Improv Comedy in America begins with Viola Spolin’s Theatre Games.
From the Second City in the 1950s to Saturday Night Live today, it would be difficult to find an American actor now working who hasn’t been touched in some way by her influence. At the core of the work lies what Viola called,“the off-balance moment”, the moment of ‘not knowing’when thinking and planning fail you and spontaneity and creative intuition break through.
In 1978 and 1980, Andy Harmon had the opportunity to study with Viola at her summer workshops in Hollywood. The experience changed his life and inspired his vocation. In all the years since, teaching and directing in the UK and Scandinavia, as well as the US, it has informed everything he’s done – from Longform Improv to Shakespeare. Viola’s playful, non-judgmental, problem solving approach to learning is designed to trip you into reaching beyond yourself to discover your hidden resources. No matter what your current level of experience and skill, whether you are a director, actor or writer, Viola’s work will make you better at it. It will challenge and delight you too.
In this series of workshops Andy is going to share what he learned from Viola and from his 40 years’ experience teaching her work. “The Off-Balance Moment” will be a drop-in class, so you can attend all the sessions or only one or two. Meetings will be held at the CVRep Conservatory, $20 per session, payable with cash or check at the door. You may also pre-pay with credit card at the Box Office, by phone 760-296-2966 or online.
Class meets Thursdays, September 6-November 1 from 4:00-6:30 pm
Cost: $20 per class
Testimonials from some of Andy Harmon’s recent Improv students
“Studying with Andy has improved my life 100%. His classes have helped me come out of myself and opened my horizons.” – Sue Neal
“I do standup comedy professionally and work alone on stage. Taking Andy’s Longform Improv class broke me out of my isolation. It taught me to give and take with my teammates… I didn’t need to be ‘me being funny’ I just needed to work with everybody and come out of my shell and I did… and that’s a great feeling.” – Vickie Rabjohn
“In the Longform classI learned to take my time… just to stop and look and assess and allow the scene to come, so it would be more of an unfolding than a creating of it… I wouldn’t say it’s easy, it can be difficult going into the unknown, accepting maybe a little chaos here and there, but if you’re willing to take that journey, whether you’re thinking of doing improv or theater or just living life, to be in that moment and saying yes — it’s worth it.” – David Brooks
“Improv is about Connection and that’s the biggest‘take away’ for me… that connection. If you want to see what else is possible in your life – outside and inside the structure of improv –take Andy’s class. I’ve stretched into places I didn’t know I could go… It’s enhanced my daily living.” – Kate Ullman
“Often when you see improv you think ‘oh my gosh, I gotta scramble to make something up’, but Andy class is different and that really surprised me in a great way… If you’re thinking of taking one of his classes, just sign up. Quit making obstacles for yourself and just do it. Come in with an open mind and get ready for the adventure…” – Ann Van Haney