Yes But Why ep 205 Stephen Thornton on using improv as a guide for personal exploration!
This week, Yes But Why Podcast interviews Lisbon, Portugal based improviser, Stephen Thornton!
Stephen Thornton has been studying, performing and teaching improvisation since 2001 when he was first introduced to the theater games of Viola Spolin. From 2006 to 2018, he continued his improv education in New York City, taking classes at The Peoples Improv Theater (PIT) and studying with some great improv teachers from around the country.
Since 2010, he has been coaching improv teams and teaching Improvisational Theatre workshops in NYC and abroad. In 2019, he founded his own company, Stephen Thornton Improv and shortly thereafter, moved to Lisbon, Portugal.
Stephen is currently active in building the Lisbon improv community. He teaches and performs with his short-form English-speaking group, “4Misfits,”which features previous Yes But Why guest, Andre Sobral.
Stephen also hosts an improv jam called Jelly Jam alongside co-host/producer, Luana Proença.
In our conversation, Stephen and I talk about being improvisers who are extroverted onstage but introverted in private life. We talk about liking the attention but how we need to recuperate after all that energy exchange.
Stephen talks about moving from Hawaii to Colorado as a kid. Stephen tells me how he got into performing in high school. Stephen shares some of the issues he had with casting calls after graduating at New York Film Academy and how that inspired him to do improv full time.
Stephen talks about how happy he is to have improv in his life. Stephen talks about one of his mentors, Scotty Watson, and the acting training that he folded into his improv classes. Stephen and I discuss his recent move from NYC to Lisbon to be on the front lines of developing the improv scene in Portugal. This was a fun conversation with lots of good advice throughout!
Support Stephen by taking an online improv course with him RIGHT NOW! Stephen has been teaching online improv courses during this socially distant time.
Next week, there are 4 opportunities to learn from Stephen — 2 workshops for beginners and 2 workshops for experienced improvisers. Visit his website for workshop descriptions and to register NOW at www.stimprov.com
ALSO — Very recently, Stephen was able to perform with his NYC troupemates from “3.14 pronounced PIE” both of whom have been interviewed by this podcast — Irene Carroll and Scotty Watson! They did it via Zoom! And I am excited to see it! Link to the Zoom recording of their performance coming soon!
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(production notes: recorded international Skype call with Rodecaster at the home studio on 1/16/2020)
NEW Feature –> TRANSCRIPT by Otter.ai
YBY Episode 205 Stephen Thornton
Hello, yes, but why listeners? This is your host Amy Jordan. Welcome to Episode 205 of yes but why podcast featuring Steven Thornton, improviser extraordinaire from Lisbon, Portugal. But first a bit about our sponsor this episode of yes but why podcast is sponsored by Audible. You can get your free audiobook download and your 30 day free trial at audible trial comm forward slash yes but why our guests this week performs and teaches improvisational theater. And if you search improv and audible you can find hundreds of titles on the subject. Do you want to learn how to live more in the moment? audible has something for you. Audible is available for your iPhone, Android Kindle or mp3 player. Download your free audio book today at audible trial comm forward slash Yes But why?
This week’s guest is Steven Thornton. Stephen spent most of his theater career and you York City, but very recently, he and his family have moved to Lisbon, Portugal to immerse themselves in the improv comedy scene there. Stephen is a great friend of the podcast, and he came to me to chat when practically everybody he performed with was also a guest. Stephen has been in troops with Irene Carroll, Scotty Watson and Andre Sobell, all of whom have been interviewed by me on this podcast. So let’s dig into Stephens story. I now present to you. Yes, but why Episode 205 Steven Thornton on using improv as a guide for personal exploration.
I’m Amy Jordan, and this is yes,
but why podcast
What do you think for you? What’s your combination of extroverted introverted, that leads you to a life on the stage?
Well, it’s actually funny because I find for myself is that the pattern that I see in the world of improv is some of the best improvisers I know, are the most extroverted people on stage. But in private when you’re even when you’re grabbing the beer after the show, they it’s really kind of a difficult conversation. You know, it’s like you’re like, am I trying too hard, is it but, but so I just feel like privately The, the introverts think about things in a different way. And so that way, when they get off on stage, they have a place to express that idea.
In regards for myself though, I am
Drew ordinarily introverted in private life.
But when I’m on stage it’s it’s I am the complete 180 of that.
I love the attention I love the the putting the energy out there receiving energy back from the audience telling weird and crazy stories and, and that’s not to say that I can’t necessarily just turn it on. Yes. When there’s networking to be done or you’re at a large social event or something, but it’s, it’s a it’s not cool I naturally am. I am actually naturally an introverted so yeah on stage 100% extroverted offstage. 60% introverted. Probably 60 70%. introverted. Hmm. Yeah. I don’t know if I butchered the question though.
No, no, I mean, it does because it’s really just sort of like the starting point of a discussion about like, the way we are on stage so, so when you were a kid, were you shy then were you like, you know, quiet in class and only had a couple of friends. What was your, what was your kid personality? Like?
My kid personality was extraordinarily energetic that if I was born into this day and age, I probably would have been diagnosed with a DD or ADHD or something like that, because I had no discipline. Yeah, basically. I wanted to talk I wanted to have fun I wanted to play I had a really good group of friends and I was very social at a young age. I don’t know probably puberty is when
he when he was the turnaround.
Yeah, that was probably around the changing point where it was like,
I’m too cool to play. Yeah, I’m too cool too. So I’m just going to socialize with these people. I mean, I don’t think it was an active choice like that. But
naturally, organically the route that I that I went down. And I actually believe in that as everyone’s organic changing point like that puberty is the point in which we lose our natural play. And then, so like, when when I teach improv level one, I’ll often talk about the idea that like, we inherently have the ability to play. So like, you know, as a way to come down my level one students, it’s like, this isn’t a skill where like, you have it or you don’t you have it It’s just dormant inside of you. Because when the hormones of puberty filled your body, they darkened the whole possibility of you when it came to imagination and innocence, like, we were like, oh, by the way, did you know that everything was terrible? And then you’re like, Oh my god, everything’s like that’s it for a while. And some people like never stopped with the everything’s terrible forever in their whole life. But some people are like, surely everything is not terrible all the time. I should investigate this. And then sometimes they find their way into an improv School, where their, you know, system of play is awakened once again inside of them and they’re able to, you know, use that.
Oh, no, absolutely. I it all comes back to as you’re saying puberty is really about the time that we start seeking social acceptance. Cuz High School Middle School is terrible in terms of that cliques, I really feel are starting to form in middle school they are solidified by high school. And so during that time you want to be one of the cool kids. You want to be the theater kid, you want to be the jock? You want to be, you know, yeah, I mean labels really start happening in high school, social acceptance people, you you you’re the person needing to be liked by others. And as you say, there are those people who just kind of keep going down the path of like, yeah, everything is terrible, but then I think most people are just after social acceptance. And then so they graduate and they say, Oh, no. There’s a larger world out there than just high school. And that’s the reason why I was born. Feel like people are always end up opening up when they hit around college or there because now they’re not. They realize they’re no longer constrained by what High School has put forth, then they can find maybe a different path and a different way to start interacting with the world.
