Applied Improvisation

I just returned from giving a keynote at the Applied Improvisation Network conference, in Chicago–the legendary world headquarters for improv theater.  This is a fascinating and fund group of performers and teachers.  I was delighted to discover that improv has gone international–lots of folks from Europe, Asia, and Australia had flown in for the event.

It’s an unusual experience to be surrounded by people who are experts in making YOU look good (one of the hallmarks of an experienced improviser).  You let your guard down and relax.

In my keynote, I talked about how I was the designer of the FoodFight videogame home cartridge for the Atari 7800.  At the evening banquet later that night, five actors created a skit and improvised characters from the videogame (including the chefs and the ice cream cone).  I was invited up to play the role of the main character, Charlie Chuck…and yes, I made it to the ice cream cone!

The speaker that night was Mick Napier, founder and director of Chicago’s legendary Annoyance Theatre (and also an active director at Second City).  He was phenomenal, and provided honest and profound insights into acting, directing, and the Chicago scene.

Call one of these folks if you’re looking to make your organization more collaborative, more trusting, or to enhance communication skills throughout a group.