Thursday, April 17, 2014

Teaching Improv Refresher

Was needing some more inspiration to teach improv to 7th graders today and I came across this awesome list from Second City.

Additionally, this great TED Talk:

As a sort of Second City alum, I love his 7 rules of Improv that he also connects to life! 

1. Play
2. Let Yourself Fail
3. Listen
4. Say Yes
5. Say And
6. Play the Game
7. Relax and Have Fun

Finally, and I always share this with my kids, this quote from Stephen Colbert: 

“Well, you are about to start the greatest improvisation of all. With no script. No idea what’s going to happen, often with people and places you have never seen before. And you are not in control. So say “yes.” And if you’re lucky, you’ll find people who will say “yes” back.”
- Stephen Colbert in a commencement address 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Antigone Project

Next week I am beginning my thesis project with my students. We are going to read and study Sophocles' "Antigone" and then create our own adaptation of the play, highlighting our own themes and ideas about the underdog, about civil war, about courage and justice.

I came across the National Theatre's 2012 version and a bunch of awesome videos teaching about the play. These videos really sell a brilliant adaptation that I am really attracted to as a teacher, director, actor.

I want to know what else is out there though. I am afraid a lot of times as a teacher that what we show or speak to our students about is very biased based on our own taste and preferences. What other adaptations or sources for teaching "Antigone" do you know about out there in the drama world?

I will keep you posted on the blog about our progress, as well as another exciting project coming up with students in Kosovo.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Some inspiration on a snowy day

Sorry it's been so long! The whole teaching drama and being a graduate student for teaching drama caught up with me!

Lots has happened though. But sticking with the present, I came across this inspiring article today about a youth theatre in Chicago. Wishing I had the guts/resources/inspiration to make something like this happen. This is the type of theater I'd like to do with youth. How do I start?

I also took my high school students to see "black odyssey" the Denver Center for Performing Arts to kick off my semester-long project tying into Greek tragedy and adaptations to relevant themes and events. Here's a little snippet of an interview with the playwright, Marcus Gardley, who wrote a really brilliant and inspiring piece based off of Homer's Odyssey intertwined with an African American soldier returning home from the war in Afghanistan, suffering from PTSD.

Stay tuned to our progress on the "Antigone Project."

Friday, September 6, 2013

Huff Post Article Interview: Using Theater and Technology to Prevent Bullying

While in New York City this summer, my boyfriend and I spent time with his good friend who works for social media at SmartSign, a company in Brooklyn.We were talking about the use of technology in schools today, and how teachers must stay relevant in order to reach their students, and got to further talking about cyber-bullying and the efforts teachers can take to prevent it in schools. SmartSign ( created an anti-bullying and digital responsibility campaign, #TakeNoBullies ( He asked to interview me for an article he was working on, as he writes as a ghostwriter for a blogger on HuffPost - and today it was posted!

Check it out- Huffington Post Article and thanks @thebigmikemiles, for your help promoting my blog and teacher website!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Physical Theater on Broadway: "Peter and the Starcatcher"

My parents were in town this weekend for the long, Labor Day vacation, and I took them to the Denver Center for Performing Arts to see, "Peter and the Starcatcher." Maybe I missed the boat, but this was fantastic! I may be a bit biased, because I have a deep passion around the story of Peter Pan (wrote a 30+ page dramaturgical protocol on in last year for grad school) but it wasn't just the story that engaged me. The actors were on stage the entire time, doubling up the characters that they played with different items of the set, props, they used minimal other items to create the set as well, but truly using their bodies to transform and create the world of the play. I have never seen a "big name" Broadway touring show be so inventive, and physical with their acting.

I am beginning a week of movement and voice with my students tomorrow, and I am going to show them some of this little clip to give them a great example of improvisationally-based physical theater. It is refreshing to see that the Broadway venues are appreciating work that doesn't come to town with huge, elaborate sets and costumes, but returns back to the basic and most powerful tool of the actor, which in my opinion is the body. I am going to challenge my students to create with their bodies environments that live and change. Hopefully they grasp this concept, because I can't wait to see what they come up with!  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Still here! Apps for Theatre Games

The first day of school was yesterday, and suffice it to say I have been neglecting this little blog, so I apologize!

My new school is almost too good to be true. Yesterday went by in a flash, teaching 6 classes, covering for an advisement teacher and on lunch duty! (woo hoo) Today is moving a little slower, so I wanted to reach out and ask about apps for theatre games. Since we teach such tech-savvy kids these days, why not let them download these apps to play as a reward at the end of class? Which ones do you use or like?

My colleagues from grad school introduced me to some good ones this summer, that we have occasionally busted out at the bar or other venues where it feels appropriate.  These are the ones we like:

Charades!  is just what it says it is - but more fun because you pick the category and the words pop up while you hold the phone or device to your forehead. Even Ellen like this one.

The Amazing Improv Generator also gives different characters, locations and situations that you could use in lieu of those old - timey improv cards that the drama teacher before you left behind.

Shakespeare app includes all of the bard's work that you could keep on your device. Handy for referencing scenes, quotes, characters, etc.

There was another one that came up in my search called the Drama Resource App, but since I am working off the school's Dell today I can't download it. Anyone used that one before?

Happy back to school! Will post soon.