IMPROVOLUTION > LOS ANGELES
CHARACTER-BASED IMPROV CLASSES IN L.A. WITH GROUNDLINGS ALUM HOLLY MANDEL
SCROLL DOWN FOR CLASS DESCRIPTIONS AND SCHEDULE
• IMPROV DROP-IN
• CHARACTER CLASS
• EMERGENT IMPROV
• CLAP-IN LONGFORM
• GOOD GIRLS AREN’T FUNNY: BEYOND THE GOOD GIRL
• CLOWNING & LECOQ PHYSICAL THEATER
• FROM IMPROV TO WRITING
• INTRO TO IMPROVISATION
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Classes are 3 hours. Cost: $30
Workshops vary in length and cost.
Check out their website here for helpful parking tips! Like everything in LA, parking is what it is. Give yourself an extra 5-10 minutes just so you aren’t stressing out. Or LYFT. Just don’t take one of those crazy scooter things, you’ll make me nervous.
Pretty self-explanatory. Open to anyone* with Level 1 improv training from any school. A way to work out, dust off, do reps, build new improv muscles and keep the fundamentals sharp.
Classes will use a variety of tools to help develop your improv - some more focused on character, some more on scene work foundations, some writing, some emergent work.
It’s always helpful to meet new people, experiment, go back to the basics, focus on specific areas, and/or let go in a supportive, positive, joyful environment. After all, this IS just improv comedy. DROP-INS are an integral part of any improvisers training and can support what you do in your classes, your writing, your performing and, let’s be honest, your general level of sanity and delight in life.
Class limit: 12
CHARACTER IMPROV CLASSES
The use of character in improv is a game-changer. The more an improviser lets go into the world of their character, the easier it becomes to play. The less work the improviser needs to do to be clever, “write” the scene, push plot, and freak-out in general about ‘where is this scene going???!!!’
Character-improv focuses on the WHO of the scene. It doubles-down on the personality, opinions, behaviors, and delightfully-bizarre-and-quirky worlds of our characters. These classes are designed to help you understand more clearly WHAT a character is, HOW to create and inhabit them, and then the practice and experience of improv from WITHIN them. Time will be spent each class helping you to develop new characters or deepen ones you may be struggling with.
Class limit: 12
It’s both a method as well as a performance style. Holly began developing it to teach students to pay attention to what is happening in the scene, not what's in their heads - where you write plot, invent story and come up with a lot of exposition quickly, ticking off the ‘who, what, where’ boxes - but to pay attention to what is happening BETWEEN all of the players. And within yourself. To find the deepest thread or current and learn to stay connected to that.
There are no suggestions, games, or set structure. Students must learn to trust what they feel to be "true" in order to know how to move. It's a muscle that you can learn to listen to to guide you, one you can trust and follow. It keeps you grounded, connected, and 'honest'. The goal is to relax, stop pushing, stop writing and let whatever needs to happen next EMERGE. And it does.
EMERGENT IMPROV is for improv students as well as acting students, because its benefits are invaluable and unique to both. The work enables you to be comfortable and confident in the present, connected to your instincts and emotions, and plugged into the collective -- where powerful, nuanced, and authentic co-creativity can occur. It makes your scenework - improvised or scripted - alive, engaging, and truthful. You learn to listen on many levels, simultaneously. And in the end, that's all you ever need to be doing: listening. To your instincts, your ideas, your character's wants & needs, what others are saying, what they're intending, what's happening in the space...all of it. It tells you everything you need to know.
“I have found, personally, there is nothing else like it. I've been teaching it in NYC and LA for many, many years now and the results, to me, are staggering and dynamic. I've seen timid, insecure, and wooden performers blossom. Actors who are stuck in a loop of "pushing" and indicating suddenly drop INTO themselves and find their character's there -- they are able in inhabit and move around AS them. Improvisers get out of their heads, stop writing, planning, and controlling. Underneath all of it, what I believe performers are tapping into is "truth". And when THAT becomes your reference point, your work AND your play cannot help but transform.” - HOLLY
Class limit: 12
CLAP-INS are a specific style of longform, made extremely popular by the Groundling’s CRAZY UNCLE JOE SHOW. Holly created that show specifically for her character improviser pals there because the format was so open and so perfect for character-improv work.
Unlike other longform formats, it’s very flexible in how it can be utilized - there isn’t “one right way” to do CLAP-INS. So troupes can discover and mold their shows to what they prefer and experiment with new ways to use it.
