 12:43pm - by Magnet Theater
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Hot 97 DJ turned improviser, CIPHA SOUNDS, sits down with our host Louis Kornfeld to tackle a variety of subjects in the improv world including diversity in improv, trying out for Harold teams, and how their improvising skills translate to daily life. Cipha gives a lesson on what white people love and tells Louis how he has used these secrets to perfect the ideal improv show. Cipha also plugs his two new shows coming out and explains how they will aid him in his mission: spreading the word about improv comedy.

We begin our episode with Louis asking Cipha about a rumor he’d heard: Did Cipha once skip a DJing gig while on tour with Jay-Z and Beyonce to do an improv show? It turns out that the rumors are true and Cipha admits that when Christina Gausas asked him to sit in on a “Maravilla” show, he just couldn’t say no! Cipha talks about being the host of the Hot 97 morning show for years – the most popular time slot – and how that job gave him a lot of responsibility. That responsibility added stress and finally, an associate at Hot 97 told him to get check out improv as it might help to loosen him up and relax. He went to see Harold night at UCB, signed up for a class soon after, and continued watching shows constantly. Though Cipha felt out of place at first and simply marveled in the initial magic of watching improv, he soon started to figure out strategies to conquer it. After seeing Connor Ratliff kick someone’s head off of a roof he decided, “Okay. This is what I do now”.

Unfortunately, in his 101 class, Cipha did not feel like he was as involved as he could be. One person that helped him get his footing was UCB veteran Chris Gethard, who saw Cipha tweet that he was taking classes and has since offered him advice many times over. He even let Cipha sit in on a practice session with a team he was coaching, something Cipha describes as “getting a free show but with notes.” Tracking his development at UCB up until the present, Louis asks Cipha about his UCB East improv show “Take It Personal,” which he briefly describes as, “ASSSSCAT for hip-hop.” The show involves Cipha bringing on guests from the hip-hop world to tell stories that serve as inspiration for the show’s improv.

How did “Take It Personal” come to be? Cipha went from failing to make a Harold team to running a Friday night show that’s lasted four years now. Cipha tells Louis about his first time not getting onto a Harold team, talking about how he cried in a restaurant when he read the names of the people who got on, his name absent from the list. Since then, he’s built a show that combines his two loves – hip-hop and improv – and he’s done it by appealing to the traditional audiences of both arts. How? One secret that Cipha lets us in on: he knows what white people love. You’ll have to listen for Cipha’s complete list, but he knew that for his first “Take It Personal,” he wanted to jam-pack the show and its promotions with as many things as he could: a martial artist, someone reading RZA lyrics, the actor who played Marlo on The Wire, and of course his guest, N.O.R.E.

This attempt at bringing together hip-hop and improv audiences leads Louis to ask Cipha about diversity in the improv world. They discuss how people from different backgrounds may understand certain references and how to bridge the gaps between improvisers’ backgrounds. Cipha talks about how he got his comedy start doing stand up in the “urban scene” and how he’s always hated how people try to split it down the middle – “urban” shows vs “regular” shows. Cipha also explains why it’s so important to spread the word about improv to a variety of people just so they come see it with their own eyes. It’s harder to get people to try it for themselves without them knowing what it is.

Talking more about improv technique and theory, Louis explains getting advice from Armando Diaz about playing “game” and both Louis and Cipha discuss their styles and strategies in improv. Louis shares about how he will most often go for the emotional part of a scene and Cipha responds by explaining why he likes to play support characters. They also talk about being a good listener, “half-ideas,” and using physicality to get into character. Louis recollects some wise words of advice on character and notes that you don’t want to play so close to yourself that you’re unable to see what is funny.

Cipha admits that improv has helped him battle a lifelong proclivity towards shyness and says that thanks to improv, he is not afraid to go anywhere now or talk to anyone. This revelation surprises Louis, who would think that as a radio DJ, Cipha wouldn’t have issues with shyness, but Cipha describes how being a DJ or even a stand up can be incredibly isolating and doesn’t necessarily help get you out of your shell the way working on a team does.

Louis and Cipha delve into the world of stand up and how the crowd differs from improv audiences. They talk about how it’s easier to notice that one person in the crowd who’s not enjoying the show and Louis brings up a certain improv show he did where a Russian couple was breaking up in the front row during throughout his set. He had no idea until after!

