Posts Tagged ‘improvisation’

Wednesday February 14, 2018, 8:00am - by Promo Team

What’s more fun than your average Character Bash? Why, the Character Bash: Duo Show, of course! Double the comedians, double the characters, double the fun! Elena Skopetos and Ari Miller talk shop with us below. Reserve tickets for the show, Friday, February 16 at 7:00!

What’s special about improvising from true stories?

The audience gets to know the people who are creating the show they’re watching. I think it’s more intimate. There’s less pressure to create a perfect comedy product when you can step out of a scene at any given moment and talk directly to the audience to let them know what you think about what’s going on.

What happens in Character Bash? Is the Duo Show any different?

Character Bash is a showcase of some of the best writers and performers in NYC doing solo character monologues for the first time FOR YOU! But backstage the magic really happens as the show starts and the cast gathers to compare crock pot recipes. MmmMMmm baby, daddy loves crock pot. Each month we have a theme and this month we’re doing something pretty special: we’re performing a DUO SHOW! We’ve asked some amazing comedians to ask ANOTHER amazing comedian to perform with them. Let’s do that math real quick: one cast of amazing comedians + the cast of amazing comedians they’ve asked to join = DOUBLE the crock pot recipes! HELL YEAH!

What does performing as a character duo allow you to do that performing alone doesn’t?

Duos can be a lot of fun! Mostly because while we’re all lone wolf comedians, sometimes we like to pretend to be big happy dogs and big happy dogs like performing with friends! But big happy dogs also do not have the patience of lone hunter wolves and obviously we’re very patient vis a vis our interest crock pots, so at the end of the day, wolves we be! It’s also nice to have someone to play off of on stage and brainstorm with in the writers room. My writers room smells like a nice spicy curry.

How do you go about creating a character that is unique and memorable?

Creating a memorable character is legitimately hard, unlike the ease and simplicity of slow cookers. I tend to think you don’t aim to create a memorable character, you aim to have a fun bit. If the bit is fun enough than people will remember and if not, who cares? Either way Daddy’s getting some sweet, slow stewed beets and potatoes after his monologue. Ding dong! Who’s at the door? Why it’s a hot bowl of crock, my dear brother!

If you could form a duo with any comedian/character out there, who would it be?

If we could form a duo with any comedian it would imply that both Elena and Ari Have fused into a single entity. A super comedian. And while our power is to be sooooo funny, our weakness is our grotesque, hideous and mangled physique. So A) we’d have to do a lot of voice over. And B) I don’t know, Catdog? The point is we love characsgstetrtre bshhh. Sorry that sounded weird. My mouth was full of SOME HOT HOT CROCK POT BABYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

Elena – What’s the stupidest thing about Ari?

The stupidest thing Ari Ever did was that one time he dropped out of Harvard to buy a bird.

Team up with Character Bash Duo Show on Friday, February 16 at 7:00 at Magnet!

Tuesday February 13, 2018, 10:00am - by Promo Team

Has your life been noticeably un-legendary lately? Are you craving an adventure beyond your wildest dreams? Then The Saga is the show for you–and we chatted with the cast to let you in on the influences behind the epic show!

What can people look forward to seeing if they come to watch The Saga?

Randy McKay: Three or more stories in which the through line that connects them deals with an element of the extraordinary and the effect that has not only on an individual and the world in the “moment” but also in generations past and future. Also entertaining object work.

Parmita Samanta: It’s like sitting in your grandma’s kitchen and having them tell a story and then a million family members interrupt it to correct something or add their perspective.

What influences does the show draw on?

Nolan Constantino: From The Epic of Gilgamesh to Jaden Smith’s tweets and everything in between.

Josh Cohen: You’re sitting on a fallen tree trunk. The breeze blows gently. The light shimmers through the woods. A faint rustling as a black bear appears. She moves towards you, timid but curious, almost bashful. You look into her eyes and you see: for all the horrors and confusions in the world, there can be tranquility, there can be peace, the kind of peace you can only call spiritual, that gives life vibrance and meaning. You offer the black bear cashews from your hand. She takes them, gently. Life finds a way, you think. You remember young Jeff Goldblum, and you smile. The Saga draws on this, and stuff from books.

What makes folklore, mythology and history good source material for improv?