Totally, totally. I swear. It’s so funny. You’re like, leading me into telling you my theory of life, which I tell every single guest probably heard if you listen to an episode, but here it is. strappin I have a theory that every 18 years we get to be different people. Right? And by that I mean that we live in sort of like an an 18 year growth period from like Caterpillar to butterfly. So it’s like, you know, zero to 18 we are becoming a person, you know, we’re figuring out what’s going on. We go Through a lot of stuff, there’s a lot of ups and downs and whatnot. And you know, even like what we’re talking about, you have this like super fun period of time where you like, are relaxed, you enjoy yourself. There, you get a little bit older, I would say like 910 11, you start to like, kind of realize some of the rougher realities of the world, like, you know, like a pet dies or a grandparent dies, and you’re like, wait, what’s going on? And then you become a teen, everything’s very dire. It’s very sad. Everyone suddenly, like read a history book, and you realize that’s a real thing that happened. You’re like, wait, people were shooting each other. Hundreds of thousands of people over history have done this, what? Like, all sorts of crazy things happen. And then they’re 18 and they’re like, released from the bondage of their like family and the school and whatever, and they’re like, I’m gonna live my own life and do whatever I want. And then they do that. But you know, it doesn’t always work out every possible way that they imagined it to. So they have ups and downs again, they tried to have a good time. You know, they’re wild. Crazy for the first few years, things get wild gets a little darker early 30s people are like and their day now. That’s kind of like you know, when you’re a teen again, and then you get to 36 and you’re like guys, it’s fine. Don’t worry. I just did it. I’m 36 I nailed it. But then you’re still alive. You’re not dead yet like it’s not soon so you still have more. So then you have another journey and this in this third journey is where a lot of people mess up their lives in a way because they don’t know what to do now. They’re like I did this twice. What do you mean I gotta do it one more time and then like you’re probably gonna do it two maybe three more times. And they’re like, What? That’s insane. So at this point, they do things like they divorce their wives or they like buy sports cars or they like you know, do it with the accountant or they like get a crazy haircut or like quit they’re really well paying job to like, become an artist and like Fiji, like, people make money. Huge, crazy decisions at this point, because they’ve tried things out and they’re either going to try something out they’ve never tried out before, because they’re a human being, and they get to check everything off the list if they want to. Or they revert to something that they did when they were a kid. They’re like, I spent all these years 18 to 36 doing what other people wanted me to do, because I was a good adult. And now when I was a kid, I want to be a gardener. I’m gonna be a gardener now. Whatever it is, they like come back to it, whatever. Sometimes they finally meet their true love. They didn’t for a long time, they thought that was it over Oh, God, why? I’m never going to find anyone turns out, they just need to wait till the third time they find them, whatever. It’s still a big lifetime. All I am saying is, you’re totally right about that like 18 year CUSP. Because I truly believe that we are all in like cycles of life in the same way that like I was talking about how puberty like messes with our sense of play. I truly think that there puberty for each round each, like round of 18 years. And it’s not hormonal, exactly. I mean, it kind of is. I mean, you know, not to not to like poke at women or whatever. I’m a woman so I can poke. And also, I’m a woman who had a baby at 39, which they referred to as a geriatric pregnancy, right? Jerry
Yes, because at 35, your body officially begins to change in the way that it’s storing the eggs, such that it’s essentially like the refrigerator door is left open from now on. Like, it was like they were the body was like, we’ll take care of this, everything’s totally fine. But at 35 they’re like, I’m off duty and they leave the door open for the rest of your life. Like and so then the eggs are like what about I was just gonna ask you later, so the eggs you know, eventually go away, and and they’re no longer there and then all the hormones involved with the whole situation get messed up, as Well, so technically, that does happen, that a woman’s body’s hormones do change. And you know, maybe men do too. There’s not a lot of talk about men hormones, but I just think because it’s been swept under the rug. I don’t think it’s because there, there’s no like changes. It’s just like, there’s no outward like need for a product. So like, no one talks about it. You know what I mean? Like, you know, they gotta sell tampons, like me, like, Guys, this is a real thing we have to talk about, but like, we’re not going to talk about men’s because there’s no like, thing you got to strap on or whatever to like, get through it. You know, but
yeah, absolutely. I mean, look at mental illness, right? Yeah. Like when I was a kid, it was just like, Oh, no, they just have too much energy. They just have too much and now we’re in the age of diagnosing everything. So and it was like it at the end of the day. was was a further awareness that he had this does happen and we’ve researched it and this is what it is. So I, I’m with you, I think that dudes have hormonal imbalances as well. I mean, it’s not. I mean, we’re humans, everybody. All right,
the awareness element is exactly what I want. Whenever I bring up this theory, that’s usually what I’m like bringing it up for is like just the awareness that we go on journeys, and that there are ups and downs and that like, you might naturally just be at a time in your life where your body is, like, in flux and be cool. Like you can if you don’t know what your career is right now, and you’re in between one of those times, okay, honestly, when I was at 36, I was at the top of my game, and then 30 seconds later everything crumbled. So it was like, oh, okay, like but but that’s what had to happen like, like, I had to graduate high school, or or some people didn’t, but they still turned 18 and moved on with their lives. They did or they didn’t happen or it didn’t. does matter. Still move forward? Great.
Oh, absolutely. Yeah.
You know, yeah.
Yeah, I completely get what you mean. I mean, if we’re bringing this back to improv, then bring it back. That’s improv is life life is improv just as when you’re starting out, and it’s all there in level one. You’re having all the fun in the world and all this new possibilities and creativity is opening up to you. And then you move to level two. And while you’re still having fun, you’re going wow, this is bigger than I thought it was. This is starting to get a little bit deep. And then what is it by level three, in some schools, maybe level four, especially if there’s house teams and competition for house teams. That’s about the cusp of 18 for me, that’s that’s the, that’s the puberty hitting, where all of a sudden, oh, I have to impress this person, oh, I have to be better than this person to achieve my goal or what and, and you you march forward and you suck sometimes and you blow it out of the water and other times, but there’s no but I mean the consistency differs. But you could have a consistency of run of good shows for two months, and then have a string of bad shows for a month and a half. Right after that. I mean, that’s life, isn’t it? Yeah, you got to take the good with the bad and the bad with the good and eventually just keep plugging forward and you’re gonna get to wherever it is that you need to get to.
