Thursday, August 19, 2010

Second City: Day 2 & 3

It's been a whirlwind couple of days. While we are technically only in class from 10-5, we have been encouraged to not only see as much of the city as possible, but also see as many shows as possible. I haven't returned to my hotel until midnight for the past two nights, and while that might make it seem like I am a crazy guy, it really just means that I am stinkin' tired.

Which by the way, in a previous post I mentioned that my hotel was a bit on the cheap end of the scale. This fact continues to show itself. For instance, there is an air conditioner window unit in every room on each of the 12 floors. The one in my room blows out cool, but musty, air. I've yet to bump into a single person on my floor as I make my way to and from my room down a narrow, red-carpeted hallway each morning and night. Additionally, each night when I get back to the room and flip on the TV, the volume is up full blast. The picture? White fuzz. The only thing that would be freakier than that would be a little boy on a tricycle at the end of the hall.

In class has been stretching and a load of fun. The instructors are very encouraging and the others taking the course are enjoyable too. I'm always surprised how quickly you can get to know a group of people when you are forced to take creative risks with them. Seriously, put strangers together in a room and make them be creative for a week. Creativity produces a little intimacy.

The improv portion in the morning has been extremely helpful and challenging. While this isn't an area I'll work with on a daily basis, focusing on thinking on my feet, playing on a team, and taking creative risks has been great.

If you are keeping track at home, this improv is not "Who's Line is it Anyway" improv. That is called short-form improv. In that format, improvisors play games that set the rules for the short sets. They draw phrases from a hat or are restricted to only using a certain number of words. The gags are rapid fire. Get in, make 'em laugh, get out. Simple. Fast-paced stuff.

At Second City, they teach long-form improv. This form is all about long scenes. It begins like short-form. The improvisors take a single suggestion from the audience, but they then create up to thirty minutes of made-up scenes. While short-form might be every man for himself, long-form is a team sport. Everyone on stage must ultimately depend on the others.

Wild stuff. More on the writing section tomorrow. Maybe.

1 comment:

Hannah said...

Eric,
Thanks for everything from CIY. You really helped my friends and I,when we came up and talked to you about us loosing our youth minister. You really put things in perspective for us and I am grateful we had a chance to talk to you. Even though you probably don't remember us, I just wanted to say thank you! :) Sorry it is on your blog about chicago, i didn't know how to tell you thanks, and when I cam upon this I was like... PERFECT! So thank you. Continue touching peoples lives. I know it may seem like a samll thing, but you made an impact on my life as well.
Sincerely,
Hannah Smith