imprology, improvisation based training

Improviser of the month        July 2009

Lucy Trodd
What is your name?
Lucy Trodd
Where do you live and work?
I have recently bought my first flat in South Tottenham. I work in Old Street sometimes and
wherever impro and acting takes me.
What is your day job?
I am an actress, singer and I work 2 days a week in a print studio.
How did you discover improvisation?
My first memory of improvising was aged 13 when my team won a theatre sports competition. I was also a "Whose Line..." addict, but it wasn't until I did a workshop with Ken Campbell at The Actors' Centre, that I really discovered improvising in a MASSIVE way... and I can honestly say my life changed from that day. I even married fellow actor/improviser/Showstopper Oliver Senton.
How do you practice improvisation?
I meet with the Showstoppers (see our website below for more details) every Sunday at The Rag Factory and we perform every Monday at The King's Head. You learn as much in a show as you do in a workshop. I also drop in to Dylan Emery's Sunday impro workouts (see his website below). Dylan's workshops are great for newcomers, old timers and people wishing to brush up their impro. You will be in safe hands, you have nothing to lose.
How did you learn?
I am still learning every day. In the beginning I read Keith Johnstone's "Impro" and "Impro for Storytellers" and Viola Spolin's "Improvisation for the Theater". I also have the Second City Almanac. I regularly revisit these books but I believe you learn more by doing it. I also workshopped with the late GREAT, mighty and extraordinary Ken Campbell and The School of Night for about 3 years. I was also one of the first Brits to go to Canada and make my way through 53 hours of non-stop improvised Soap-A-Thon. I owe a lot to the great Dana Andersen of Dynasty in Edmonton. I also had a lot of fun with Cariad Lloyd, Paul Foxcroft and The Institute.
Any advice for beginners?
Go and see lots of impro. Do workshops. Read. Find a group where you belong. There are different types of impro: short-form (games), long-form (narrative driven, story-telling), serious, comedy etc. It's important to read and learn and stay open and positive. There are also TV/films influenced and created through improvising such as "Curb Your Enthusiasm", the films of Mike Leigh, Christopher Guest and the re-runs of "Whose Line...". Check out impro groups who make scenes out of impro (like Second City, Chicago). Beware of feeling like you are "no good". The best advice I got from the incredible Patti Styles was "ENJOY FAILING". People who like to get it "right" often suffer in impro workshops. There is no right or wrong. Everything is an offer (assume the offer has already been made). Make the other person look good. Don't worry about yourself, look after your scene partner, inspire them. A lot of people become slightly addicted to impro (I know I am), it becomes a religion and it can sometimes be emotionally tough. Just when you think you've mastered it you realise you know nothing. And that's ok. Enjoy the good with the bad...that's life. Impro changed my made me say "YES" and be more positive and I've met my husband, my writing partner and some of my best friends through it. With SHOWSTOPPER I'm even earning a second income.
What is your favourite improvisation quote?
"Impro, improv, tomato, tomato...let's call the whole thing off."
What is the most satisfying story or scene you ever improvised in?
Having performed over 70 full-length improvised musicals with Showstopper, one 53 hour Canadian Soap, two 50 hour London improvathons, one 36 hour improvaganza, one 2008 minute Liverpool show and many many short-form shows with The Institute and other impro groups it's hard to say... but I would probably say that there were some spooky synchronous moments in my first 53 hours in Canada and I have never hallucinated that much in my life! And also the last 2 gigs we performed with Showstopper at Greenwich had a breath-taking Sergio Leonie synchronicity that make for satisfying story. When physicality, mind, words and story come together I have no doubt in my mind that the impro gods do exist.
Your favourite improvisation website
Run by the excellent Dylan Emery- come along to one of his classes. I love this website as, in the true spirit of impro, it's all-inclusive.
Your main website
My family, my friends, the joyful improvised musical; Showstopper. You can see a list of shows we have performed (I write the archive), you can see podcasts, blurb about the show and the performers all at:

© Remy Bertrand - 2005/2008
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