But I think the awareness of that is what one of the benefits of doing improv, like awareness of that and also like acceptance of things that don’t go the way you expect. I mean, that’s like, it’s like, essentially, it’s the rule. I mean, yes, and can be boiled down to deal with it, even if you didn’t, if it’s not your idea. Like,
just do it. Yeah, just
do it. Like, don’t argue, just do it. Right. And I mean, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of things in life that could be benefited from that particular idea. And I think that that’s one of the things that you get, once you have, like, certainly an elongated education in improv, but like, once you like, you know, truly drink the Kool Aid and you’re like, in it, you know, like, no lie, like improv has kind of replaced religion for me. You know what I mean? Like, it’s like, I can frame every figuring out things in life with it. I can, like work through things with it. Like it. I can, you know, tell an improv story that that sort of a parable for solving a problem in your life, like, you know what I mean? Like, it’s just a different Way of, of trying to find how to be nice in the world.
My my wife is actually a practicing Buddhist. And there are times where we’ll be having conversation. I’m like, Wait, are we talk about Buddhism or improv?
It’s true. You can get them and get them thrown around, you know, who knows? Who knows what you’re talking about.
So, so it’s all interchangeable. I mean, at the end of the day, what improv is that? I always believed that the core of what improvisation is trying to get you to do is a be in the moment. Enjoy the now and be to recognize that you are a human being.
and, and if you can recognize that then.
Then Then I don’t know you take some of the pressure off of yourself. You’re totally right. No, you’re totally right. Man, like accepting the idea that you’re probably gonna mess it up is such a hard situation. Like, it’s like, it’s fine. Everybody messes it up. It’s like, that doesn’t make it better. And I was like, we’ll try to make it make it better because it’s not gonna change. Like, so feel good. But this is what’s gonna happen.
Yeah, I mean, we’ve all been in those scenes where like, we’re looking at our partner going, did you really just say that? Okay, put your head down and just keep marching forward and you know, that there’s going to be a beat change, there’s going to be an opportunity for us to tension to take a left turn to do something, but I can’t be looking for that. It has to I just have to be in the moment and wait for that inspiration to hit.
Well, plus, like, you know, if you’re in the moment were, like, even just the idea that what they’ve presented is a bad idea. Like that could like really still hurt you. Like, just just you thinking it because then it like shades what you’re like how you’re going to deal with it, as opposed to like the possibility of like, well, that’s not what I would have expected. But, you know, so I mean, I would even urge when a person hears something like if somebody leads you down a road that like you have potentially in the past, like gone down this road, and it’s a terrible road, you just have to be like, Okay, what can I put in the road? Or what can I like have, you know, that’s going to improve this situation? Because there’s no way to be like, well, this sucks, because then the scene is just like negative and yucky. Right?
Well, okay, so that’s an interesting thing, though. Because for me, I’m like, isn’t there? What do you mean if we are Being Human beings on stage and having conversation sure there is a lot of narrative improvisation out there of course, right? More Harel the types of scenes where you’re marching through the beat. But why is it that onstage if somebody doesn’t like something that I can speak my truth about it?
I mean, you as the character can dislike whatever you want, but I mean, like if somebody and also like you cannot like the situation you’ve been put in as the character, but to be like, you know, Mario just made us dinosaurs in this army all of a sudden like, and to be like, annoyed with Mario’s decision. It’s like, just try to be easy with what’s going on. Like, it’s fine if you don’t love playing a dinosaur or if you think dinosaurs take away from whatever either comedy or poignant moment you were trying to make with the scene. But we because it’s a group effort, there’s no way for one of us to have some sort of like, I don’t know, effort to it, it has to be chaos that hopefully finds its way to something that vaguely makes sense to the audience. Right. Right. And that’s just me. I agree. You know, I’m not you can 100% disagree. I would love it, you know, to discuss this in depth. But I just like that’s my thing.
I know I actually agree with you in that sense of that. If mario makes that move, I cannot hold a grudge against Mario right? For making that move. Like here’s all of a sudden then I am no longer in the present. I’m in the past. Yeah, worrying about and me Mario and his dinosaur is always with the dinosaurs. Why is Martin And I’m missing everything that’s happening on stage. But dinosaurs died is
But what I am saying is that if I say yes to the dinosaur thing, but then I have a truth within the dinosaur that and that will probably end up switching things around that it’s not we’re not plugging away at the dinosaur thing but we’re now on to a bigger idea. How are we dealing with? Yeah,
you know, no, no animal life at like any any cartoon about animals isn’t isn’t like about the animals it’s about like human relationships. It’s always just like, you know, even though the dinosaurs are at war, I mean, you’re on a stage right now we’re not going to see that war. So like, what are we going to do? We’re going to be like, Man, you know, we’re going to be extinct sometimes. And I just want you to know, it’s been great working with you, Mario. And then you know, you’re having like a sad, poignant scene about people that are right about to head into battle. And they’re like, it’s been six months. And we’ve spent time together here on this hill, shooting at the other dinosaurs. But, you know, I just feel like we’re brothers, you know, whatever now. All right.
I mean, we can get into existential things in that sense of saying, is it worth it?
Come on. Why? I mean, dinosaur dinosaur hate. It didn’t get us anywhere.
It’s never going to solve anything. Let’s all just be positive. I can’t we Yes. And this war. I mean, yes.
So, so let’s bring it back to you. Oh,
um, you. So we’ve been talking a lot about improv and we taught the last bit of your bio that we’ve heard was You had a fun childhood and then you know, puberty got a little wild. At what point in your life did you get into doing performance in theater and improv?
Um, so in eighth grade, I was in a really tiny, tiny, private school, private Christian school. So I think like average graduating class was eight people.
Yeah. so tiny. And this was in Colorado during this time. And basically, I needed a little bit of extra credit. So I went out for the school play and got into a little bit of thing there and I was like, Okay, yeah, that was fun. And then went on with my life. The following year, I ended up transferring schools because my mother did not want me Just stay in a little bubble. So she was like you’re going to a public school now? Oh,
yeah, it was. I mean,
it ended up being the best move for me. Sure, sure. Cuz, yeah, okay, I miss my friends for all of what a semester maybe. But but eventually it was just like, Oh wow, I can take in art class I can take in architecture class, I can go to philosophy I can and you know, all the electives that you’re offered
in your high school that sounds like a fancy Nice.
Nice High School. Yeah, yeah, it was a it was I think it was open for only like, two or three years by the time I went there so we’re still getting all the programs up and everything and they were there. They were doing okay. As far as funding goes, I guess without having looked at their books. But but but by freshman year I was filling out electives and I was like, Oh, I need one more thing in. You know what I’m gonna go for valedictorian, so I need something I needed a in. Oh, intro to theater. Now it was called theater arts, not even intro to theater because theater arts and I was like, Oh, I kind of enjoyed doing that played last year. Um, yeah, let me just take a semester of this and and so I did a semester of it. And then the following semester, I did another semester of it, and then three years later, that’s all I wanted to do.
