Performer Notes

How to Avoid Tickets

By TARA LYNN WAGNER I didn't always live in Manhattan. I used to live in upstate New York where the trees are pretty and the sky has stars and places to do improv shows are few and far between. Back then, I couldn't rely on so-called organized mass transit to get around. I actually had a car. That's right. I drove. Often at great speeds. Ah, I loved driving. I devoted a better part of my weekend to it. I loved the feel of the open road, the call of a long stretch of highway, the sound of my...

Improv Is Cheaper Than Therapy

BY TOM CARROZZA © 2 0 0 5 When I first studied Improvisation at 17 at Second City in Chicago, I didn’t foresee how much of my life would ultimately be devoted to it. I am typical of The Improv Movement in that I can order my pizzas in the style of Ionesco, but I am atypical in the sense that I went on to teach Improv, rather rigorously, for many years. The Early Years: Tom Carrozza with Laura Black on The Second City stage, Chicago 1977. This has afforded me a unique overview: I see...

A Performer Reflects

By KARL TIEDEMANN “An actor,” Edwin Booth is supposed to have said, “is a sculptor who carves in snow.” This is true, to some degree, of all live performance. But improvisation has to be the most impermanent of theatrical forms. After an improv show, one is conscious that this particular combination can never again be repeated. Never will this same group of improvisers face exactly this audience and have to deal with precisely this list of suggestions... On a bad night, you may be tempted to...

Light Lessons

LIGHT LESSONS By TARA LYNN WAGNER If you happen to be sitting in the improv theater waiting for the show to start, or perhaps counting the seconds until intermission is over and the fun can resume, why not take a moment to look around you. Specifically behind you. You might notice that in the back of the house, tucked behind the audience, is the lighting booth, and manning that lighting booth you will find an improviser. (No! Don't look now! She'll know we're talking about her.) Notice that I...

Life Lessons

LIFE LESSONS By TARA LYNN WAGNER Hello, boys and girls. In today’s lesson, I’d like to talk about bringing improv off the stages and into real life. Now, I’ve said it before: improv isn’t just fun. It’s useful, too. And the more comfortable you are with it, the better you’ll be at naturally incorporating it into some of life’s more tricky situations. I’ve talked about calling upon your finely honed improv skills when faced with a state trooper who’s just nabbed you for breaking warp speed. But...

Dress And...

Dress And... FUNCTION & FASHION By MIRIAM SIROTA A Column Exploring What the Best-Dressed Improvisers Are Wearing Mistress Miriam Ah, another season begins bringing with it fabulous new fashions for the improviser! And who could be more indicative of the spring clothing trends than the super-stylish Tom Carrozza. Decked out in blue jeans and one of his red or orange summer shirts (to add some spice to what, lately, has been a series of overcast days), Tom is equally ready to take on the...

I Was a Jam Virgin

I WAS AN IMPROV JAM VIRGIN! SHE WAS TERRIFIED OF FAILURE! BUT SHE DECIDED TO BEAT THE ODDS! ONE WOMAN’S REMARKABLE STORY! TL Wagner By TARA LYNN WAGNER Has this ever happened to you? You’re standing about, minding your own business, when suddenly someone in a headset frantically whispers, “That’s your cue!” and pushes you onto a stage in the middle of a performance of who knows what. You don’t have a costume (in fact, you’re probably in some embarrassing stage of undress), you don’t know your...
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