Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Drama Dubai improv workshop with Anne McMaster

Drama Dubai's Dubai Improv series has been going on for almost a year now, and it's accumulated a fair horde of regular improvvers. The project looks like it's coming into its own; the Dearly Deported troupe has been performing at festivals, and there's a proper theater rehearsal/performance space for us at The Courtyard Playhouse . Most recently, and much to our collective glee, approval from International Theatresports has come through, making Dubai Improv the first (and for now, the only) licensed league of International Theatresports in the whole Middle East.

McMaster setting up the town and chairs game

And on top of all this, we had on Friday a special workshop run by Anne McMaster, a Canadian improv comedian living in Abu Dhabi (trained at Second City, no less). Somehow having maintained her sanity in a place relatively deficient in theater and practically devoid of improv theater, she ably and cheerfully put us through many of the games we had already played (some of which had different Canuckistani names), as well as some new ones, like Hitchhiker.


We also spent a good deal of time on characters, especially status. McMaster started by gradually introducing and closely analyzing status signals in body language, followed by various status and character games.

McMaster and Kemsley Dickinson, our regular trainer

While many of the games we played were known to us, we paused more often and for longer intervals for feedback and dissection of our technique. Even though this meant disrupting the improvvers' stage energy - which eventually took its toll over the four-hour workshop - it also meant learning a lot, and from a fresh perspective.

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