Did you go to a college like a film school or an acting conservatory?
I ended up going to an acting conservatory at the tender age of 23. The call I went to college did not work out for me. Sure. I wasn’t ready. That’s what it ended up being. That’s what I’ve come to decide I wasn’t ready for it. But at 23 I was looking for something different. And so I was working for an electrical company at the time. And they had an out of state contract in Secaucus, New Jersey. It’s a caucus. Yeah, good. Also caucus. And so I was like, yeah, I’ll go. And New York being a new and New York City being a 1520 minute bus ride away. So it was like I was in Secaucus for like, two months, and every weekend, I was jumping into New York, visiting friends, making new friends, and just all around enjoying that life. And so, about that time, too, I was like, I don’t want to keep doing this. I want to do something that I that I enjoy that I love that I’m not just waking up doing the job collecting The paycheck like I need to be stimulated or something. And so it was on those trips to New York that I was like, You know what, I’m moving here. I’m moving here. I’m going back to the thing that I really, really enjoyed doing. And I’m going to try and make it as an actor in New York City, huh. So, went out to conservatory out there at the New York Film Academy for one year. And then after I graduated you know, I got hired on in there as a TA started learning behind the camera stuff and while still trying to do the acting thing.
when you started teaching theater as well.
At that point, I did not my teaching actually. Started probably only about
six years ago, 556 years ago. Oh, you said that. After you finished the program you started teaching. So I thought that meant teach. Oh,
yeah. Oh, yeah, teacher’s assistant, meaning I grabbed the camera, I put it on a tripod. The teacher says point camera that direction and press record and I do
a lot of brain power for that.
Sure. They don’t give you a lot of input into the curriculum at that point. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Yeah, sure. You’re giving it was a drafter.
Right? Yeah. But I hear that job. And it was about the field that I was curious about, and I wanted to know everything about that field.
So how did it go? Did you start acting in commercials and doing lots of films or anything?
I wish I’d probably be in a different place. I have I did the acting thing for about six years out there, and about a year four is when the Polish really started coming off. And it was really seeing the industry and really seeing that. I got tired of being called in for a character that is good at math knows kung fu and is good at computers. Yeah. Oh, and because this is a podcast, I am of Asian descent. So yeah, strap a pair of glasses on me. And that’s what they wanted. And I was tired of being called in to do those characters. Yeah, that sucks. Yeah, it was just extraordinarily stereotypical typecasted and that was like I’m an actor. Give me something I want to be romantically. I want to be the silly best friend. I want to be the Who’s not good at math? I want to be anything in everything. But what it is that you are pigeonholing me to be. So that’s, that’s about when I said, maybe the acting thing isn’t for me. Maybe I don’t have what it what it takes emotionally for myself to put my head down and keep plowing forward. And so, that was about the time that I really switched hard into improv. So I
started taking classes in improv during the slog of attempted film fame.
Well, my improv journey is a little interesting because it actually goes back to high school. And it took me getting to New York, because I was doing without knowing, but I was training in spolin In high school in Viola spolin technique without knowing that it was improvisation, and then it was about the time of Whose Line is it anyways? Like, I think it was like two or three of our schools got together and put together like little short form teams. And we would go to everybody’s school and and kind of like have a comedy sports type of a type of appeal to it without the point system. You know, it was just a good way to fundraise for both all three high schools, basically, and then, even once I graduated high school and the college thing didn’t work out. It was I was still improvising. I was still doing some some things here and there dipped my toe into a little bit of stand up as that. And then as soon as I hit New York and I graduated from Conservatory, I was like, ah, I really want to keep doing something. And that’s when I ended up auditioning for The red tie mafia which is a short form group, I believe still exist in New York. And then from that point on it was just kind of always taken a workshop always getting on stage with some people always doing this doing that without ever having the the training of like the pit or UCB or magnet or anything, but just kind of finding my own way through things. And then after that, it came improvisation news with Scotty Watson and Irene Carroll. And that’s really for me where I found Oh, I guess I could back up a little bit on that because before I found improvisation news, I was doing shows but it was always that short form or narrative or, you know, always feeling like it’s the same thing that’s coming out right? That repetition that same pattern is always coming out I feel I feel like every show is starting to do the same and there has to be something more. And and that’s when I found improvisation us. And Scotty, who is who was the director. There he comes from a second city background. And so through learning through him is where I really say that I got my biggest education and improvisation is through him and a few other master teachers through masterclasses and things, but he he was the one that really opened my eyes up to the emotional side of improvisation. And then all of a sudden, the floodgates opened and I went, yes, this is where I need to be. This is where I feel the most at home, where I feel like I’m contributing something. And it’s just been kind of non stop since then.
So you really enjoyed it was there a particular like style was it sort of like long form montage is that you enjoyed? Or is there a certain format or certain style of scene that you guys did that really was the thing that you loved that led you through to now?
Um, the connections that Scotty was always after.
Whereas I feel that before that, of course, you know, listen to your partner, connect, do all these things. But then maybe it was just the way that Scotty presented it to me. The same the exact same thing in a different way that made me go, oh, and then and then he also, as I said before, he was very, very much into how characters are making each other feel on stage, more so than where’s the game heightened that heightened that heightened dad opened changed words the next game heightened, heightened, you know, that sort of format. So all of a sudden I was finding my acting training and improvisation kind of folding in on each other for the first time.
So, yeah, it was for me it was all about the relationships after that the emotional feeling. And eventually after having people like David Rizal ski or Michael Gelman and doing workshops with them, it’s figuring out that it’s, it’s the truth. What is the truth of this moment of these characters of the relationship? If Gary Austin, who I also had the pleasure of studying with you said something to the effect of, if it looks like theater sounds like theater smells like theater will then bleep it’s theater. And, and I will and I took that to heart. And so when I’m on stage now, yes, I’m improvising but I am also importing a lot of acting tools that I learned in, in, in the previous occupation before improv.
Did you think it was important for you to have the acting background before you did improv? Or do you think that you know people can access improv and all it has to offer even without acting ability?
