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What is the converse of format-centricity?

PostPosted: May 27th, 2013, 2:38 pm
by Adam Keys
I've heard a few people describing Austin's improv scene as format-centric. Does that mean a precise thing? What's the opposite of format-centric?

Re: What is the converse of format-centricity?

PostPosted: May 27th, 2013, 4:16 pm
by kbadr
"Organic improv" would probably be the opposite. Where the specific structure of the show is discovered in the moment by the group, and it is inherently unique for each show.

Re: What is the converse of format-centricity?

PostPosted: May 28th, 2013, 11:06 am
by Adam Keys
Does that mean the show doesn't have a predetermined structure (montage, narrative, etc.) and just happens as it happens?

Re: What is the converse of format-centricity?

PostPosted: May 28th, 2013, 1:16 pm
by kbadr
Yep, at it's purest.

Take Todd Stashwick's workshop, or go watch the Mayfly show he's doing when he visits. That'll be a pretty good example.

Re: What is the converse of format-centricity?

PostPosted: May 28th, 2013, 2:00 pm
by Adam Keys
Thanks for walking me through this, Kareem!

Re: What is the converse of format-centricity?

PostPosted: May 28th, 2013, 10:58 pm
by Alex B
What Kareem said. Also, an organic improv show can be quite structured (or not), but any structure would be discovered organically.

The group 3033 is known for doing "improvised forms" -- the form of the show is different every time. Videos...

http://vimeo.com/channels/3033improv

Re: What is the converse of format-centricity?

PostPosted: May 30th, 2013, 3:27 pm
by jillybee72
Another on the other end of the spectrum would just be an open mono-scene, or a series of unconnected scenes that tie together only lightly.

Re: What is the converse of format-centricity?

PostPosted: May 30th, 2013, 3:36 pm
by Pdyx
I'm confused. Because aren't people in Chicago, NY, LA, Minneapolis, Dallas, wherever also doing formats? If Austin is 'format-centric' does that just mean we put a greater emphasis on formats while in Chicago they put an emphasis on character (or whatever)?

I understand that maybe the opposite of doing a precise format would be doing a loose show where the format is discovered, but that's not what everyone in other cities is doing, right? Because to me, and maybe I misread the initial question, that's what was being asked about...right?

At the end of the day, I'd come down on the side of it's too hard to generalize about big cities and their improv.

Re: What is the converse of format-centricity?

PostPosted: May 30th, 2013, 5:33 pm
by jillybee72
"Format-centric" would not imply that you're the only city doing formats, it would just mean that's what your city is most known for out of all the things it does.

Re: What is the converse of format-centricity?

PostPosted: June 1st, 2013, 1:05 am
by ratliff
What Jill said. I guess you could argue that Chicago is Harold-centric, but because the definition of a Harold is so loose, those shows feels very different from a show in which, say, you're going to see Improvised William Burroughs or whatever. Just as important from the audience's point of view, those shows for the most part aren't marketed as Harolds; they're just improv. Whereas it seems like the vast majority of shows in Austin have some kind of hook or premise, often connected to an already-existing work, that creates (and hopefully meets) certain expectations.