Thursday, March 14, 2013

Saying "Yes, and" to Wide Eyed Improv with Brennan Lowery

All photos by Kristin Skye Hoffmann

 Wide Eyed Productions is hosting a series of improv forums moderated by Jeff Adams (Cardboard Box Theatre Team (Founder); Inoperable Humor (Member, Santa Clara, CA); Sanguine Humours (Captain, Educator); "Drew" in our FringeNYC 2012 production of Animals by Sam Byron) and Brennan Lowery (Second City Conservatory, iO Harold Team (Meridian); Playground House Team (The Grrr), The Whethermen (Member, Charlottesville, VA)).

Experienced improvisers and beginners are equally welcome. Why don’t you come and join us? Our next session will be held 12:00-2:00pm this Sunday, March 17, at The New School, 151 Bank St., in Manhattan. It’s free to participate. Come out and play with us! (Please note this is the final general improv group meeting. Going forward, we will be moving into more targeted groups with specific meeting times.) Contact us at for more details. 

[We met up with Brennan Lowery to see how the improv group is coming along, and thought you might be interested, as well! - Ed.]
  • Please tell us about how this project was conceived. What led you to want to host this improv forum for Wide Eyed? 
Kristin Hoffmann, a classmate of ours at The New School for Drama, has worked extensively with Jeff and with me. She mentioned wanting to start an improv troupe at Wide Eyed, and we both expressed interest in getting on board in the early stages. She has enough trust in us that she asked us to head it up ourselves, and the first session was a blast. I, personally, consider improv my favorite art form, and I am thrilled to finally have an outlet to get back into it. 

  • Can you give us a little taste of what's happened in the previous sessions? 
Right now, we just want to see where everyone is coming from in terms of their improv experience and how willing they are to get out there and make big, bold choices. We ran a few warm-ups to get a little more familiar with everyone, and then we ran a few short form improv games. Short form improv is typically rule-based (think Whose Line Is It Anyway?) and is a good way to get used to thinking on your feet. I was impressed with what I saw coming out of the people who had never done it before. Improv is truly for everyone interested. 
  • How would you say the final general session on March 17 might be different? Do you have a game plan in mind, or are you (wait for it) …improvising? 
I see what you did there. The upcoming session will be much of the same, with maybe a little more of an introduction into long form improv. We really are looking to establish a good foundation of people that are interested and want to continue coming out. The more, the merrier (i.e., more troupes!), so anyone and everyone should be interested in coming out. We have people that have done it for several years all the way to last week was their first time, which was a true joy to watch and be part of. 

  • Do either of you see this forum as perhaps being a gateway project of sorts (i.e., it might lead to a troupe, or perhaps a piece of devised theatre), or would you say this is more like a playground, where acting muscles get stretched? 
I think it is both --- we are intending to form a troupe for Wide Eyed (or troupes, depending on how many people regularly show up), and we are also going to continue to have open forum sessions where everyone can come. One of the most important facets of improv is trusting in your scene partners, so we really are looking for players that are willing to support their scene partners and produce good art. Thinking of it like a big playground is a great analogy, and playgrounds are always more fun (and way less creepy) when more people are there. 

  • I know both of you are currently students at the New School. Can you tell us a little bit about any upcoming projects you may have in the hopper? 
Jeff and I are both in an upcoming production of Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It. I am playing the role of Charles the Wrestler and Jacques, while Jeff is the studliest of studs, Orlando. It goes up May 2-4 at The New School (same place the improv show is), and tickets are free. Hope to see you there!

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