To cap things off, Cipha plugs his two shows coming out: “Laff Mobb’s Laff Tracks” – a stand up comedy-based show for Tru – TV and “Hip-Hop Improv with Cipha Sounds” an improv show that will be released through Tidal. He hypes both by adding that his end goal is to spread the word about improv to the entire world.

Monday September 19, 2016, 8:40am - by Magnet Theater

blog_diversity-and-inclusion

The Magnet Theater is pleased to announce — for the first time ever — The Diversity & Inclusion Sketch Lab! All those with voices that are underrepresented in comedy may attend (race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, and age).

Here’s how it’ll work:

We’ll be meeting on Saturdays 12-3pm at the Magnet Training Center (22 West 32nd Street, 10th floor) for six weeks starting October 1st.

You’ll bring in a mix of new and rewritten sketches each week (1 or 2). We’ll give each other feedback for rewrites. The best sketches will be put into the final shows (November 14th, 21st, 28th at 9pm).

For the first meeting all we ask is that you bring is:

1. An example of a sketch that you saw on TV or stage and why you love it.
2. An example of something that happened in your day/week/month/life that you thought was really funny. Anything.

THAT’S IT! You don’t even have to write anything just yet. Give it a try.

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED:

But I’ve never written sketch or taken a sketch class.

That’s totally fine. We still want you.

But I really can’t write. Can I just perform?
You can get involved as a performer only. Come to the meeting anyway. You might find yourself accidentally writing something amazing.

But I can’t perform/memorize lines.
You can just write then.

I write better with a partner. I can’t do this on my own.
You and your writing partner can present co-written material at meetings. Alternatively, if you realize you really like working with someone at the meetings, you can go off and write together.

I can’t make all the meetings.
If you want to be in the final show or have your sketch considered, you must attend at least 4 of the 6 sessions.

How much does it cost?
It’s FREE.

Do I have to pre-register?
Nope. Just show up!

But I’m still uncertain.
Follow your fear. Remember how hard improv used to seem before you actually tried it?

More questions?
Email: diversitysketchlab@gmail.com

See you there,
Lauren Ashley Smith, Rich Rosario, John Ross, James Kuo, Natalie Silverman, Charlie Nicholson, Jordan RandolphDiversity Sketch Lab collage

Thursday April 28, 2016, 8:17am - by Magnet Theater

hot air baloons (small 2)

Announcing the Magnet Diversity Scholarship Program

The Magnet Theater is excited to announce the Magnet Diversity Scholarship Program for 2016. The aim of the scholarship program is to provide access to improv classes to excited and motivated students for whom money is a barrier, and to add new and diverse voices to the Magnet’s vibrant and open community.

Applications are now open for the Magnet Diversity Scholarships–those selected will receive full program scholarships through Magnet’s Improv program. The scholarships will cover Levels One through Level Four, and contingent upon acceptance, Level 5 and Team Performance.

In this first round of the program for 2016, the Magnet will be awarding up to $30,000 worth of scholarships to those selected through the application process.

We are excited to be able to offer full program scholarships, which we feel will provide the best experience to those selected. Due to the limited number of full scholarships available and the expected number of applicants, it is likely that applications will be competitive.

The Magnet Diversity Scholarship Program is aimed at increasing our diversity of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, and age. Students of all experience levels are encouraged to apply, and the scholarships are open to both those who have never studied at Magnet, and to those who have partially completed the program.

Applications are now open and can be filled out here. The application includes general information, and some short essay questions. Applications are due May 18th by midnight, and we hope to notify selected students by Wednesday, June 1st.

There will be a delightful Q & A / informal brunch on Sunday, May 15th from 11am to 2pm, open to all.

For any questions, please email diversityscholars@magnettheater.com or Rick@magnettheater.com

Click here to apply.

Wednesday November 11, 2015, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater
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Alexis Lambright Podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Magnet All-Star performer, ALEXIS LAMBRIGHT, chats with us about The Wrath’s 4-year anniversary, representation in improv, and her various hilarious scripted shows. You can see Alexis all around the Magnet performing with The Wrath on Megawatt, with The Cast on Saturday nights, as host of The Griot Show, as a member of The Stank, and with Rebecca Robles as the soul-singing duo Cocoa Dreamz. This week, she sits down with host Louis Kornfeld to talk about all manner of things related to comedy and we’re excited to have her as a guest!