I I go with Viola spolin on this is that, um, again, I don’t know what your listeners and everything if they know who she is, but Basically her work was founded in teaching inner city kids how to act on stage. to basically when you go through her if you pick up her book, and if you literally are, go through every exercise in the book, and really understand not just know but understand what the core skill of each game is trying to train is that when to complete that book, you’re almost ready to have anybody just give you any text and you can cold read it and go and you’re and you’re going to play with it. So I don’t believe that it is necessary. I believe that it
it allowed me to have a different perspective
There was a lot of times where I was in class and The teacher would talk about an idea or a principle and I thought, Oh wait, that’s just exactly like blah blah blah in. In from this acting theory, this is like sentence memory. This is this is repetition from Meisner, this is a animal spines from Adler is so it’s all the same language at the end of the day. It’s just the product is just ever so slightly different. And the difference being that words are on a page versus words just coming out of your mouth. I mean, when I was in Conservatory, as an actor and learning all that stuff, you’re always hearing from your teachers. You’re not in the moment. You’re not in the moment. You’re not in the moment and for myself, I was I was like, What? But I’m here I he says his mind I’m saying my line and it is in, you know and finding the rhythm interact. I’m here I’m in the moment. I don’t know how much more in the moment that you can be. And then it took me until I did that I was really fully into improv. And that I just had this scene that I went, Oh, that’s the moment. Everything that was before that, that I thought was the moment was definitely not the moment. So, yeah, I think what it offers is a different perspective on the work.
as in theater, that it can theater can be funny, it can be sad. And I think improvisation is also in that same line. And and that’s the way that I view it as opposed to maybe other people who are,
who are, say, using it
for comedy, you know, and it’s not to say that they’re that they’re not aware of it, but it’s just it’s, I tend to find that the people who really groups that really, really go after the comedy, unless they are a very veteran group, they often don’t look for those little dramatic moments that ended up happening organically on stage and seeing that that’s a slight detour of where maybe the scene was originally headed.
Yeah, it’s a,
I think there’s different kinds of improvisers, some that are into structure. And those are the Joke joke people, and then people who are into more like an ethereal, sort of like emotional moment and those those tend to go a little bit deeper. You know, I was gonna say, when you were talking about, you know how after doing improv you like understood what being in the moment was. I was like that that’s like the best advertisement for improv for actors I’ve ever heard. Like, only just because it’s like, it’s a different it’s almost like a meditation technique that you need to learn. So that when you’re doing the, like, basic work of acting, you can actually be in the moment and use the techniques they’re trying to teach you like, I wonder if, after doing you know, do an improv class do could you receive the Meisner technique differently because you’ve had other experiences similar to that or because And know what it’s like to be in the moment like,
interesting. And the actual answer to that for me was Yes. Mm hmm. Yeah, it’s because I went, Wow, that’s interesting. So I went back and I read took a Meisner class level Eisenhower class, just because I was like, What didn’t I get? You know, because I was so occupied with everything else. What else? What else did I miss? And it was a completely different experience. Interesting. Huh? It was pletely different because it what I ended up learning was that
I was so concerned about everything else other than my partner.
Getting the line exactly right, having the right quote unquote, tone or delivery. Or being worried about my blocking or impressing the teacher approval disapproval syndrome. Right. So, um, so yeah, when when I went in there the second time, it was so much more about playing. And I don’t know if that is also maybe because that you know, I took it so I already kind of knew what the lesson plan was. But yeah, I was just able to let myself go and play and really
the graph teacher handed to me.
Man and, and not judging the character.
Because that’s something that improv really can teach you.
Like a great principle that improv teaches you is? Yep, you’re this character, play the character and play him like in the What I love to do is like playing real. Like don’t play a caricature clip, play a person play a human being. Yeah.
That’s the difference between improv for comedy and improv for like, you know, serious scenes. Right? Because I, the number one thing that I teach is about it because we do for comedy. And it’s like, you know, when I’m teaching characters to them, I’m like, we’re you’re not trying to be stopping nice. This person is not going to be helpful. If we’ve established that it’s unhelpful. Hank, he’s never going to be helpful. Don’t learn the lesson. stop learning. He didn’t learn, you didn’t learn. He just shows us how on learned he is in bigger and bigger ways he doesn’t change or grow or get better. That’s like that, in my mind is like the difference between regular characters like in a drama arena. scene that’s there for the purposes of like exploration characters can change and ebb and flow and like have a journey. But in a comedy scene, a comedy character is, you know, one dimensional and they play their single Bell over and over and over.
Like, that’s it. Yep, yep.
I and I and I completely agree with that. And I just always love to think of, of the fact that whenever we’re doing an improv scene, we are coming into a section and a slice of this person’s life, that this person had a life before we came upon the scene and this person will continue living after they leave after we leave this scene. And so, for me, I love the I love the comedy aspect and everything, but then also knowing that that him not being helpful. To me is always that that means something deeper. Because Because to not to just play the guy who’s unhelpful, which is a fun character, I played that character and holy cow, was that a fun character? But then that character stays a little bit two dimensional, for sure. So I’m trying to look worse, the third dimension. What’s the extra thing that I can give that? Sure this guy’s unhelpful because he’s a jerk or he’s flippant or anything but then like, what’s the core of that? What else? What’s another side of this guy? He can be unhelpful, but like,
he has to have a life outside of just being unhelpful in that way. Sure. And again, that’s, that’s
maybe down the road of the dramatic improv. I guess and Hero’s Journey thing but even when I play comedy, I really tried to find that third dimension. Sure.
Now have when you got to long form improv, Has it always been this way? Has it always been? I mean, I guess you started with Scotty so it was deeply emotional. And so you sort of had this depth to all of the improv that you’ve done throughout whether it was you know, with in improvisation news or the Gary Austin crowd or the and company
No, goodness, no,
no, it’s it’s abdun flowed.
Yeah, no, no, it’s not something that is just happens overnight.
You know, it was a skill. And it was the thing that kept me I it’s not motivated, interested on a higher level. You know, it wasn’t the the little speck of light, they’re going like, Oh, what is that? I’m very curious about this. And I’m very, like, that’s where I want to get into exploring and but it was a gradual It was a grad, it was a journey that was probably over four or five years of figuring out what that was fine tuning it doing that because I can’t also reject the background that I came from before I found Scotty which was the comedy based. So, but what I could do was take that and just readapt it really just, you know, move it slightly to the left, give it a different perspective of the whole thing. And then now how can I use that with this new thing that I’m doing and like make it flow make it make it into Something that seamless instead of, I’m using this skill. And now I’m using this skill. Now I’m going back to this skill. So it was a journey, it was
figuring out how to do it for myself. Hmm.
So do you feel like this journey where you finally figured it out? happened
before you moved to Portugal or after? Because that’s a big move.
I’m like, how did you get there? You know, you’re doing improv. You’re having a good time. New York is a solid place. How do you decide to make such a huge move? And then do you have to start over again, like in their improv scene? How’s that go?
wow. So I didn’t feel like I had to start over because I felt that improv inherently with the yes and thing. And because, well, let’s face it, we both taught level one and you get all sorts of people from all walks of life.
Some are a little bit more same than others.
