Fourth week, first day of class: The Beginning of the End

To my own disbelief, I am now in my fourth and final week of my Second City Training Center Adult Immersion. This week’s class is huge, combining all the people who have been here. We add up to 18 people, which is huge for an improv class. Surprisingly, the class doesn’t feel that big and I think that is thanks to our great teacher, Sam Super. He just graduated from the Second City Directing Program and is acting in a show at Second City right now. We started the class with some normal warm-up exercises and then transitioned into a lecture/discussion about satire. We discussed the things we need for satire: a point of view, characters that represent a certain type of person, a character that the audience can identify with, and a setting that serves the topic. Sam had us write down two examples of the following: a historical event, a time period, or a pop culture reference. With those suggestions, we began doing short scenes that were based on the topic from the piece of paper. Examples for scene starters ranged from Taylor Swift vs Kanye to Paul Revere and his Midnight Ride. These scenes were hilarious, especially when the suggestion was something that the two actors knew nothing about. We then used those same suggestions to start performing scenes that were meant as a satire. Sam would ask for a profession that either seemed really cool, seemed really hard, seemed boring, or that someone we knew did. We ended up with scenes like brain surgeons discussing Donald Trump’s tweets and librarians discussing binge watching. Sam had us write down scene ideas that we liked from that day to later go back to. We are going to do a line-up of improv-turned-sketches at the end of the week. I think this will be cool, so I am excited.

For our writing 3 to 4 assignment, we were told to write something that was out of our comfort zone. I chose to write a scene with more characters than I am comfortable writing for. I also included fewer punchlines, hoping the actors will derive their own humor from the writing. Our class is combined with the other class that has been existing separately, so it is an interesting combo. All these previously established relationships exist for the other class as well as mine, but I am sure these will dissolve eventually. Our teacher is Anthony LeBlanc who actually went to the school right across from the college I attend, which is fun. He directed the MainStage show The Winner… of our Discontent which I absolutely loved. Anthony has been giving great feedback that is doable but still helpful. My sketch didn’t go as well as I would have liked, but once I know everyone better, I can cast my scenes more accurately. Anthony also gave us a lecture comedy theory. I had never known that comedy theory existed, so I love the idea that it is more of a science than a purely artistic endeavor. For our assignment, Anthony asked us all to write a sketch that is in our personal style. For me, that involves drawing from personal experience and writing super wordily. Today, Anthony mentioned that most Second City sketches are meant to have a meaning or message behind them, so I also worked to incorporate one into my homework. We shall see!

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