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617 Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701 Map

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January, 2010

The Secrets Thus Far

Want to see the secrets we’ve used in the first 4 shows of Austin Secrets?

Each show has a Curator who assembles a collection of secrets for a given show. The secrets inspire the scenework, and none of the performers have seen the secrets beforehand.

Technology is a wonderful thing. The slides are assembled online, using  Google Presentations, Google’s web-based answer to PowerPoint. One of the benefits of doing it this way is that Google makes it easy to share and embed a presentation on any webpage. So here are the presentations for your enjoyment.

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My Special Assignment: Donate $50 to the Red Cross

Tonight in This Week Tonight, I directed a scene in which Jessica played the last Democrat with a spine, pleading for healthcare reform on the floor of the Senate. Occasionally she’d take words from the audience to help her with her speech.

One of the words shouted out was “Haiti”, which Jessica worked tastefully into her speech.

The Editor-In-Chief gave me a special assignment for mentioning Haiti, even if it was the audience’s suggestion.

The special assignment, however, is one near and dear to my heart. He declared that I had to go home and donate $50 to the Red Cross for the Haiti relief fund. I promised I would, and that I would post proof to the blog.

So here it is:

red cross

If you’d like to donate to the Red Cross as well, click here.

Roy Janik

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Comments on Maestro

There’s a lot to think about and process from this past week’s visit by Keith Johnstone. The 4 day workshop was a magical experience, as was the sold-out Maestro at The Long Center. I’m sure we’ll be making some more posts about it soon, but in the meantime check out this review of Maestro by a Houston improviser who made the drive up to Austin just to see the show.

I have been meaning to reflect on last Saturday nights improv show directed by Keith Johnstone. In summary, it was truly worth the six hours of driving. Now, while it was exciting to see Keith in the flesh and see him in action, I was so impressed by the improvisers in the Maestro show that night. I have no idea if those players were regulars at the hideout theater, but if they are any indication of the quality of improv in Austin, than Austin the place to play.

Read the rest of the review over at http://improvology.com/?p=75

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Austin Chronicle Article on the Johnstone Visit

chronicleAnother great article, this time in the Austin Chronicle, just appeared about Johnstone and his upcoming visit. It features an interview with Hideout owner Kareem Badr, and mini-interviews with Andy Crouch, Kaci Beeler, Shannon McCormick, Shana Merlin, and Jeremy Lamb. Here’s an excerpt:

And Johnstone’s teachings have a big influence at the Hideout, don’t they? He’s not the one being brought here just because Del Close is, ah, unavailable?

Badr shakes his head, black curls shifting in the bright afternoon light. “The Hideout – definitely when it started, and still, at its core – is very Johnstone School. I mean, improv is improv, it’s all pretty much the same basic skills, but Johnstone comes at it from a different side. He stresses storytelling and narrativewater trampoline australia for sale, whereas Del Close and the so-called Chicago style are more about, ah, really strong characters and more realistic situations. Johnstone is more about unlocking the inner child in your head and letting the really fantastical happen.”

Read the rest of the article here and then buy your tickets to the Johnstone Maestro.

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AV Club writeup: Four Funny Things That Wouldn’t Exist Without Keith Johnstone

avclubThe Austin A.V. Club just posted a huge writeup, with video,  about the influence of Keith Johnstone and the importance of his upcoming visit.

They focus on four things That Johnstone had a direct impact on. Here’s the short list:

  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?
    “A further key to the show’s success in the U.S. (and its subsequent ABC version) came straight from the Vancouver TheatreSports League, where popular castmates Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie both learned the art of the make ’em ups.”
  • The Kids In The Hall
    Johnstone’s website quotes McKinney as saying of his former director, ‘I don’t think I’ve met many geniuses in my lifetime… but he was definitely one of them.'”
  • Some seriously wigged-out actors in masks
    “On paper, it all adds up to a bunch of people donning goofy, papier-mâché faces and screaming at mirrors—which it is, but in an eerily primal, ritualistic way.”
  • Improv in Austin
    “Shows at The Hideout—especially Maestro—have provided common ground for improvisers and audiences, a rallying point for the community. And that community has one cantankerous British theater director to thank.”

For the whole writeup, check out the full article, and then buy your tickets to the Maestro on Saturday.

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The biggest show we’ve ever done.

Keith Johnstone and Austins Jason Vines at the BATs summer intensive, 2006

The strangeness of this upcoming weekend cannot be overstated.

Keith Johnstone is coming to town, and besides teaching some intensive workshops,  he is also going to direct Maestro.

Just who is Keith Johnstone?

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