Andy St. Clair's Workshop Secrets

We recently spoke with Dina Facklis about improv and some upcoming workshops she and her buddy, Andy St. Clair, would be conducting at DCH. She offered some great advice and choice quotes. But you know what was missing? Andy. Andy was missing from that article. Andy St. ClairNot anymore. We have some Andy now, and he has seasoned our questions with answers.

Why do you think people have such a difficult time initiating scenes? 

Because people are too busy playing plot man. Plot will kill you. It's boring. I want to see relationships and how you treat that person or how you and that person interact with each other. Great ways to initiate scenes? Give that person a gift about their personality. Also, emotion. I'll also give you a workshop we go.

Workshop secret  No. 1: Dina has mastered the art of watching improv scenes while playing Angry Birds on her phone. She's a master at it.

Most improv is based on short exchanges of dialogue. How can monologues help with scenes and character development? How can improvisers perform monologues without being thought of as scene hogs?

Monologues help with scenes and characters because it can set up who you are to people/fellow improvisers, almost making it easier and giving them (fellow improvisers) an easier time helping them have an opinion on your character. Also, keep those monologues short. Don't give it all away in the monologues.

Workshop secret No. 2: Dina loves drinking a gallon or two of vodka before any "rehearsal." You can't smell it. Girl can put it down! Don't be afraid to buy her a drink or seven. Watch out Texas!

What can improvisers learn from scene writing that they can bring to their stage work?

Kinda similar to question  No. 1 to me. Let the character move you forward and not the plot. Did Dina say that?

Speaking of Dina, workshop secret No. 3: When Dina says in a workshop "Look, I know it's hard when you're 27. Hell, I'm 27, and I get OUR problems." She's not 27, everyone. She's 77. But she looks great.

How do you remember to keep fun top and center while improvising? 

It's improv. It's not rocket surgery (see what I did there? Don't steal it. I've been saying that for years). It has to be fun otherwise the sadness/anger you feel about it not being fun will make its way onto the stage. Nobody wants that. It's comedy!

You think I'm doing a workshop secret No. 4, don't ya? Nope. Rules of three guys. Brain science everyone.....brain science! (I really forced that in there but I did it.)

Thank you, Andy. Now, readers, improvisers and countrymen, go forth and take Dina and Andy's workshops.

March 26-8:30 p.m.Scene Intensive with Dina Facklis Believe it or not, starting a great scene is easier than you think--you’re the only thing getting in its way. This intensive will get you out of your head and into a place where successful scenes can’t help but happen. Get ready for an early evening of effortless scenework that will help you figure it all out! (14 person maximum) Register
March 33:30-6 p.m.Finding the Comedy Gold in Your Improvisation with Andy St. Clair The No. 1 rule of improv: have fun! How many times do you forget that little gem? From personal experience, my guess would be A LOT. Hell, with all the rules and nuances of improv, who wouldn't forget? This workshop will show improvisers how to make the rules work for them while having a ton of funso that you have a ball while mining every single piece of comedy gold you can from a scene! (14 person maximum) Register
March 3 & 4Noon-3 p.m.Monologue Development with Andy St. Clair You can count on this: You have more characters in yourself than you think. And this workshop is not only about finding them, it's also about developing a written piece from them that is carefully structured with perfect timing. This workshop will conclude with a showcase of these monologues on that Sunday night at DCH. (14 person maximum) Register
March 3 & 43-6 p.m.Writing Scenes from Improv with Dina Facklis How many scenes do you have in your improvisation past that you wish you had written down? I personally have ABOUT ONE MILLION. This workshop will allow you to either bring in beat outlines for a scene that you've already improvised or find your scene with a partner through improvisation. You will then work with me to write this scene as to maximize its potential in terms of timing, character development and story arc. This workshop will also conclude with a showcase of these monologues that Sunday night at DCH. (14 person maximum, please feel free to sign up in pairs) Register