Alessandra Calderín: It’s the very essence of our being. The original art form. The ways of old. The tales our ancestors told to make sense of the world. The foremost justifications. It’s the core of us. The archetypal fibers of humanity. Isn’t that what we’re trying to get to at the core of improv? To lose ourself so deeply and allow our unconscious to pull forth and built with one another a story that’s woven from the very thread of the collective? Besides, you know, making jokes and stuff.

Exactly how epic is the show?

Parker Phinney: Picture an open field. Now picture it covered in snow. No wait, the snow is just very very tiny diamonds. Now there’s a giant tree-person taller than Mount Everest marching towards the field, humming the latest Kanye West thing. No, there’s more than one. Hundreds. Quick! Turn around. It’s your whole family. Now they’re fading into nothing before your eyes. You reach out a hand. You have a hoof. You’re a centaur. Millions of fairies swoop in like locusts, shrieking the latest Kanye West thing. The camera zooms out–field, continent, planet, solar system, galaxy. The Saga is at least twice as epic as that.

If you were a character from any sci-fi/fantasy/mythological story, who would you be?

Amanda Corday: As far as fantastical characters go, I’m big on Frodo Baggins. I like to bring his essence with me onto the stage for Saga, and all improv really.

Jana Heaton: My second screen name was “Gollumslover4evrm” and I feel it very much is still the case. #4evrIs4evr.

 


Experience the extraordinary at The Saga, Monday February 19 at 7:30!

Tuesday February 6, 2018, 10:00am - by Promo Team

Do you love sitcoms? Or do you love improv? Are you tired of trying to choose between the two greatest loves of your life? Good news–the Moonlight Director’s Series is here to help! We asked director Johnathan Ross to enlighten us on the show.

This show combines improvisers with people on-book with sitcom scripts. Can you explain how the show works for those who have never seen this style of improv before?

The show is a variation on the Gravid Water form. Gravid Water takes teams and pairs fully improvising players with actors/players on a script. Sometimes the actors are off book (doing the scripts completely from memory) and other times they are on book (holding the script in hand). Script readers have some control over how they deliver a line or when they can pause or break up a line, but the improvisor never knows what’s going to be said next (unless they’ve memorized the script too, but where’s the fun in that?) Our scripts will all be from sitcoms from the 50s to the 90s.

Where did the name of the show come from?

The name comes from the music video for the Jay-Z song Moonlight, which was inspired by the closing events of the 2017 Academy Awards.

How did you come up with the idea to blend sitcoms and improv?

Like the music video of the same name I wanted to take the idea of taking well known sitcoms and showing people of color in similar roles. However because of the nature of the form we get to be even more creative within these sitcom worlds as only one person is bound to a script.

Who’s in the show and did you choose performers based on their level of sitcom fandom?

Oh we have a wonderful cast. Our full roster:

  • Laneé Shawntel Sanders
  • Essence Stewart
  • Alexis Lambright
  • Saidah Dunston
  • Erica Johnson
  • Dahlia Ramsay
  • Rama Orleans-Lindsay
  • Randy McKay
  • Michael Stevens
  • Nat Trammell

And everyone was selected solely on their sitcom fandom and nothing else haha. Here are a few of our favorites: Parks & Rec, Arrested Development, Party Down, Living Single, Family Matter, Fresh Prince, Fraiser, and Community.

What are some of the sitcom scripts you may be using?

You’ll be able to find everything from Leave it to Beaver and I Love Lucy to Friends and Seinfeld! Maybe some Growing Pains, Who’s the Boss, Three’s Company, even the Facts of Life! We’re spanning the decades from the 50s to the 90s. One thing I will add is that the audience will have a hand in picking the scripts for each show!

Will there be a laugh track?

Maybe some “woo” tracks, but this show will be filmed in front of a live studio audience ;).

 


Be on- or off-book for Moonlight, February 1, 8, 15, & 21 at 10:00 at Magnet!

Thursday November 9, 2017, 10:20am - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.

What’s your name?

Lanee’ Sanders

Which team or show are you on?

Nitro Girls

Where are you from?

Quantico, VA (where they pretend to shoot the hit ABC thriller Quantico)

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I dabbled in improv in high school and sketch comedy in college. When I moved to New York a few years ago, I figured I could probably trick strangers into being my friends by attending weekly improv and sketch comedy classes with them.

