2019 Day 2: Keith Johnstone Impro Workshop

Notes from Keith Johnstone Impro Workshop 2019 Day 2.

Keith Johnstone Impro Workshop 2019 in Vancouver
Day 2

– Growling family
– Michael Chekhov
– Party endowment
– Scene with a small doll
– Two voices master-servant
– Master-servant

Salieri gave Beethoven a lesson.
J. S. Bach wrote a choral piece every weekend for chorus boys to study Latin.
Schubert died at 31 but made lots of music.
Play and don’t listen to it. Your brain listens to it.
Training musicians to improvise is even worse than actors. Terrible.
Some cultures don’t have a word “artist” because they don’t need it.
Dominant and submissive is life or death.
Dunbar’s research on pecking order in 1992.
I like Brazilians. It’s easy to teach. They are not afraid of body.
Improvisers should do bad behaviors but it’s difficult to teach.
I used to stand with improvisers on stage.
Saying “Give me a bad time.” improves sometimes.
You should train to do what is most obvious here.
Good theatre school teaches a high status student to play low states. Bad theatre school let a high status student play high states.
Theatresports is not boxing. Boxing is sport. Wrestling is theatre.
Joan Littlewood is the best working-class theatre director. In Joan Littlewood theatre, only human beings are on stage. Not zombie theatre.
I told light/music improviser to make two errors in each half.
If you make no mistakes, you are submissive. You are uncreative.
Say “Two people on stage” and brain gives you something. Much low stress.
In Circus, they take risks for fun.
When you growl, body activates. If you stop, intellect comes back and body is switched off.
If you make sound, you know what to do. It’s same as masks. Unconscious takes over. Kids love it. Not talking-heads theatre.
Let’s try to make fear sound. I can’t do it without moving. Move automatically.
When they make sound, they look talented. Body and mind are connected.
Mask can do mask things which they can’t do without mask.
Stanislavsky’s subconscious.
Why 3 people? They reinforce each other.
They don’t have make decisions.
Personality is a small part of your brain.
Be careful for clapping. It reinforces.
Chekhov said if you play Hamlet, shining silver ball in your chest might be a good idea.
“Mostly Sunny” Canadian documentary directed by Indian director.
When you do status 1 2 3, You can understand the difficulty of status 2.
“The Moon’s balloon”
Charles Bronson and Toshiro Mifune.
Don’t be interesting please.
Do stuff instead of show stuff.
Hiding feeling is an important exercise. Normally you hide feeling. The way of looking naturalistic.
Improvisers always forget shutting doors.
If you look at you, fear comes. If you look at her, fear goes.
You as a human being do so many things automatically.
Stanislavsky was moved by Salvini’s acting because he did nothing.
If you are on stage alone and stay, the message is “It is safe here”.
I felt strongest purpose is unreal so I tried weakest purpose.
Exactly same status reduces gags and human behaviors come back.
Stay with problems. It keeps you alive.
If last 15 minutes is good, everybody forgives you.
Audience loves to watch people hitting each other. They like pain.
You’ve never seen master-servant scene in improv.
We don’t want everything wonderful.
Drama is about changing and interaction, not character.
Shakespeare is not about verse but action.
Whose scene is it? It is a great question. Audience always know.
If the scene is someone’s, you support it. If the scene is yours, you are supported.
I saw in Theatresports player begged judges to throw them off.
If you direct Micetro, the concept is “What they want?”.
Actors loves Micetro because it is lazy.
Good idea inspires performers. It lights players up.
Great movie actors project on everything.
In “Babe”, story allows you to project on the dog.
In American 20-minute Godot movie, they used face mask of suffering.
Godot is not non-sense. Beckett is totally sane.
You can’t play this doll-kind of scenes with improvisers because improvisers compete.
Great improvisers give others a space.
Take time. Don’t rush.
Who you watch? Doll.
In Pulp Fiction, Christian does nothing.
When I directed Godot, at the long line in last scene, the actor said “I don’t know how to do it”. I said “Just say the line clearly and do nothing”.
Comedia is all about master-servant.
Servant can’t come close to master unnecessarily.
Someone said servant should sit next to master but I don’t agree.
Take possession of sofa. You are pretending to be comfortable. Be really comfortable.
“Sit wrong” is good advice to sit comfortably.
The scene is not sleeping person’s. Trust your partner.
It’s easy to tell story in Two voices. You totally control.
Do what is needed.
Ego. Adult is difficult to play children game because they care win or lose. Child doesn’t care.
Why I ask 3 voices? Because it takes stress off.
Passenger doesn’t contribute but be truthful.
What the audience wants to know? Follow the track. They are satisfied.
The point is interpersonal things in master-servant.
You start master-servant and find something. If you can’t find, just keep doing.
If master doesn’t know what to do, say “Why did I call you?”
Fun with sharing control.
That is the comic theatre forever.
Critics didn’t write about our group because it was comedy.
The question is “Did your partner like working with you?”
Neutral can be anything.
When I was a kid, I decided to be a writer because only local writer had a car.
At that time, I invented a game. Get 5 images from an object.
When I was a kid, something happened. My memory changed. I became the bottom of class. That’s why I become an expert of impro. If you have a good memory, you can’t do impro. For some reason, I love learning. I had no memory, so I read same book many times.
Brain create universe. Why all are genius?
Little kids are totally amazing and expressing.
“Ikiru (Living)” by Kurosawa. At the birthday scene, the man wonderfully changed. Then I understand theatre is one person changes another.
First 25 minutes of “Circus” by Chaplin.
You should look at silent movies and understand gags.
Whatever put you on, pursue!
I’m crazy of Japanese acting.
I’m sorry improvisers didn’t follow my enthusiasm.
“City Lights”.
Garbo just stands and does nothing. She is so emotional. She is trying to show nothing. Wonderfully average.