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Back in 1989 when I first started studying improv, I wanted to get all the materials I could get my hands on to read about my art. There was a used bookstore on Clark Street in Chicago. I wandered in there looking for improv books. I remember thinking how strange that they put the improv section right next to the occult section, rather than next to the theater section.

There is something mystical about improv. There is something that extends beyond our senses when we are on an improv stage. We're getting outside of our heads, and our bodies to connect with other people. We're dealing with something bigger than ourselves. If you are not a mystic, then this thing that were talking...

Got Group Mind?

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  • Thu, 04/07/2016
Group in improv with hands up

Group mind is the crowning achievement of improvisational theater. It is when all of us on stage are connected and participating and none of us are leading and the piece moves forward to it's inevitable conclusion, that no one saw coming. Our mirroring neurons are synched up and we are all thinking the same way. It is a rare event. Even when it does happen, sometimes it is just for a moment, or maybe a scene or if we are lucky we may reach group mind for a whole set. It is when we are on stage and feel like every move made is precipitated by the move before it. Everyone's choices are in...

Why "Where" Work? - Classic Bovine Blog

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  • Fri, 04/01/2016
Improv class in middle of act

This blog is part of a series of "Classic Bovine Blogs." These are blog posts that we managed to recover from our old website that crashed in 2014. This blog was written by Eric Farone and originally posted on July 22nd 2010.

The first thing we teach in classes is object work and where work, the act of creating props and a set (location) out of thin air. It is also the first thing dropped by many improvisers as they learn new skills. If you teach someone how to do gibberish or character work, objects and the where fall by the wayside. When I look at YouTube...

We are creators!

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  • Tue, 03/22/2016

We are artists. We are comedians. We are creators.

When we are on stage we are creating. We are bringing something new onto the stage and into the world. We create new characters and worlds. We have a responsibility to create something we love.

Mary Shelley's Dr. Frankenstein creates life without love. So much so that the doctor then begins to loathe the creature he has created. After giving life to the creature, "I issued into the streets, pacing them with quick steps, as if I sought to avoid the wretch whom I feared every turning of the street would present to my view. I...

We Can Be Heroes - Classic Bovine Blog

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  • Thu, 03/17/2016
Improv class in middle of an act

This blog is part of a series of "Classic Bovine Blogs." These are blog posts that we managed to recover from our old website that crashed in 2014. This blog was written by Eric Farone and originally posted on March 15th, 2011.

Who Are You? ~ The Who

In improv I tell people to “be a character”. To some people this just means try to be someone besides themselves. So they change their body, or their speech, or even just hold onto an attitude just to get outside of themselves and into a character. All these choices get them a bit...

What is a "bad" audience?

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  • Tue, 03/01/2016
Improv show audience making funny faces

We have been performing "On The Spot" for 16 years here at the theater. Often the players are quick to blame they audience for a bad show. "They were a bad house" I have heard far too often (I may have even said it myself once or twice).

We have had sold out houses, small houses, tired houses, responsive houses, and mostly crazy fan audiences. The point is, that we have seen a ton of different audiences and only a handful have been "bad". For me, a bad audience is one that is where one person or a small group is too distracted to pay attention. If a group or individual is very drunk...

"Yes, &" SHUT UP!

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  • Thu, 02/25/2016

"Yes, &" doesn't mean "Shut up and do it my way". It is not a weapon to be wielded by the first person who speaks.

"Yes, &" is about collaboration. That means that I need to give and take. For those of you not familiar with "give and take" it means you and I both have to "shut up" at some point during the scene and let our partner contribute too. It also means we must speak up and build on what has come before at some point too.

If my partner does an "&" that I did not expect, it is my job to go with it and "Yes, &" their idea. I shouldn't get mad, correct, or...