WIT & SpeakeasyDC Tie the Knot with UNRAVELED
September 18, 2012

Castmembers from UNRAVELED in rehearsal.
WIT and SpeakeasyDC have been dying to create a joint project for some time now. Among the many reasons: WIT and SpeakeasyDC are natural amigos; our communities greatly overlap and crossover. (SpeakeasyDC executive director Amy Saidman and educational director Stephanie Garibaldi?—both are WIT alums!)  But most importantly is the essential role storytelling plays in longform improv. Storytelling is at the heart of improv (see Keith Johnstone's seminal improv text Impro for Storytellers) and, particularly at WIT, we emphasize strong development of characters, narrative, and theme in our craft both in our performances and classes.

SpeakeasyDC storytellers extract great personal moments from real life and share them in performance, unabashedly and without notes. Their shows are exhilarating, intimate, theatrical, and cathartic all at once. WIT players weave a different kind of truth with our completely fictitious scenic and storytelling maneuvers. Our in-the-moment authorship is equally personal, revealing, and revelatory, yet in different ways. So smashing the "truth" of the SpeakeasyDC stories up against WIT’s "truthy" scenic and storytelling skills seemed like an experiment that we had to try.

Rehearsals have shown the artists involved that the “smashing” yields highly interesting, entertaining results. It’s fun to see a storyteller, accustomed to preparing and honing their craft, dive into a story inspired by a random suggestion. Conversely, rooting improv ideas in autobiographical narratives has also been a joy. Exploring the contrast between what actually happened and the many hypotheticals that improv can tease out has been even more of a blast.

I hope you can join us on September 22 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center for either the 7PM or 9PM show of Unraveld: an improv-story mash-up. We’d love to hear your impressions of WIT and SpeakeasyDC’s tying of this artistic knot.

- Mark Chalfant, WIT artistic/executive director


 A TASTE OF IMPROV STORYTELLING

One of the classic improv storytelling exercises is a Fable Pattern story. The WIT players from this Saturday's mash-up have been creating these by email relay, for kicks. In the example below, the bold text is the pre-scripted bench-mark for following the fable pattern. The rest of the content was improvised one line at a time in relay fashion.

Suggestion: "PINT"    (from a random word-generator) 

Once upon a time ... in an ice-cream parlour on one of the Southern Islands for which New Jersey is known, there worked three siblings, Abby, Suzie, and Brud. And every day ...Abby, Suzi, and Brud worked on the Jersey Beach Boardwalk making home-made ice cream from noon to midnight.

Until one day ... the entire cast and crew of "Jersey Shore" came to Creamy's and bought out every single pint of ice cream they had. And because of that ... Abby, Suzi, and Brud asked if they could have their photo taken with the whole cast, which the cast kindly obliged.

And because of that ... the ice cream-making siblings appeared in the local paper with their arms draped around the world's most famous guidos.

And because of that ... the reality show "Snookies 'n Cream" was commissioned and filmed at the parlour, which included a nightly dance party.

Until finally ...the nightly dance party became more popular and more lucrative than ice-cream production ever had been, and Abby, Suzie, and Brud started serving Breyer's ice-cream and focusing on dancing (which secretly, Suzie had always wanted to do, but you try telling a very traditional middle-class family of ice-cream makers that you want to make your living as a dancer).

And ever since that day... Abby, Suzie and Brud live the good life of reality TV stars, as the trappings of fame and wealth slowly melt their wholesome hearts, like a child who dropped his waffle cone double-dip--that drips..drips..drips through the cracks of the boardwalk along the Jersey shore.

Storytelling sequence generated by: Molly Murchie - Joe Uchno - Greer Smith - Mikael Johnson - Mark Chalfant

 

 

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Studio Performance with BagCat (Chicago)
8:30 PM | $10
Tuesday, September 23
Harold Night at Source
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Wednesday, September 24
District Improv Festival
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District Improv Festival
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District Improv Festival
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District Improv Festival
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District Improv Festival
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District Improv Festival
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