Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Idiot Intensive Weekend 2014

Steve and Don waiting for the action to begin.

The weekend of June 27th was one full of fun and excitement for the Village Idiots. For the first time in over a year, the idiots got together for hours on end to learn forgotten concepts, practice rusty skills, and have tons of fun with each other.

Let's face it, it's been a bit of a rough year for the Village Idiots. 
Steve and Curtis embrace. Irwin thinking, "Oh, to be a young man again."

How much molestation can a poor pillar endure?  
Since the end of November 2013 it was more appropriate to call ourselves the "Nomad Idiots," given that we kept bouncing from place to place and didn't stay long enough to set our roots. We bid farewell to our infamous pillar, traveled upstairs to the Upstage Theater (that only lasted one set of shows in New Year's Eve) and performed sporadically at the Writer's and Books gallery while we continued our search for a permanent home.

This madness went on until we discovered our kindred spirit group, Bread & Water Theatre - they're our serious-theater equivalent of sorts.

We have now moved into their theater located at 172 W Main St. as artists in residence. We hope to be partners in crime for as long as possible, and have been sharing responsibilities of getting the place ready for all of our fans to enjoy!


We kicked off the 3-day event with a Characters & Physicality workshop on Friday. We discovered our inner squeaky voices, monstrous strolls, and explored different ways to break the laws of physics!

Steve is like Superman... without any of the upper body strength. 

Laura, stop breaking things!
Ed Keegan
Friday evening, we had special guest and Rhythm Connect owner, Ed Keegan, facilitate a drum circle for us.

The fun was never ending and the whole experience felt like a journey from rhythm and melody to chaos and cacophony and back to pleasant music.

The whole group is already looking forward to another similar experience!
--- Thanks, Ed!
We began our Saturday morning with some Elizabethan speech lessons... That is, "how to sound like Shakespeare without really being a Shakespeare nut." We covered all the different verbal seasonings for our spoken platter, but we all agreed that the best part was getting to insult people repeatedly with goofy, funny sounding, outdated words. Like hedge-pig. We all loved hedge-pig.

Irwin and Steve learning how to read.
We grabbed some lunch together and continued playing, now Short-Form Games & Scenes. We were reminded of how to grade our own performances based on game structure proficiency, mastery of energy flow, and creative presentation. We then tried to repackage some of the Village Idiots classics - such as the Pillars game, where we got to ask Jesus what his favorite food was.
(¡sǝᴉɹɹǝqʍɐɹʇS :ɹǝʍsu∀)

We then had another special guest, Barry Kur, a renowned Lessac Instructor and Professor Emeritus at Penn State University. (Arthur Lessac founded the Lessac Kinesensic Training System for the Voice and Body.) Through the 6-hour Lessac for Voice and Body course, the Village Idiots explored how to create different realities with their bodies based on the potency, buoyancy, and radiancy of our actions. We then experienced how our voice truly originates from the nature of our movements and state of action. It was an innovative experience for our group that, at times, may have looked more like a hostage situation than a theatre workshop (in the words of Teacher Kur).

In Steve's cab, Izzie is dying and Brian just wants a compliment. 
Although the Voice and Body workshop took place over two days (Saturday evening and Sunday morning), let's not skip the Saturday late night Improv Jam! Most of the idiots (those that were not already burnt out by our full schedule of activities) stayed for a few hours and played with each other. Given our busy lives, it isn't often that we get to share the stage all together at the same time. Familiar and not so familiar faces played as one and were already including the great lessons learned during the past couple of days in their creations! Needless to say, it was a blast to see some of the scenes take place.

"What kind of improv intensive would this be without the challenge of long-form?" many improvisors may ask. Well, it's not like the weekend hadn't already surpassed the expectations of the participants already, but we did want to cover as much ground as possible. So, without further ado, the Harolds & Long-Form Techniques workshop came around.

Swithun = security guard. Martha = "I don't care!"
Curtis and Molly perform their e-commerce dance.
Steve just waiting around.

After that, we polished our musical bone with the Creating Songs workshop. Some of the evening's favorites were:

Swithun, Cris, Steve, and David = "Dystopia in the Key of E"
"♪♫ ~ Old people... We can't get into our pants ~ ♫♪"


"♪♫ ~ Don't do crack... Uncle Joe, put that needle down ~ ♫♪"

If you'd like to listen to some of our musical hits, let us know! We're thinking about creating a completely improvised song album if the demand for it is high enough ♥

The last (but not least, by any means) event of the intensive weekend was the Sketch Writing Review workshop. The very talented improvisors also have writing chops, if you didn't already know, and because of the great ideas shared at this event we may dabble in sketch if the conditions are right. (To our fans far away from Rochester - No worries, we would probably put the videos up online instead of performing them live~)

Now that the weekend is over we realize how truly *INTENSIVE* this series of events was. Nevertheless, despite the exhaustion and burnt-out brain cells, we already have a follow-up intensive in the works. Hopefully it will be just as good or, who knows, could it get even better?

As a final note, the Village Idiots would like to thank Rachel Baumgarten for her wonderful photography skills and Molly Hill for playing with us throughout the weekend. It was clear to us that this event would not have been the same without them!

That being said, we now leave you with the complete album of the Village Idiots Intensive Pictures - Enjoy!