Stop, Collaborate, and Listen – Saturday March 27th
by Mike Kosinski
This workshop will emphasize the importance of ensemble work while striving to find a playful mindset in which we react and feel rather than think. Exercises and scene work focus on finding the “flow” in scenes that make shows feel effortless. Come to this workshop prepared to slow down your play, sharpen your focus, and utilize group mind to find the elements that make scenes, games, and shows work.
MIKE KOSINSKI has spent the last three years performing and teaching sketch and improv comedy with the Second City Theater aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines. Before taking to the sea, he trained in Chicago where he also performed at the i.O. Theater, The Annoyance Theater, ComedySportz Chicago, The Playground Theater, and as part of several independent groups. Mike has also traveled the country to provide improv and sketch entertainment for corporate events
Notes for posterity:
Mike had great energy! He made this class a lot of fun just by being very open and interested in working with us on the subject matter he introduced. For warm-ups we did a couple of quick rounds of group sound-scaping. Someone would start with a tone and people would add in with a different sound and together as a group we had to find a natural ending. We then passed around a sound and motion, letting it be inspired and exaggerated by what we got from the person who gave it to us versus trying to mimic exactly what the first person had done. At a certain point Mike would yell out to stop the passing of the movement and the person who had it would have to start a scene with the person that they were going to “give” the pulse to. After this, we then did a series of scenes inspired by a movement and sound to get out the wiggles.
The groups were then split into two, and each group went on stage and had to start with a defined movement (a recognizable physical interpretation of an activity) morph it into an undefined movement, exaggerate it, and then from that, create another defined movement (we did not have to follow as a group, each individual ended up with a different defined movement at the end). Following that we did group scenes of five to six people, that involved starting a two-person scene, reaching a group game moment (involving movement and sound – defined to undefined), and then re-entering the original two-person scene with a change inspired from the group scene previously.
We did a series of six-person scenes that involved pairing of two’s. Each scene pairing would have a normal two-person scene and the other four players would be background elements/people of these scenes. We rotated through the pairings with the “extra” people (not two main characters of the scene) inhabiting different additions to each scene depending on what they originally offered and/or their new positioning at that moment.
At the end, we created a beginning of a long-form in these five to six-person groups; we created openings inspired by sound-scaping, went into a two-person scene, and then a sound-scaping group scene, and a different two-person scene (unrelated to the first) with the “extra” people adding in as scene painting.
New exercise highlight:
I really liked the rotating of 3 two-person groupings on stage, with each pairing behaving as background “color.” Trying to find seamless ways of incorporating what we were doing into a new scene without it being related was really fun to play with and experience.