Q & A With Randy Dixon

Seattle’s Randy Dixon is coming to Austin for a weekend of workshops. He’s the artistic director of Unexpected Productions and has been improvising and teaching since the late seventies.

What kind of work is Unexpected Productions doing right now? Anything that you’re especially excited about?

We are excited to be moving back into our 220-seat venue. The last six months we have be in a 500 seat venue! The current show is Blank Slate, where the audience writes the show. They make all the key decisions. It’s a great form to train actors to trust story. In general, I am especially excited about Unexpected Productions bringing theatricality back to improv through metaphor, symbol, movement and ritual. Trying to get away from talking heads.

Register for Raising the Stakes in Your Scenes and Stories Saturday, Feb 11, 1-4pm

How did you get interested in the myth and personal story work?

I grew up interested in myth. As I began traveling to teach and direct, I noticed a lot of the same material kept coming up again and again. I recognized this as mythic, and it was the same everywhere I went. I knew I wanted to go deeper into this material, so set about to study systems of myth and belief, which is really about how story lives in us.

Register for Personal Storytelling Through Myth Sunday Feb 12, 3:30-6:30pm

You’re one of the original synthesizers of the two dominant schools of improv (Chicago and Johnstone). Where do you see them overlapping? What are the most striking differences in your mind?

Great question. Well, off the top of my head, I think they overlap as two paths to the same destination. I think they mingle well and are very. very useful to each other. The differences in very general terms is the Chicago style seems very broad and general, big strokes of structure. Johnstone’s work is very specific and geared towards giving the improviser focused skills.

How would you sum up your philosophy of scene work in a sentence or two?

The audience comes to TELL a story, not WATCH a story. Our job is to give them the means to do that.

Register for The Mechanics of Great Scenes Monday, Feb 13, 7-10pm

For a more in depth interview with Randy Dixon, check out this excellent podcast.

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