So I think it’s just the natural, less ending and hey, do you want to play too? Well, come on, let’s go. And so I never felt like I ever had to adjust. It was always in improv for me, as much as it has been, is a group activity. But it’s been very personal exploration for myself. It’s been the way that I have gotten to know and discover who I am as a person and what what I can naturally bring to any situation. In terms of the big move, I mean, if I want to say the big move, then I have to go back to when I was five years old, and my parents got divorced. And I moved from Hawaii to Colorado. Oh, no. Because if I think about like, had I stayed in Hawaii? Like, I don’t think I would be involved in improv. I don’t think I would have been involved in the theater. I mean, maybe, maybe, but you know, they’re not. What was going on when I was growing up there? Sure. It’s there, though, isn’t it? Sure. Did you have them now? Especially now, now they have schools, on Oahu and on Maui. But, I mean, I mean, maybe improv existed there, but I mean, you don’t think of fine theater in Hawaii? No, you don’t think of that. You think hula you think surfing Do you think Yeah, right, sure. All those other things? It’s, yeah, I probably would have been a beach bum or less invested in Hawaii.
No, you wouldn’t. You would be a really great concierge at a hotel.
Because the concierge gets to do everything that you know, a theatre person does, but with a very pointed bit of information that they’re providing. And they get to be on stage at the concierge desk all day. And then they get to go home and be quiet. Like we’re talking about.
Yep. You know what, you’re absolutely right. I’d be in the hotel business. I mean,
honest to goodness, like legit.
like tiny bit of side advice here, everybody. If you’re a theater person, and you’re looking for a day job of some kind, hotels are great. You’re standing at a desk, which is your stage and you talk to people all day, and you have a basic script, but you can mostly schmooze all day long. It’s a great job.
Yep. are getting in the repetition of doing a script is go out and find out who’s a who the companies are that do live demonstrations at like Costco.
Yeah. Those are good too.
Yeah, that’s interacting. You have the script, you have a little bit of improvisation in there. Oop, the vacuum that you’re showing broke a little bit. So now you have to improvise out of it. And, but you’re talking all day, you’re getting paid.
See, now my theory is that you would have found improv or performance in some way, even if you were still there. But it would be different. The incarnation of it definitely would be different. Because you’re right, like the tourism requires that there’s a certain kind of entertainment that’s probably making the most money there. And it’s the very, very stereotypical sort of situation like check out how Hawaiian we are. As opposed to, you know, I’m sure there’s regular comedy clubs and regular like, I don’t know, dance bars and whatever. I mean, it’s a place with people. You know what I mean? Like, it’s not just the beach. Everybody’s got to be there. But, you know, I feel like even though though though I do like the tangent of like cool jobs that theater people could get and still get the fix. Because Because I think that’s a real, that’s a real thing. I think about that all the time. Whenever I talk to like my friends who are trying to do like, I have a few comedian friends that went to LA and like, you know, they’re not making millions of dollars or anything. So they needed a job. And I’m like, Okay, well then the day job you need to get because it’s not your passion or your life. You don’t want to be a doctor or whatever. So you’re not just looking for a job. You need to find a job that either gives you a skill you need, or gives you a discount at a place where you need that. That’s it. That’s what you need in your life. What kind of skill do you need? Like you said with the with the doing demonstrations in Costco, that would be perfect. Do you have a problem with memorization? Well, let me show you how, in a super low stakes scenario, all you got to talk about is these tortillas. No one’s mad if you say the wrong word.
Like and you know, and if we think about it, you probably did 80 shows in one day,
Absolutely. Are you nervous about audience interaction as a stand up do that job? You’re talking to people all day long? Yeah, isn’t that a good hot dog? Don’t you want to buy it box right here? Here’s a coupon that’s the same thing as like, here’s a joke. What do you think? You don’t seem to like it? I bet you if I tag on this other thing you like get a likes it. You know, right. Like it’s just a way of reinventing but I also believe that we all are who we are no matter what and we will find our way to Doing what we’re supposed to do. Now, based on my previously mentioned 18 year theory, sometimes you do it in the first round, sometimes you do it in the second round. Sometimes you do it in the third or the fourth round. You might not figure it out, you know, maybe you know Hawaiian Steven, who’s still there, you know, that incarnation of you wouldn’t have found performing until his like, you know, mid 40s. You know, something happened. He works as the concierge, things are good. Why am I looking for another job? I don’t need one. This resorts paying me Well, they got insurance, great, doing my job, having a fun time, doing whatever, and then someone’s like, you should take an improv class. And he’s like, what’s that? And it’s not even yet like, like that world. Like, and if it’s there right now, then you if you still live there could see it could do it. It could happen. I believe we’re all just doing what we’re supposed to be doing. And if we’re not, and if you feel like you’re not listener who’s listening to this right now, if you feel like you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing. And you know the thing. Oh my god, just do it. Like, drop everything right now and do it. There’s no money in the world that you absolutely need, like, help each other out, guys, you know what I mean? Get roommates get like help your friends babysit their kids so they can go, you know, write for two hours a day, like do things to help each other. You know what I mean? Like, we should all be able to enjoy ourselves. I feel like I’ve cut off your story about how we got to Portugal though. Your big move from Hawaii was the like one that you felt was the like big life changer. So Oh, later in your life when it came to the point of moving to Portugal what it was like no big deal. You’re like, yeah, that’s just something people do. I’m fine with it. Well,
I mean, it’s a big deal in the sense of like, oh, wow, you’re uprooting your life. You’re moving to a completely different country where you don’t speak the language and you are going to try And do something that is in its very infantile stages out here.
Yeah, that’s what you did.
Yeah. So no, that’s not an easy choice. But I do feel that, that at some point, it will. It’s like, it wasn’t. It wasn’t something that I said, I’m going to sit down here. And I’m not leaving until I figure out if I’m leaving to Portugal or not. And then also, I have my wife, who is from Portugal as well. And so I had to also take into consideration her feelings on the matter, because I’m not moving to Portugal alone. So, um, it wasn’t, it was, gosh, I think I brought it up and it took us two years to finally come to the decision of Yeah, we should do this. I really think we should do this. I think it’s the right move. And then it took us another year and a half, two years to ask. actually made the move. So it wasn’t ever really a light move. I think the process the long process of it made it made sure that it wasn’t a light move.
But by the time that that happened, it was just, it just felt natural. Because in heights, thank you.
What about how did you get there to start though? Did you go to a festival in Lisbon and you fell in love with the crowd? Or did you? like did you guys visit for Christmas to see her family and You liked it? Or, like what? Especially in this story, you’ve brought it up? Like it wasn’t like, she was like, Hey, I miss my mother. I’d like to go live near her. And you were like, cool, I can do that. She like you were the one in your story. Anyway, we’re the one who was like, Hey, you know, it’d be a cool idea. Let’s move here. And that it just seems kind of like how did it even occur?
