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Postby trabka » June 16th, 2011, 4:47 pm

Jastroch wrote:I actually had one blurt, "Can you make a no skin rule?" I was uncomfortable with that for fear that I'd sound sexist.

ColdTowne already discourages shorts and flip flops on stage (and rightfully so), so that seems like a natural progression of the reasoning behind those rules. I'd just shy away from calling it the "No Skin" rule. Maybe the "You have full range of movement when you dress this way" rule. If anything then it's based solely on performance quality and comfort, and not anyone's sexual hangups.
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Postby Jastroch » June 16th, 2011, 5:17 pm

trabka wrote:
Jastroch wrote:I actually had one blurt, "Can you make a no skin rule?" I was uncomfortable with that for fear that I'd sound sexist.

ColdTowne already discourages shorts and flip flops on stage (and rightfully so), so that seems like a natural progression of the reasoning behind those rules. I'd just shy away from calling it the "No Skin" rule. Maybe the "You have full range of movement when you dress this way" rule. If anything then it's based solely on performance quality and comfort, and not anyone's sexual hangups.


Right, but the women who brought this up was speaking about it from the point of view of being concerned about cleavage.
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Postby Timmy R » June 16th, 2011, 8:55 pm

Kat,

To your first question...my thoughts.

Unskilled male improvisers will yell and unashamedly talk over the top of an offer. Unskilled women improvisers will hang back and be unseen or enter and choose their words and actions very carefully. Both have merit in the right context. Both can kill a show if they become patterns.

Men will drive a narrative relentlessly. Men are front foot players. Men excel at being foolish. All these offer rapid audience validation and can train bad habits very quickly. In Australia, we have grown up with a pedigree of bantering Monty Python. Women far less so. That rapid fire banter is part of our social psyche. That rapid fire banter is useful in impro, but limiting if that’s what you want impro to be. The boyish energy is crucial, it’s part of the charm. The skill, I think, and what we train in, is focussing that energy through your scene partner, so they get the thrill of it. That’s the hard part. That’s the do it 5,000 times part.

Jordan mentioned that shy men will often blossom in later classes. I have this exact same experience as a teacher and would apply it to female students. The boompro gets you so far, then people stop wanting to play with you because they sense you’re not available to them. In a way, you become predictable. What the scene starts as is what it will be at the end.

That’s when empathetic players, players who are tuned into the big picture, the emotional cadence of a show/scene, can really fly. In my experience, if you can hang on to these players, and they are usually women, convince them their quiet engagement is a virtue, that having hordes of robot ninjas kick in their every second scene and slice their head off will eventually stop, then you will have something quite special to build on.
I had a mentor once tell me “Woman are the conscience of impro” and I’ve been tossing this about since then. While the word is loaded, after watching men only shows (Not that many though), I tend to agree. Bloke only troupes lean toward shows about stuff. Fun stuff. Action stuff. Narratives that are triple rocket propelled. But usually, there is little emotional conviction to it. That’s cool if that’s why you do impro, but these troupes will have a hard time attracting females to join the fun.

Men are more likely to be trained by mass response, women by personal and consistent feedback. Men walk on stage assuming they’re funny, women, it seems, still have to prove it.
Women walk on stage more ready to connect, men are perhaps too busy being funny to make space.

There are exceptions of course. Many and varied. These are broad brush-strokes, but remain true to my personal experience, and ultimately, that’s all any of us has.


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Postby Brad Hawkins » June 17th, 2011, 8:17 am

Katherine wrote:**Have you seen improvisers and audiences respond differently or more or less favorably to young or cute improvisors? Do older, less cute imps need to compensate for their age and looks? Do women imps, in particular, have a harder time if they are older or not as cute? Have you seen some imps (of any gender) get a “pass” based on age / cuteness? Does age matter in improv, and does it matter differently for women and men?

I've heard (mostly older, mostly male) improvisers semi-grouse about the opportunities afforded to younger, cuter female improvisers. It almost seems to be taken for granted that the "next young cutie" will be afforded a lot of stage time until the "next next" one comes along, then settle into a more conventional career. I have no idea if that's true or not -- it sounds a lot like chauvinistic sour grapes. Of course, I happened to come into improv at a time when, as Jordan put it, the "next young cuties" happen to be really amazing natural talents. So it could be a holdover attitude from an earlier age.

There was one thing I noticed just now, though. We were discussing the Live Nude Improv show, and I took a long look at the cast. On the female side of the cast, Jessica (whose age I don't know, but I assume to be in her 30s) is an outlier, with ALL the other female cast members between 20 and 23.

I don't know how old Andreas or Brett are, but the other dudes are all over 30.

What does this mean? Can it be nothing more than "if you have a show advertising nudity, you stock it with hot young females?" I like to think Andy "Casting" Crouch -- marketing-savvy though he may be -- has more going on than that.

Or is it a reflection of what Jordan was talking about -- younger female improvisers being ready and skilled sooner than younger male improvisers? Any thoughts?
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Postby Jastroch » June 17th, 2011, 10:07 am

Brad Hawkins wrote:I've heard (mostly older, mostly male) improvisers semi-grouse about the opportunities afforded to younger, cuter female improvisers.


That's interesting. If I'm being honest, I'm predisposed to not take young cute people seriously. Attractive, well dressed people have to fight more for my approval than a nerd.

I'm not defending that, mind you, it's just my prejudice. Somewhere in the back of my brain I wonder how much some people have to say about the world.

I don't know if other directors have that problem. Thoughts?
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Postby Kayla Lane » June 17th, 2011, 12:40 pm

Brad Hawkins wrote:There was one thing I noticed just now, though. We were discussing the Live Nude Improv show, and I took a long look at the cast. On the female side of the cast, Jessica (whose age I don't know, but I assume to be in her 30s) is an outlier, with ALL the other female cast members between 20 and 23.

