Indeed. Thanks to Siyu, for being a friend, a creative force, and an accidental (and welcomed) muse. This is my *puffy heart* post to Siyu, as my idea continues to evolve and become clearer (at least to me).
I am currently in Chicago. I have been here for a week. I will be in Chicago through early August as part of an improv intensive. I have SO MANY IDEAS evolving, particularly around what I am now speaking of – colorized improv. The intensive is inspiring.
Why is the intensive inspiring? I am taking part in the iO Five-Week Summer Intensive through early August 2015 (which means 5-weeks of improv classes, 4-days per week, optional workshops, improv jams, and a variety of shows to watch – on top of also being a tourist). For those that know about this program, my Level 1 (week 1) instructor was Todd Edwards. (Level 1 is described as follows: This class teaches the basics of the iO style of improvisation, patterns, theory, connections, and iO’s philosophy on long-form improvisation.)
Overall, there are more than 140 people in the intensive. From San Francisco, there are ten people, who are part of the Endgames Improv community. Among my sixteen classmates (aka Section 4), we enjoy a variety of backgrounds, e.g., nationality, ethnicity, race, gender, age, lifestyle, education, profession, etc. During our first week, many of us have spent at least 5 hours a day with each other during class time. When adding in the time for eating meals, watching shows, and jamming, this time can easily double.
With regards to my Section 4 iO classmates, needless to say, I am fortunate to be among many viewpoints – shared and disparate. And this reminded me of my initial idea of bi-cultural improv. As a reminder, toward the end of my blog post Colorize | who you and me be, I mentioned about an idea I had earlier this year. I called it bi-cultural improv. My initial idea was to have a troupe with members who are at least bi-cultural and who may choose characters and environments inspired by one’s bi-cultural upbringing.
As I re-read the description of bi-cultural improv from several weeks ago, I realize I poorly described my idea. Yes, having bi-cultural improvisors play together is one goal. No, it was not my intent to exclude non-bi-cultural players. Therefore, to more accurately describe my idea, I am now calling it colorized improv, inspired by Jeff Chang.
Colorized Improv is where improvisors can, should, and will be mindful that improv is a form of creative expression – among players and for an audience. As part of colorized improv, each of us intelligently creates characters, environments, and scenes that take care of one’s self and of each other. Each person starts from one’s own understanding of being one’s self and of expressing emotions and behaviors that are personally familiar.
To the extent that there are improvisors that draw from their bi-cultural experience, wonderful. I know for me that the book Legions of Boom: Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews in the San Francisco Bay Area, authored by Oliver Wang, speaks closely to my growing up Filipino-American in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1970s and 1980s. To the extent that there are improvisors that draw from personal experience, wonderful.
It is Sunday. Week 2 of my iO summer intensive begins tomorrow, Monday morning. Most of my first week has been spent settling in, socializing, and stealing a few bits of Shirley-time (like now). As I re-read Siyu’s quote this morning after my first week at the iO intensive, my loving nickname for my iO experience is Diversity Naturally. Thanks to Todd Edwards for reminding all of us in our section –
Being yourself through your emotions is all you need.