With The Wrath’s 4-year anniversary having just passed, Louis inquires as to what makes The Wrath work so well – why is this team so amazing? Alexis talks about the team’s dynamics and the importance of having her ideas justified and embraced right away. Louis says that he often references Alexis as an example of someone who plays with their own style yet is never hindered by it. Pretty cool, right?

Stemming from their discussion on The Wrath, Louis and Alexis talk about the pressure she feels to represent not only woman, but also people of color, when she’s performing. This leads into a discussion on diversity in improv, Rita Chin’s recent essay, and some of the things Alexis came to expect as she began improv classes. She stresses the importance of having all voices be heard (and accepted) and answers the question, “Do you work on your own stuff or do you keep trying to fit in [to the theater system]?”

Alexis began taking class at Magnet in late 2008 and she tells us about what brought her to improv in the first place. Her first formal improv training was a weekend-long Second City workshop which she took after being inspired by watching SNL. Louis talks about new students’ ability to convert fear into power and asks Alexis how The Wrath has managed to keep the romance alive after 4 years. Hear about how they’ve spiced it up recently and what Alexis has to say about their foray into musical improv!

Going further back, Louis talks to Alexis about her family, moving around as a child, and where she feels most at home. He also asks about her friendship and artistic relationship with Rebecca Robles. As Alexis puts it – they’re like the Odd Couple. Although they maybe have different energies, they have very similar work styles. She talks about their act Cocoa Dreamz, which is a Motown-era singing duo, and how that show allows her to channel her mother and aunts. On an unrelated note, Louis talks about finding inspiration in sad people and taking what you don’t like about someone and choosing to make it what you love about them.

Finally, they wrap up the episode discussing Alexis’ one-woman-show, The Alexis Lambright Tell-A-Thon: Combating Adult Virginity, which has enjoyed runs at Magnet, NY Fringe, and Hollywood Fringe. They talk about the origins of the show and the writing of it, as well as the attention it received as a result of an NY Post article, which wasn’t without its compromises. Louis opines that coping with scary things allows you to move forward and become who you are. We think he’s probably right.

Enjoy this episode. It’s great listening.

Wednesday October 28, 2015, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater
Play

Roman Rimer Podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Comedian and activist, ROMAN RIMER, visits us from San Francisco to talk about using comedy to punch up, learning from personal confrontation, and the development of our cities. This is an episode unlike any we’ve had thus far, dealing with matters of social tolerance, capitalism, and human nature. It’s a thought-provoking episode and we’re thrilled to have Roman as a guest!

A one-time Magnet student and performer, Roman now lives in the Bay Area. Louis is quick to point out that, perhaps more than anyone he knows, Roman truly straddles the line between comedy and activism. As he puts it, he is always looking to use comedy to “punch upward.” Amongst the causes he champions, Roman is particularly interested in combating police brutality, prison abolition, and cannabis legalization. Roman talks a bit about growing up in the Bay Area and Chicago and how, as a child of the 1980’s he feels as though the media and authority figures of that time were very much interested in scaring people into conforming, especially children. Louis leads them into talking about the “us vs them” mentality which is so prevalent in our society.

Roman studied Theater and Psychology in college and eventually made his way to NYC, where he was immediately confronted with the challenge of being an artist in a capitalistic society where funding was difficult to come by. We hear a bit about how Roman got his start in the arts and Louis deconstructs our “top dog” nature. He then asks Roman about traveling all around the country doing his solo shows, which have always been heavily autobiographical. Given that Roman shares such personal details through his shows, Louis wonders what it’s like to be so intimate with strangers in strange places. Has he encountered a lot of people he doesn’t see eye-to-eye with? Roman describes a performance where he was confronted by an audience member and how both men have grown from the experience. Louis wonders, are we as a species getting closer as time goes on, or is the gulf widening? Louis likens improv training to Professor X educating the X-Men as a force for good, which is a beautiful thing to think about.

Where is Roman’s art these days? He tells us about his podcast called The Weekly Review on Mutiny Radio out of San Francisco, which deals with current events and activism. Speaking of – what’s going on in San Francisco right now? It sounds horrible, right? At least, that’s Louis’ take. They discuss the development of San Francisco and the changes that have been occurring in NYC as well. Finally, Louis asks Roman how the improv scene can address the issue of diversity? What resource does Roman want you to check out? Find out all that and more.

One this is extraordinarily clear from this episode, Roman Rimer is making a dedicated effort to change the world around him and it’s damn impressive.