I don't know how old Andreas or Brett are, but the other dudes are all over 30.

What does this mean? Can it be nothing more than "if you have a show advertising nudity, you stock it with hot young females?" I like to think Andy "Casting" Crouch -- marketing-savvy though he may be -- has more going on than that.

Or is it a reflection of what Jordan was talking about -- younger female improvisers being ready and skilled sooner than younger male improvisers? Any thoughts?



By insinuating that some members were chosen based on their age or appearance, it casts a negative light on every member of the cast and questions the integrity of the show. And I think that is unfair and simply not the case.

Plus, improv isn't like Hollywood films where the commodity of the performer is emphasized for marketing. Audiences wouldn't even know that there were "hot young females" in the cast until they arrived at the show anyway. (Unless they saw a tiny picture of someone on a poster whom they were determined to see nude in person -- but then that's really weird anyway.)

Every member of this cast has talent, attractiveness, and creativity that transcend their age or appearance. And I believe the show will showcase this!
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Postby shando » June 17th, 2011, 1:02 pm

Brad Hawkins wrote:Jessica (whose age I don't know, but I assume to be in her 30s)


She's so gonna kiss you. ;)
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Postby Ruby W. » June 17th, 2011, 1:13 pm

{EDIT} Hey everyone. I made a small speech but I decided this is my point.

I, as a young female improviser and cast member of LNI, would hope to feel more respected.
Last edited by Ruby W. on June 17th, 2011, 1:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Spots » June 17th, 2011, 1:20 pm

I felt that including an actual example with attached names was unnecessary. Brad's direct call-out felt off base.

Try not to let it influence your show.


Ruby, I happen to love improv for this very reason: Newcomers and seasoned veterans come very close to being on an equal playing field. The audiences have no built-in mechanisms for setting up some "establishment" of old crusty improvisers who get to perform in every show. No, the turnover rate is based on energy & talent for the most part.

You've got both so others have nothing to complain about. Except maybe their own lack of stage time.
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Postby kbadr » June 17th, 2011, 1:29 pm

Hey guys, how about we don't publicly call into question the integrity and casting decisions of a show that hasn't even opened yet? It's pretty rude, presumptuous, and unhelpful.

(Wait, Kayla said all that. Thank you.)

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Postby Jastroch » June 17th, 2011, 1:36 pm

Jastroch wrote:That's interesting. If I'm being honest, I'm predisposed to not take young cute people seriously. Attractive, well dressed people have to fight more for my approval than a nerd.

I'm not defending that, mind you, it's just my prejudice. Somewhere in the back of my brain I wonder how much some people have to say about the world.

I don't know if other directors have that problem. Thoughts?


I'm quoting myself, but for the record I'm referring to young cute men and women. And I'm not defending m prejudice. Just calling it out.
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Postby shando » June 17th, 2011, 2:06 pm

kbadr wrote:Hey guys, how about we don't publicly call into question the integrity and casting decisions of a show that hasn't even opened yet? It's pretty rude, presumptuous, and unhelpful.

(Wait, Kayla said all that. Thank you.)


Also, word.
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Postby Jessica » June 17th, 2011, 2:34 pm

So... Just do you know *I* was only cast for my amazing good looks *because * of my 40 something maturity. These little girls just can't compare. They were cast because of their talent.
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Postby York99 » June 17th, 2011, 2:47 pm

Brad Hawkins wrote: Andy "Casting" Crouch

Is this the first time this joke has been made? Either way, I love it.
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Postby Brad Hawkins » June 17th, 2011, 3:04 pm

Wow, it looks like I have some apologizing to do. I certainly didn't mean to disrespect anyone.

Ruby, I'm very sorry if it felt like I was not being respectful to you. I'm especially sorry if I haven't made it clear to you by now how much I do respect you.

Kareem, I certainly didn't mean to call into question the motivations or especially the integrity of anyone involved in LNI. This thread is about gender in improv; Katherine brought up the topic of older men and younger women. I was like "hey, that phenomenon applies to a current show" and commented on it. I wasn't trying to "call anyone out" and if I'd known that using a show's name would sound like that, I wouldn't have.

I want to make one thing clear, if nothing else: I was not insinuating -- nor do I believe in any way -- that any of the cast were chosen based on their age or appearance. I've performed with almost all of them and have nothing but respect for any of them or their ability. I also have more respect for Andy than to think that.

Maybe it was my offhand referral to Andy as "marketing savvy" that led people to think I was questioning the show's integrity. I do believe that he is such, in that he's had a hand in marketing improv shows for a long time and is a font of advice on what sells and what doesn't. However, I do not want to suggest that he conceived of or cast LNI as any kind of marketing gimmick. I get what he's going for, I appreciate and am very interested in seeing his and the cast's take on the format, and I will be there opening night.

Justin wrote:
Brad Hawkins wrote:Andy "Casting" Crouch
Is this the first time this joke has been made? Either way, I love it.

Yeah, I do too, but it is just that -- a joke.

For the record, I have a personal answer for my question at the end of my post:

I wrote:Or is it a reflection of what Jordan was talking about -- younger female improvisers being ready and skilled sooner than younger male improvisers?

My answer is: Probably! I didn't have a theory for the phenomenon myself, but Jordan's makes a lot of sense to me, even after sobering up.


EDIT: Oops. Forgot to actually apologize. I am very sorry for my remarks and for hurting the feelings of people I really do love and respect. I'll try to be less of an ass in the future.
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