Comedian Fred Allen once said, “All I know about humor is that I don’t know anything about it.” We are offering a great opportunity for those who would like to learn. Read on to learn about a special, 50% discount off of the improv comedy workshop The Blueprint!
Taught by Paul Valenti and Chris Booth, the eight-week workshop will be held at The Tank on Mondays at 7 PM from February 27th to April 16th. Focusing on the fundamentals of improv comedy and scene building, the class will be broken into two parts. The first half teaches movement and space work and the second focuses on emotional connections and working with a partner or partners. Following the conclusion of the workshop, an improv show will be held at the The Tank.
Valenti and Booth are experienced comedians and performers. Valenti is part of the internationally award winning sketch comedy group The Chris and Paul show and has studied at the internationally renowned Second City. He has worked in New York based schools for several years, teaching students.
Booth is a member of the award-winning sketch comedy group City Hall. He has also worked with the sketch group Punching the Midget. Booth has an extensive background in comedy, having studied improv with Paul Siles, Joe Bill, Second City and at the People’s Improv Theater and taken various workshops and master classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade, the Magnet, as well as comedia del arte performance groups.
Teaching improv comedy is nothing new to Booth and Valenti. Booth has coached improv teams before, including Start Trekkin and Black Boxes in the Corner. When discussing his previous teaching experiences, Booth mentioned a student who was having trouble connecting emotionally with his fellow classmates, using jokes or puns in every response. Booth worked with him one-on-one, helping him to be himself in a scene without using funny voices or trying to “control” the scene.
“Afterwards, he told me it was the most relaxed he had ever been on stage, and it was also the best response he ever received from an audience,” Booth said.
Booth is the comedy curator at The Tank, a performance venue that offers inexpensive resources to artists. This mission aligns with intentions for teaching The Blueprint.
“Some actors and/or comedians may be very interested in improv but don’t know whether they want to commit the time and money needed to enroll in one of the three big improve schools (UCB, The PIT, The Magnet),” Booth said. “This is a way to get a basic understanding of what performance improv is and whether or not it is a tool that you (the performer) want to sharpen.”
Another unique aspect of The Blueprint is the combined educational background of Booth and Valenti. The combined backgrounds of the two offer offer roots in Del Close’s methods as well as Second City, the Annoyance, Paul Siles, Viola Spolin, and comedia.
“For me good improv comedy is rooted in three things; reality, emotional truth, and strong story telling,” Booth said. “That’s not to say that all scenes have to have those things and some of my favorite improv scenes I’ve seen or been a part of have a healthy dose of unreality; but the performers (on stage) agreed on the reality (before they broke it).
“Beyond heightening, ‘the rule of three’, and status shifting (all improve tools) there is nothing more powerful (and funny) than two people having a real/emotional conversation with a beginning, middle, and end.”
Booth and Valenti hope the class will introduce improv comedy to people who have not experienced it before and give artists an understanding of improv as an art form that can be used in other performance arenas and creative outlets.
“Improvisation is a tool used to tell a story with movement,” Valenti said. “To let go and not think. It’s all action and connection with fellow performers. Don’t look for the jokes. Look for the sincerity of the scene. The funniest moments are the ones that reflect truth. Create the environment and let the audience in.”