So, um, what my, my, my wife and I have been married for 10 years now. And so I think it was maybe nine years ago was my first trip to Portugal. And one, it was a beautiful country, amazing people. But I don’t know how to say it was like everybody that I met here. And there was very I think there might have been one or two improv groups, at the time didn’t see any Improv Theater or anything while I was out there. But it was just like this feeling of
artistically, there were so many talented people in this tiny condensed area of land known as Portugal. And in Lisbon, especially there just seemed to be this, like, the pot is on the stove and things are and the water is just getting ready to boil. You know, like there was something that was going to happen. There was something that there was an energy there was, it wasn’t going to happen next year wasn’t going to maybe happen in the next five years. But, you know, maybe in 10 years or something like the the creativity and the explosion of art that’s going to happen in this country is not going to be able to be contained at some point. And so, that was my first introduction into Portugal. And I believe it was on that trip that I turned her and I went, I can live here, which freaked her out. And then I said, No, no, no, not now. Not now. I don’t I don’t want to pack up and leave New York now. But in the future, I could live here. I think I I dig it. I dig the country, I dig the culture, the food, the people, you know, I could do it. And then slowly as we kept coming back, a little bit more, improv was starting to drop in or there was a sound of another group that was being started somewhere in the thing in the country. And at some point, I came out here, I was like, well, let’s just see. So I taught a workshop and people came out to it. And that was about four or five years ago now. And so it was at that point, I was like, well, maybe there’s a market here. There’s a market here that I’m not quite seeing that. People seem to be interested in this. It’s definitely You know, people are curious people want to try and do something different here. So that’s kind of a few of the steps that really made me go. I think Portugal
fascinating that you had your eye on the development of this place creatively. Do you enjoy being part of you know, things as they’re beginning? Have you ever been part of like a school or a theater as it began?
Oh, well as an actor, every play, every project that you ever take.
There is always that beginning and being there and seeing how it grows and ebbs. I wouldn’t know if essentially like I was looking for it. Like, Everywhere I go, that’s where my mind goes to was Just something that I noticed at the time when we were here. And at some point, it just made sense. You know, it’s, it’s like a good Harold. You’re doing all this stuff in the beginning and you’re going, What is this, but then by p3 or something you’re going, Oh, it makes sense now. Okay, let’s that’s kind of what the journey was like for me. Yeah.
Yeah, I guess, like one at a time.
It’s like we were talking about earlier with, like awareness. Like, it takes a little while for you to be aware that the number one thing that you notice when you go there was the sort of creative scene and how it was developing. You know what I mean? Like, I’ll, I try to do that for myself. You know, like, I tried to notice what I’m thinking about or what things are attracting me like I’m like, I’ve noticed that i’ve you know, been into this. A couple At times, like that’s unusual, or, you know, something that I didn’t like, and all of a sudden I’m like, into it. I’m like, Oh, I guess I’ve turned around on that, like, I’m feeling like I can soak it up now. You know, it’s it’s really just a matter of finding, hearing your own, you know, interests and kind of putting it together. But I just, I guess I wondered if you were when you were looking at the scene and seeing how it was happening there. If you were interested in going and helping it grow, or if you were just like, Oh, cool. This is a burgeoning thing. I can just get in on it. As it starts, like cuz I’m an organizer. Like, if I see something’s about to start, I walk in and I’m like, I’m ready with some pens on a clipboard. What can I organize like, I’m, I’m into it, like, you know, I’m like, show me where the Google docs are. I’ll make them into
like, I’m calling you to produce my new my next play.
Right? I mean, that’s, that’s the first thing I think of because I came from stage management. That was my, that’s how I got into theater.
But so that’s where I start. I start with a book and a and some, you know, things well mapped out. And then we see how it goes.
Oh, yeah, um, I don’t know if I was that conscious. Yeah. Um, I guess like, because if you are I actually no, I will say I was not that conscience. Because I knew that. Like when we first moved here, a little over a year ago. That was probably my first two three months was really what is the industry out here? What is going on? What what is what are people doing? With this and where can I find my place in this world? And it just so happened to be that it was in its beginning stages and going like, oh, okay, well, I guess I have to start from the ground up instead of just like, inserting myself somewhere. So, um, yeah, I don’t think I was actively conscious about that idea of like, Oh, it’s starting. I need to be there. I think it just kind of organically happened that way.
I thought maybe that was your, like, part of the reason why you wanted to go it’s like, you know, cuz New York can be so entrenched with like, old drama in everything, even though even though like improv is new, you know, essentially, there’s still old drama. And it’s like, there’s so much going on. And even the way you spoke about your personal education, like you’re like, I didn’t go to these schools. I you know, learned everything on my own and put it together and now I’m, you know, my own my own creature and not like beholden to the lessons of this one group. So it sounds to me like you’re a go getter in the way of improv like, it’s not like you don’t need some school telling you the rules, you’ll find the rules. So that that made me think that when you were going to Portugal, you were like, let me find my other people who are like figuring it out as they go along. And I suppose you word just without, you know, consciously being aware of what’s going on. Have you found a good crowd there now? Have you like you got a good theater group and you’re feeling like you’re creatively fulfilled?
Yes, yes, I am. And I have found a great group of people out here. My producing partner lawanna is from Brazil. And as far as I know, we’re the only improv jam in Portugal right now. Oh, yeah. So I mean, and because the thing is, is that in Portugal, there are a lot of groups. Well, not a lot, I should say. That’s definitely under 15 in the whole country, probably that are recognized as groups and not just like GarageBand groups. Hmm. Um, but the thing is, is that if, aside from maybe one or two of them, each group is kind of isolated on their own island. Yeah. So there’s no talking, there’s no interaction, or if there is I’m not aware of it. But there’s no, I don’t know. And it was very strange to me coming from New York, where everybody studies at the big three, and then it I don’t care who you studied with, I’m looking at the person And the talent, if I’m going to hire if I want you to come play in my show. So the lines are always, you’re always reaching over the lines in New York. And so for here, when portugal is very interesting to me to see a bunch of these groups that existed, and but they really didn’t interact with each other. And so I was starting to talk to a bunch of people who were like, Yeah, I like improv, but it’s like, I take a class and it’s like, what do I do next? Because most 99% of the theaters out here are, are federally funded. Oh, so it’s not again, it’s not like New York where I had a list of 12 theaters that if I needed to show I just get on the phone and I start calling people. And by the end of the list, I’m probably going to have a theater. Yeah, yeah. So Hear if I want a show in February. So next month, I would have had to schedule it last June.
Wow. Yeah. So you really have to plan ahead.
Well, I mean, that’s what everybody is, is does out here because they have to propose their entire year to the government in order to get their federal assistance. Wow. That’s interesting. So a lot of federal assistance
for improv or no, you mentioned a lot of GarageBand teams.
