imprology, improvisation based training

Improviser of the month        May 2009

Dan Jessup
What is your name?
Jonathan Kay
Where do you live and work?
I live in Winchester, where I set up Winchester Hat Fair 35 years ago, now the longest running streets
arts festival in England. I work nomadically in ten locations around the UK and Europe with the Nomadic Academy of Fools.
What is your day job?
I am a Fool.
How did you discover improvisation?
After 15 years working with mime on the streets I began to speak and developed a form of theatre born out of interactions with the audience and that exists completely in the moment. This has galvanised into an improvisation technique that I call Fooling and am in the process of passing this on to improvisers who are interested in working more closely with the audience, in the form of an Academy, the Nomadic Academy of Fools, which is a community of artists who are exploring these ideas together.
How do you practice improvisation?
Every second of my day is improvised. No one has given me a script to follow, or if they did I seem to have mislaid it.
How did you learn?
As a street artist I had to keep the audience's attention otherwise they would simply move along, and working on the street means you come into contact with all sorts of people who may not be regular theatre goers. I'm interested in working with all kinds of people and my work is born out of the audience. They do not go unnoticed!
Any advice for beginners?
No one gets up in the morning with a script, although there are certain stories and scripts that you like and enjoy telling and playing with. But the question is whether you can do this in a relaxed fashion whilst under the pressure of performing in front of an audience. So my advice is to improvise in front of an audience as often as possible.
What is your favourite improvisation quote?
Create or be created.
The most satisfying story or scene you ever improvised in?
I've worked in Bosnia each year since going in whilst the war was still taking place 15 years ago. I work with women who suffered the greatest atrocities during that war. After working with them for a couple of hours in a workshop we had almost gone into a dream like state and spilled out onto the streets like water and came across a couple of men who had been involved in committing crimes against these women. These men who had been in the army had now become the police. I was worried as to what the women were going to do to them, but instead of becoming angry or violent they simply started to dance. We danced around their police car for many many hours and the men were far too scared to move.
Your favourite improvisation website
I'm not very good at the internet so don't really know. Yours?
Your main website

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