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WORKSHOPS , LECTURES & SHOWS 

My teaching philosophy is to help every improviser become a more intuitive theatre artist and to face artistic challenges with creativity, braveness, openness, a sense of exploration and a sense of humor.

J.P

Character's  R ' US

This workshop uses a variety of physical exercises for the improviser to immediately develop a wide range of characters. These exercises also include finding the character’s voice and exercises to incorporate a variety of characters in the same walking environment.

The Collage 

In the Collage workshop, the students will learn the power of zig-zag, meaning to go between and back and forth every kind of improv style, tone, and tempo. To do group work and then contrast it with solo scenes or monologues; to go from a serious scene to a physically based comedic one; to incorporate short form games into long form ideals. Every student will gain improvisational artistic flexibility and a better ability to create and discover patterns on the fly.

Mastering the Monoscene

The Monoscene is one of the most challenging and rewarding forms of improv. In the Monoscene you play the same character for the full 30-45 minutes, you are only in one location, the scene takes place in real time, and there are no edits of time or space. It can be a tricky process as there's no internal form structures to cling too, so instead the improviser's skills require listening, give and take, ensemble focus, acting, and patience. Through this workshop, Jonathan Pitts, who studied with Michael Gellman twice, will teach the performers how to apply these skills in this form, as well as establishing small moments in the beginning that become strong character arcs, in depth relationships, and the ability build a whole world out of one location. 

The Organic Harold

In this ensemble based workshop, the improvisers will get to experience the Harold as Del originally created it in its first 10 years as the students will learn to recognize and incorporate organic patterns that come from exploring the suggestion intuitively. In a world of Harolds, the original version was more like small batch hand crafted beer, made one Harold at a time, by improv artisans.

Scene Work: The Chicago Way

Chicago is famous for grounded, honest, relationship-based improvisation scene work that produces deep laughs and deep sighs as the audience is moved to both. This style of work requires acting, listening, openness, patience, and responding through a shared process of give and take. This workshop will feature a deep dive into this process of two-person scene work that will bring improvisers discovery upon discovery. As those shared discoveries pile up, the improvised scene becomes deep, full and funny. It's the Chicago way. 

The Oracle 

The Oracle seeks to answer a question using group improv work. This form and improvisational process features an improviser as the priest/priestess of the Oracle, and the other improvisers as the Delphi, the trance talkers of the Oracle. After a question that can not be answered by the priest or priestess is found, the Delphi begin a series of improvised monologues, performance, poetry, scene work, and story-telling focusing on various aspects of the question and explored in several aspects and layers. As the improvisers as the Delphi create patterns revolving around the theme of the question. When the improviser playing the priest or priestess sees a metaphor from those patterns, they stop the Delphi and answer the question given to the Oracle.

Taking Care of the "Now"

If you take care of the "now" in any improv scene, the future always shows up as a great scene. If you don't take care of the "now", the future never shows up and the scene spins into quicksand. Using a deeply intuitive scenic process learned from the late Martin DeMatt, one that focuses on listening and responding, the students learn how to take care of the "now" by becoming fully invested in it. They also learn how to let go of worries about where the scene is going and instead learn to understand where the scene is right now. 

Finding Strength in Vulnerability ​

 In this workshop, the improv students will engage in three different theatre exercises designed to develop and heighten their artistic and scenic openness. After the completion of these three exercises, the improvisers will improvise a 2 person scene with their heightened awareness of the strength of choosing to be open.  

The Silent Movie

The Silent Movie is both an improvised narrative form and an original show. In this workshop, you'll learn how to put together the narrative beats of different silent movie shorts, as well as explore different silent movie styles, and expanding improvisation acting to be able to explore the heightened acting that silent movies featured. In this workshop, the performers will improvise while lit up by a film projector, in front of a large white sheet serving as the screen, and to the accompaniment of old timey piano music.

STORYBOX

Using only wooden sticks, colored pieces of cloth, and a single audience suggestion, this highly talented ensemble of theatre artists creates an original story that is performed only once for each audience.  Utilizing movement, scene-work, and transformations to develop the arc of the story, they develop characters, motifs, and themes into a performance featuring evocative improvised environments, imagery, music, ritual, sub-stories, and stage tableaus that bring the audience along on the main character's epic and personal journey.

Storybox is a wonderfully imaginative two-act fully improvised theatre production inspired by Second City Co-Founder Paul Sills' Tony award-winning Broadway show Story Theater, Keith Johnstone’s improvisational narrative techniques, as well as the poetry and ritual of Japan's Noh Theatre to create a single story improvised from multiple narrations and sub-stories. Other influences on Storybox's creation are the transformational theatre works of Robert LaPage and the epic universal storytelling of mythology from Joseph Campbell.