Is your new year’s resolution to be a better improviser? Well what better way to get the year started than with two of New York’s finest performers and teachers! We’re bringing Alan Starzinski and Connor Ratliff from the UCB NY to London for an exciting series of workshops.
Alan Starzinski is an actor, comedian, and writer living in NYC. He has been at Upright Citizen’s Brigade since June 2007. He is also the creator and former host of the popular show The Kaleidoscope. He has been on the House improv teams Sandino, Rocks, and is now on the house team Camp. His one man show Guy’s You Love to Hate ran at the UCB and now his show Umconfortable is currently running there. He can be seen performing all around New York City, on commercials, and across the web. He has taught improv workshops around the world, including New York City, Philadelphia, Washington DC, London, and Oxford University.
Connor Ratliff is a performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City, where he can be seen with The Stepfathers every Friday night and frequently on Sunday nights in ASSSSCAT. He has also performed with the UCB Touring Company, doing shows and teaching workshops in locations from Alaska to Helsinki. He is the creator of The George Lucas Talk Show, where real guests are interviewed by him while he pretends to be George Lucas. He is also the co-creator and host (with J.D. Amato) of The Terry Withers Mysteries, a monthly improvised crime procedural at UCB Chelsea. He has performed in ASSSSCAT 3000, Mike Birbiglia’s Dream and with the UCB Touring Company. He is the warm-up comedian for The Chris Gethard Show on Fusion, and was a frequent contributor to MNN version, where he launched his 2012 Presidential campaign and for which he co-created a series of experimental and animated shorts with Maelle Doliveux called The Lone Cornmeal Machine. He is also the co-star and co-creator of the web series I’m Too Fragile For This with Cathryn Mudon, and starred in the IFC web series, Bottled. He has also played small roles on episodes of the Comedy Central television series Broad City and HBO’s VEEP. You can hear Connor as the co-host of the podcast “12 Hour Day with JD & Connor” which is a 12-hour long podcast where every episode consists of an uncut and unedited twelve-hour conversation between himself and JD Amato. One time he got stuck on a train and Huffington Post and NBC News speculated that he had lost his mind. Google it, it was a real news story.
This class will focus on finding and writing characters to perform as a solo piece, monologue, or for stand up. Taking the skills we developed in improv to focus on something that doesn’t disappear after we perform it. This is more sketch based.
The choices we make at the beginning of a scene should be significant, and learning how to notice the significance of those early choices (and the choices of our scene partners) is an important part of what will make our improv interesting and fun. This workshop will focus on the importance of making big choices and sticking with them rather than hoping that something more interesting will come along 10 or 20 seconds later.
“Don’t Fight” is a common note given to beginning improvisers, who often find themselves mired in scenes of tedious disagreement. And yet this often feels counterintuitive, as some of the funniest Comedy is rooted in conflict. We’ll focus on why avoiding fights is often the preferable impulse, and how to make fights more dynamic and funny when they DO occur in scenes.
Reacting is one of the most important things in improv. It tells us how to feel and enjoy what is going on. This class is about focusing on reacting and emotion.
It’s important to ground scenes in some kind of reality, but it’s not enough to simply recreate convincing human behavior. This workshop will focus on balancing grounded scenework with finding the thing that makes a scene worth doing.
Every scene has the opportunity to have a game, but what if I told you that the game could be found in the first line of the scene? You’d call me insane! Well sanity has no place in this class where we focus on finding game immediately in a scene and trimming the fat.