It’s also a fantastic format to grow awareness on the bigger picture and identifying what the scene is REALLY about; it helps you expand how you think about scenes and their possibilities; it strengthens trust in your ideas and instincts, forcing you to throw out even your most half-baked ideas to see how they can flourish and be built upon.
Class limit: 12
SPECIAL WORKSHOPS DESCRIPTIONS
GOOD GIRLS AREN’T FUNNY: BEYOND THE GOOD GIRL
Length: 4-hours / bring a notebook & pen
These workshops are designed solely to help women improvisers, comediennes, and creators of all kinds identify how “doing things right”, being “good”, “liked” and “nice”, and wanting to please more than express their own authentic ideas/voices ultimately is a completely different PART OF THEMSELVES than the strong, confident, self-directed, liberated one.
It will also give women the opportunity to see how universal and non-personal the “Good Girl” is, as it is a layer in Woman’s Collective Consciousness, with historical roots and cultural necessity. You will start to hear how your Good Girl talks to you, strategizes, and undermines. You will catch yourself worrying about pleasing others first and foremost, playing it safe, hesitating, doubting yourself, feeling inferior (to other women especially), and weirdly waiting for permission to do whatever you want and be as amazing as you are. This enables you to begin to catch her at work and make a different choice.
The workshops create a powerful and supportive environment where women have one another’s backs at all times as a new default position, and where you can stop worrying about being liked/nice/right/the best and exercise the muscle that is free from self-consciousness, competition (the kind that isn’t helpful), and intense judgement.
Through discussion, inquiry, and exercises we will delve into what the Good Girl is, how she works in us all, and how she effects what we do and how we think. We will also, simultaneously identify and strengthen the part of us that is NOT our Good Girl…the FUCK-IT: the free part that lives in us all as well. Already. Which is bold, inclusive, fearless, full of ease and inspiration and limitlessness. That wants ALL women to succeed, and values women (including ourselves) for something deeper than what culture currently values us for.
When we start changing VALUES...change will happen. And while it’s hard to change values externally, it is VERY possible to change them internally. And THAT is itself a radical revolution and game-changer.
Each workshop is uniquely different as it is shaped and effected by the women present: what they bring, where they are struggling, and what is needed to bust their GOOD GIRL wide open to let the bold, brazen FUCK IT out!
These workshops were developed from Holly’s talk, GOOD GIRLS AREN’T FUNNY, which you can read about here:
Class limit: 12 / $45
CLOWNING & LECOQ PHYSICAL THEATER WORKSHOPS
Length: 4-hours / bring loose clothing you can move around easily in
Holly will invite guest teachers to tailor workshops for the improv community. Clowning and Lecoq Technique are fundamental tools that every character improviser and character actor should be familiar with. They exist in the pre-verbal world of identity and relationship.
Learn how to use your body as your primary tool to communicate with - the various combinations it has in which to be, act and react. And it’s radically more than you probably realize. Understanding the essence of your character will allow you to build it cohesively and with integrity, so that everything that you do, think, and feel are connected to that essence.
The simplicity and honesty in which Clowning & the Lecoq Method approach character and a character’s story make it ideal for any improviser, as improv also exists in simplicity and honesty.
Each workshop will be new and different. The specifics will be described on the calendar & in the event schedule.
FROM IMPROV TO WRITING
Length: 4-hours / bring notebook & pen or laptop
The link between improv and writing monologues, sketches and longer works can appear mysterious. But they are in fact, deeply connected. Improv, is in effect, writing on your feet. There are many tools and ‘rules’ to writing that are embedded in improvisation, especially character improv.
Learn to use your ‘improv brain’ when writing; stay connected to your characters when you sit down in front of a computer screen or blank page; apply the rules learned in improv to the rules of sketch and scenes, and apply them when your writing has lost its way. In the workshop, we will also explore using improv as we put up written material to show how it can heighten or deepen the work.
Prior writing experience not required.
Class limit: 10 / Cost: $40
OTHER STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW
*When we say our classes are open to anyone, we mean anyone who is a supportive, woke, thoughtful team player. If you ain’t these things, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere. Or, better yet, just become these things.
Payment is due when reserving your spot.
You have 48 hours to cancel and receive a refund. After that, you are welcome to find someone to take your spot.
You must have LEVEL 1 experience from any improv school, anywhere — except the INTRO TO IMPROV, which is open to anyone.
You are allowed to come late but please don’t make it a habit.
STAY NOTIFIED OF CLASSES & WORKSHOPS
All classes are taught by Holly Mandel unless stated. The schedule will be posted here, on the Facebook page (improvolution la), as well as emailed out weekly. To stay on top of getting the classes you want, sign up for an email blast here!