How long have you been performing/writing?

Performing in any capacity? Since middle school. Writing? I don’t know. Aren’t we always writing? I wrote a novella called “The Bear Figurine” in the 5th grade, and even though it’s essentially a rip off of “The Indian in the Cupboard”, that’s probably when I first felt like a writer.

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

Mindy Kaling and Martin McDonagh. What a diverse team we’d be!

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

I think I’d do a really good job writing for Niecy Nash. If you know her please pass this self-endorsement along.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

When a scene takes a dark, hilarious turn out of nowhere.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Oh man. It would be upbeat…something you’d dance to. Like Jock Jams meats Jamiroquai meets the song “Fergalicious.” Pitchfork would give it a really bad review.

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

Why are you here?

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Probably eating chocolate chips in my bed, half-watching bad TV while trying to figure out how to get pictures of my butt off The Cloud.

What’s the best Wi-Fi name you have ever seen?

Unfortunately my memory is not great, so I’m going to have to say my current one, which is Zamunda.

Tuesday November 7, 2017, 2:37pm - by Magnet Theater

This month, Magnet is happy to welcome back Space Station Delta for the November Director Series. We sit down with director Sulaiman Beg to talk about the show and how he gets his hair to look so good. We don’t really talk about the last part. Come see this show, from one of you favorite Metal Boys, playing each Thursday in November at 10 pm. TimeOut NY thinks you should!

For those who have not seen Space Station Delta, could you tell us a little bit about the show?

The show is a completely improvised live performance of a classic episode from the long-running and very fictitious sci-fi TV series Space Station Delta.

I’d always wanted to do a serialized improv show where performers are challenged to play the same main characters over a run like on any sitcom or other TV show. Expanding not only their personal world, but the world they exist in.

I’d been watching a lot of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and what I loved about it was that no matter where these characters were (a store, a wedding, a bank, a football game) they always consistently acted like the garbage people they are. And I thought, why not do an improv show like this? And I was naturally attracted to the sci-fi genre because it’s the best genre for an improvisor – you can literally do and justify anything. Someone dies? Well, we’ll just pull the Time Reversal lever? Want to start a montage? Hit “play” on the Montage machine.

You’ve done this show a few times now – what do you love about it so much?

I mean, the cast is so, so great. The guest stars who I try to keep in the dark until the day of the show just fall right into place. There have been a few shows where I forgot I was watching an improvised show and felt like I was legit watching a live performance of a scripted work.

When Elana Fishbein guest starred during the first run, afterwards she told me she couldn’t believe how amazing all the characters were. And that was so great to hear. I mean, it was a compliment more for the cast and less for me, which was hurtful, and she and I never talk anymore even though we are neighbors and friends who are adults. Does that answer your question?

Do you have any specific memories of past shows that you’d like to share?

Oh man, so many. But since I typed it a few minutes ago, the Time Reversal lever comes to mind. Basically, a bunch of characters ended up dying during the course of the show and since the Time Reversal lever was set-up earlier in the show, one character pulled it and it re-started the episode. The last scene was almost a line-by-line version of the scene that began the show. That was very fun to watch.

And just watching how every guest star approaches the show is such a joy.

What can we expect from this series of shows that may be different from how you ran it in the past?

There are some new cast members and there’ll be new guest stars all month, so it’ll be a brand new experience and I’m so excited to see what they all pull off. Please “bold” every time I use the word “new” in the previous sentence. Really need it to stand out.

How did the show’s catchphrase “This really hurts!” come to be?

You know, in the two runs we’ve had, I don’t think anyone has actually used it…

Thursday November 2, 2017, 10:49am - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.

What’s your name?

Samara Breger

Which team or show are you on?

Kittyhawk

Where are you from?

NYC

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I was very sad and living in Boston, which I hated, so I decided to try out improv and aerial silks. The improv stuck. I didn’t get into musical improv until I got back to New York, and that’s when it all really clicked for me. Thanks, Magnet Theater!

How long have you been performing/writing?

Kind of always–I did musicals as a kid and then focused on classical voice and opera from high school until my early twenties, when it wore me out. Musical improv really reminded me how much I love performing. Thanks again, Magnet Theater!

