Improv, Beat by Beat
By Curtis Retherford
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The top improvisors from the UCB Theatre in New York City explain the most important parts of long-form improv, one concept at a time. Hosted by Curtis Retherford.
||Explicit19 – Cliches and Gaps||19 different improvisors discuss the cliches they are tired of seeing and the gaps between the improvised worlds we create and the world we live in. What do they see too much of, and what do they not see enough of? Featuring Achilles Stamatelaky,||7/4/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit18 – Jams||An improv jam is basically an open mic for improv: anyone who goes can throw their name in a bucket to do scenes with the jam hosts. They can be stressful and intimidating, but they’re also a great way to get over nervousness over being on stage,||5/30/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit17 – Musical Improv||Musical improv is exactly what it sounds like: an improvised musical. A bit of dialogue, and then a lot of singing and dancing. In addition to having its own challenges (such as song structure, rhyming, and narrative structure),||4/25/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit16 – House Teams||A house team is a team that is created to perform regularly at a particular theater. At UCB NY, there are 3 levels of improv house teams: Lloyd, Harold, and the weekend. This episode talks about each level: why being on a house team can be frustrating .||3/1/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit15 – Forms||Your first several years of learning long form improv will likely focus on scenework, the Harold, montages, and perhaps another form or two. In this episode, we discuss the other forms: why they’re important to learn and how they’re created.||2/6/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit14 – The Monoscene||The Monoscene is a form in which the location never changes: there are no edits. In this episode, we talk about how it was developed and what to keep in mind while performing one. Featuring Kevin Mullaney, Lily Du, and Jenny St. Angelo.||12/23/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit13 – Acting||Improv scenes should be more than just reciting lines. In this episode, we talk about how acting influences improv, and how to become better at it. Featuring Jessica Morgan, Molly Thomas, Morgan Phillips, Alex Dickson, Sebastian Conelli, Liz Noth,||11/10/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit12 – The Harold: 2nd and 3rd Beats||In a Harold, after the first beats and the first group game, the team returns to the first 3 games for second beats, and then does another group game, and then returns again for third beats. These scenes are chances to play more fun versions of the gam.||9/25/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit11 – Auditioning||Most theaters hold auditions to add people to their house teams. Every year around 600 people audition for UCBNY house teams. Molly Thomas, Chris Scott, and Morgan Phillips share their experiences with auditioning. Hosted by Curtis Retherford.||9/11/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit10 – The Harold: Group Games||In a Harold, in between each set of beats is a group scene. These scenes can be tough if the entire team isn’t listening and playing together, but they can also be incredibly fun and change the direction and tempo of your entire Harold.||9/5/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit09 – Best Notes||Each improvisor recounts the notes that shaped their understanding of improv or their understanding of themselves as improvisors. Featuring Jessica Morgan, Lydia Hensler, Jesse Lee, Jenny St. Angelo, Lily Du, Molly Thomas, Chris Scott, James Dwye||8/28/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit08 – The Harold: 1st Beats||The 1st beats of the Harold are the most important part of the Harold. In each 1st beat, the ideas from the pattern game are transformed into characters, games, and worlds that will return throughout the Harold. Featuring Alex Dickson, Jenny St.||8/21/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit07 – The Pattern Game||The Pattern Game is one of the fundamental Harold openings. It can seem intimidating at first, but once mastered it can be an effective, clean way of getting clear premises for your Harold. Featuring Achilles Stamatelaky, James Dwyer, Nicole Drespel,||8/14/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit06 – The Invocation||The Invocation is an opening developed by Del Close for the Harold. In this episode, Will Hines and Achilles Stamatelaky convince me of the merits of The Invocation. Hosted by Curtis Retherford.||7/30/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit05 – The Opening||After a team gets a suggestion, they typically do an opening of some sort to generate the ideas they will explore within a Harold. This episode focuses a couple specific openings and on openings in general. Featuring Jessica Morgan, Jesse Lee,||7/24/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit04 – The Harold||The Harold is one of the fundamental longform improv structures, but it isn’t easy, at least at first. But once it’s mastered, it is a framework that gives an extraordinary amount of flexibility. This episode focuses on the Harold as a whole: subseq||7/17/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit03 – Warm Ups||The next several episodes will focus on the Harold, one piece at a time. This episode focuses on what happens before the Harold, either at the beginning of practice or right before a show: Warm Ups. Featuring interviews with Devin Ritchie,||7/2/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit02 – Game – Playing the Game||Now that everyone in the scene has identified the game, it’s time to have fun. This episode goes into the different approaches improvisors use when playing the game. Featuring interviews with Alex Dickson, Lydia Hensler, Sebastian Conelli,||6/27/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit01 – Game – Framing and Justifications||Identifying and playing the game of a scene is the foundation of long-form improv: the improvisors must agree on what’s fun about the scene before they can really explore that game. This episode explains the importance of two fundamental parts of game||6/17/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
Thoughtful and Fun!
The mix of voices and perspectives makes this a very entertaining and educational exploration of improv. Every student, performer, coach, and teacher can get something out of these conversations!
Insightful, excellent improv teachings!
This podcast beautifully combines varied viewpoints into focused topics. Episodes pack in dozens of excellent ideas, explained by passionate teachers. Anyone who's learning or been intrigued by game-based, UCB style improv will get something out of this podcast!
Great in style and substance
High production value and focus on UCB style improv makes this my fave improv podcast ever!!