Yeah, a lot of teams that are just there in the garage. They’re practicing or, I don’t know, with the coach, sometimes maybe without a coach most of the times, but it’s just a bunch of people who get together because they took an improv class together. They like it and they just want to keep doing it. Yeah, and so they get together at somebody’s house, twice a month. They go Through the run of games that they’re going through, and then that’s it, but it never amounts to a show, necessarily. It never amounts to anything past the garage. So right now, it’s it’s me trying to find a space or trying to find an organization or something that I can either open or piggyback upon. That will give these Raj banders a place to perform. Yeah, just space. Yeah. Because people want to do it here. And that’s why to me the jam was so was so important is because, again, because of the groups are so kind of isolated from each other. I pinpointed and said, Okay, I need to start with the community. I need to build a community basically, or tap into the community that’s already there and pull them The strings a little bit tighter so that everyone’s you know, we’re all in the same boat type type of the thing. That’s nice. And then the jam was was was a great idea because one, it’s community and then two, it’s getting all those people who are doing the garage band thing. They now have a place to come and play twice a month.
Now, where’s that? Did you find a space for that? That’s a thing
that I that I did find a space. It is in a little cafe called Liverpool II. And the staff there has been wonderful to us. And we have we actually just had a meeting and we are going to continue for another year. So the spaces are free of charge for us. We just have to take care of it while we’re there. And then send people upstairs to go drink at the bar.
So working For us in that sense, but yeah, you know. So we’re almost a year old. In March, I think we’re a year old. But we went from having to three people in a gym, to now we’re averaging somewhere around 25.
That’s great. You’re really are building the community. See you’re doing it without even realizing you’re doing it.
Isn’t that the best way where the best things come from though is doing something without realizing you’re doing it as surprised at the end that you did it?
Yeah. That’s actually the best improv I think, is it? Like oh my god, you did this thing. And then the person’s like, what I did what I love
I mean, I have this theory of
any improviser who has done just an amazing show. We’ll never remember actually what that show was about.
They just know they had a good show.
I have an audience
for their or their partners that are going. Oh, and when you did this, and when you did, and you go, I did that. Oh, good for me.
Yeah. Yeah. When I’m in class, and I’m like, giving notes to them, and you know, like, you know, you’ll give notes and they’ll just be like, okay, I don’t I have no recollection of what you’re talking about. But sure, I’ll do that in the future. And you’re like, you’re like lit. I’ll say, Listen, I know that. When you’re in a scene. It’s like if the static is turned up on a TV, and you’re also talking and you hear the voices in your own head going like this is not going well. What maybe you do this? Is there an umbrella here? What’s going on? Maybe you’re a draft like
and it’s like,
and you’re staring at another person and there’s the audience. So there’s a lot going on, when you’re on On stage, when you’re the onstage person, it makes total sense that your brain would just erase what what just happened and walk away because it’s so much sensory overload. But those of us who are watching the scene that are sitting outside, you know, we have the benefit of being able to be like, Oh, yeah, we’ll see there you brought up the bear So why didn’t you bring up more bears? You could have like, followed that path? Like they’re like I talked about a bear what what did that have to do? I was like, I don’t know. Like, that’s what you said, though. You know, like we don’t the the point of view, you have to acknowledge that their point of view is so like, in a total like wind tunnel of insanity. And then I’m sitting in the lead calm outside watching it going like, Well, you know, I was like, so don’t feel bad. If my notes are like, I don’t even know how to take that note. It’s like, it’s fine and just stuff I wrote down while you were doing your scene.
Like one of the one of the things that I’m doing right now is actually Because long form as you and I know it doesn’t exist in Portugal a long form as what we would consider montage or Harold is actually called free form out here. Long Form for them is actually hero’s journey. So when I came in and I was like, Oh, so what about organic improv? Are you doing any of that? Oh, no. What’s organic? Are you doing Harold or I read about it and truth and comedy? What about a montage? Why do we need a montage for something? It was just, it was almost like people knew about it. It’s like Bigfoot. They heard about it, but they’ve never seen it before. No, but they believe it. It’s out there somewhere. So no, currently I’m in the process of Got a few people together, and I am training them in long form. And so hopefully in March, because we’re still waiting to hear back from the space, but in March, we will hopefully be putting up the first show of this. And he like some of these couple of these people will have been improvising hero’s journey for a while now. And then I’m telling them, oh, but you got to look at this pattern. Well, what did you say before remember this? Or did you remember this character or that you put up or this line that suit and they’re going, ah, what? And you can see the head their head is just spinning with the amount of information that’s on the stage. Yeah, um,
but it’s good to hear you switch from geometry, trigonometry, and you’re like, I see the numbers are the same, but I don’t know what you’re trying You’re telling me to do with them?
algebra one, algebra two even
where you’re like, wait,
now what? No, there’s a cosine.
No, no, no, you’re gonna show me what it looks like. What do you mean? You’re gonna show you what it looks like, get on here. Give me a wave. Okay, you can draw. But that’s not a real thing. Yeah.
In college I took a class called number theory because that’s what they made you take when you were a drama major number. And it was like, literally the historical context of like, the people who came up with numbers and like, what was going on with like, people like puffy sagaris that they were coming up with this kind of stuff. Like it was like, kind of a history class on mathematicians was like, huh?
And then kind of philosophical to like, but what’s a number
like okay, man, what is number Good.
So that’s actually true for that class.
I did not want to take it. I was a big math nerd. And I tried to get into the upper level math courses because I liked them. And they were like, you’re a theater major. And I was like, I know, can I just take the class? And they’re like, it doesn’t help you. And I was like, Who cares? It’s interesting. Like, can I take a listen, I’ll take the placement test. I took the placement test, I like got into an upper level math and they were like, you know what? Okay, we really didn’t think you were gonna make it. You made it. That’s great. Don’t take the class. Like we need the space for the people taking pre med and like biology and math as a major. You can’t don’t take the class
was like, fine.
I guess whatever ruining my possible education. I just need I just was fascinated by it. I didn’t I didn’t think I would be able to use it. I just thought you know, hey,
Cool, but but you don’t know if you’re gonna be able to use it unless you learn it
until they let me know. Let me see.
Yeah, okay. I don’t want to get political on to the education system and everything like that.
No, we are wrapping up, which is to say, I am excited about your journey right now in Lisbon. I’m excited that you are involved in building this community and, and new styles and whatnot. I’m really excited for that. I think that that is a really great journey that you’re on. I want to thank you so much for being on the podcast and sharing your stories. I feel like we’ve had some really interesting talks about improv theory and you know, like, how to get it done and even a lot of good advice about like, what kind of regular day jobs you can get that also help you use your abilities and whatnot. Like it’s been a very informative talk, and I really Really appreciate you being on the podcast
was my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me on.
Yeah, cool. And have more stuff from Steven can be found in the links of the website post. And if you’re in Lisbon, go hang out, learn how to do improv if you know some improv and you want to figure out other kinds, please check it out. I guess I’m also hoping that the listeners in Lisbon speak English and that’s just me being American and assuming everyone speaks my language. Alright, so thank you ladies, gentlemen, for listening. Thank you see him for being on the show.
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