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

Judy Blume.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

I would love to write zesty little one-liners for RuPaul for when the queens come down the runway. I like to impersonate the devil or animals doing people jobs. I used to celebrate my college’s official annual “Julia Child Day” by terrorizing my friends with my Julia Child impression. STEAK DIANE!

What makes you laugh the hardest?

When my buddies on stage surprise themselves. That look of shock commingled with delight and a tiny bit of terror gets me right in my sweet spot. Also, I’m always tickled when people can’t get through telling a joke without laughing. They’re laughing, I’m laughing, we’re all having a very good time!

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Short answer: Liza Minnelli. Long answer: LIIIIIIIZAAAAA MINNELLLIIIIIII! WOOO!

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

Are you Liza Minnelli? Oh, you’re not? Get the fuck out of here.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Standing in my kitchen, debating whether or not I want to go to a geographically inconvenient party.

If life were a video game what would some of the cheat codes be?

If you pretend to be confident for a while, it can lead to actual confidence.

Monday October 2, 2017, 11:57am - by Megan Gray

Magnet Theater is pleased to announce the new teams and additions for the Fall 2017 season of Musical Megawatt, debuting this Tuesday, October 3rd, 7pm and Megawatt, debuting this Wednesday, October 4th, 7pm.  We hope to see you there.

Names with a caret^ are new to Megawatt. Names with an asterisk* are returning to Megawatt.

***MUSICAL MEGAWATT***

NEW TEAM ELVIS
Michael Bird^
Amy Charowsky*
Marie Denny^
Natasha Gleichmann*
Collin Gossel^
Veronica Lowry^
Adam Payne

 

***MEGAWATT***

NEW TEAM GOUDA
Alex Braslavsky
Jarreau Carrillo
Princess Gibbs^
Patrick Grizzard
Amanda Rothman^
Keith Rubin*
Ryan Shams^
Danielle Wessler^

NEW TEAM ASIAGO
Justin Anderson
Bianca Casusol
Chris De La Cruz^
Ali Fisher*
Ellen Matthews^
Abby Russell
Emily Shapiro
Justin Torres*

NEW TEAM CHEDDAR
Matt Abedi^
Kim Brown
Alan Fessenden*
Molly Kiernan
Michael Kroll
Devin O’Neill*
Xavier Padin^
Dede Tabak

Some of our existing teams have received new members. Names in italics are joining a preexisting team.

more

Thursday September 14, 2017, 4:40pm - by Magnet Theater

Magnet TC Logo v3

We’re looking for eager improvisers (prerequisite: completion of Level 1) to participate in warm-ups and exercises run by the students in Armando Diaz’s coaching class. All the details are below—but keep in mind that space is limited.  Hope to see you there!

When to be available: Saturdays, Sept. 23rd through Oct. 28th from 4-6 pm (no class 9/30). Volunteers must be able to attend all sessions!

How to sign up: Simply send an email to schooldirector@magnettheater.com with the subject line: “COACHING CLASS VOLUNTEER SEPT. 2017” Please include your full name and verify that you can attend all sessions.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at (212) 244-2400.

Thursday September 14, 2017, 10:00am - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.

Who the heck are ya?

The Cast is a team of women at the Magnet that improvises plays, showing what is happening both onstage and also offstage during the performance. Sometimes we do special genres. Sometimes those special genres are insane.

How long have you all been performing together?

The Cast started as a Director Series in May of 2015, and was added as an official weekend show in the fall of that same year.

Who would be your ideal guest to perform with?

The list is long! To name a few: Tami Sagher, Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph, Lauren Lapkus, Carol Burnett, Kate Winslet, Lucille Ball’s ghost, and of course Benedict Cumberbatch.

What was your second choice for a name of the show?

I had to search my email for it, but I think the working title was “Onstage/Backstage.” I also found a brainstorming email chain with Chrissie Gruebel in which we alternatively threw out these** additional gems: Behind the Scenes, Cause a Scene, Make a Scene, Line!, On in Five, Off and On, Between Scenes, Players, The Show Must Go On, Curtain Up, Everyone’s Period Just Started, The Spotlight, 15 Minutes, The Original Queens of Drama, The Thing, and Staged. **All but one of these is real.

What’s the best part about performing at Magnet Theater?

The Magnet is home to so many incredible, creative, interesting and supportive artists. We truly feel that this is a community in which we can take risks and be supported not only for the final product but for the risk-taking itself. That’s been essential for this show to thrive.

If there was a biopic about your team, what would it be titled?

We Like Each Other…Too Much

Describe the soundtrack to said biopic!

We’re pretty into Kesha’s “Woman” these days. Also, does she not spell it K$sha anymore? Why not? Also, we know this isn’t a soundtrack, it’s just a song. But it’s our biopic so we can do what we want. Get off our back.

What makes your group laugh the most?

Scheduling.

If you could have a mascot for your shows, who or what would it be?

A girl’s aged 9-12 soccer team just after they’ve had their oranges and have all that natural sugar racing through their veins.

When can we see you perform?

Every Saturday night at 10:30pm at the Magnet! And occasionally at improv festivals around the country and in Canada! It’s not that we’re opposed to going outside of North America, we just haven’t been invited anywhere else yet, hint hint hint.

Anything else you all want to add?

We do occasional bake sales to raise money for causes we care about. We also do a [somewhat] monthly jam for any and all female-identifying improvisers; they’re super fun, and we’d love to see you there! Also, coming to The Cast isn’t just about laughing (which you’ll do! we promise!) it’s also about being part of a brand new never-to-be-seen-again full theatrical production, put on by people who like each other too much and are all on their periods at the same time. Beat that.

 

Wednesday September 13, 2017, 7:00am - by evan barden

Matt Koff is a comedian, recovering improviser, and Emmy-award winning writer for his work on The Daily Show. As one of the first Magnet students, Matt brings his comedy back to the theater for a stand-up comedy series. “Matt Koff & Friend” features a half hour of comedy from Koff himself, as well as another half hour from a comedian of his choice.

How long have you been performing stand-up comedy?

For about 7 years now. I had been doing sketch and improv for about 5 years prior to that. I’m old. Older than the Tennessee Valley herself, some might say.

How would you compare the NYC stand-up scene from when you first started to now?

When I started there seemed to be a lot of crazy people at open mics. I do fewer mics now but the ones I go to don’t seem to have people who’ve just wandered in from Times Square talking about how they’d like to rape the Statue of Liberty or whatever.
As far as I can tell it hasn’t really changed. I’ve changed a little bit. In the beginning I was one of the scared newbies at mics who just hoped my 4 minutes of jokes worked. Now I’m less scared and not a newbie. I’m old. So old. Although trying out a new joke will always make me nervous. One day I hope to stop caring, so I can finally start talking about my true passion: sexually assaulting large statues.

Can you tell us about a time that you “bombed” on stage?

Yes. I can tell you about several times. But the worst I’ve ever bombed is when I was at The Comedy Store in LA. It was my first and so far only time performing there, I went up at like 1:30am and there was just silence. I swear I could hear the ghost of David Letterman weeping.

When did you start taking classes at Magnet Theater? Did you learn anything from the classes that you still use in your work today?

I started taking classes here when it first opened. Before that I’d been studying with Armando when he taught classes independently. That’s right, PRE-Magnet. Which makes me a pretty cool guy.
One thing I learned that I still use today, mainly in writing, is to patiently explore an idea and don’t be afraid of letting it form organically. Armando also stressed the importance of being a philosopher and constantly asking why things are the way they are in every day life, which is hugely important in every form of comedy, especially stand-up.

What does stand-up comedy bring to you that improv does not?

With stand-up, you don’t have to wait for anyone. You can go and do 3 sets a night and develop as fast as you want to develop. It also gives you an opportunity to hone and workshop an act again and again which I find really fulfilling.
But every so often I will do improv with the other Daily Show writers, and I find that fun in a completely different way, because obviously there’s no real plan and you don’t know what’s going to happen next.
In hindsight, I think I have more fun doing improv. But I didn’t start doing comedy to have “fun.” I did it to suffer. And for the free drink tickets. 😉

Who would be your ideal guest to perform the 2nd half hour on Matt Koff & Friend?

Adam Wade. And I was lucky enough to get him!

How do you like performing stand-up in an improv theater setting?

I like it a lot. The audiences are really smart, and there are very few drunk bachelorette parties in the audience who interrupt my set and laugh at the wrong parts of the joke. Quiet, ladies! “So I just had arm surgery” is not a punchline!

Come see Matt Koff & Friend Monday September 18th at 9pm with special guest Adam Wade! 

 

12345...10...»»