In/Visible Theatre Offers Community Improv Classes in April

Published Monday, April 2, 2018 at 9:28 am

Karen Sabo, artistic producer for In/Visible Theatre

By Frank Ruggiero

In/Visible Theatre is inviting the High Country to improve its improv.

Throughout April, the Boone-based professional theater company will offer a series of improvisation courses, intended for participants from all backgrounds and age ranges.

Made particularly famous by the popular U.K. and U.S. television series, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?,” improvisational theatre — improv, for short — is defined as unscripted theatre, most commonly comedy, that finds actors spontaneously creating an entire performance, from characters to dialogue to plot and all points in between.

But that’s only the tip of the improvised iceberg. Just ask Karen Sabo, artistic producer for In/Visible Theatre.

“Improv classes help with divergent thinking, like if you’re ever in a situation where you have to generate ideas, or you find something that doesn’t work and have to find other ways that do work,” she said. “It’s very helpful with those skills, and it’s a good way to cultivate a positive attitude, because saying ‘yes’ to your scene partner is one of those most crucial skills — not just finding a way to agree with what other people say, but building off that.”

As such, the courses In/Visible has lined up are not your typical improv curriculum. For instance, one specifically focuses on public speaking, which, according to some psychological studies, many people are said to fear more than death.

Sabo’s skeptical.

“I think when given the choice, they’d probably prefer public speaking,” she said. “Luckily, we’re not going to encounter any death in the class — just one of those major fears, and no, not spiders. We’ll do a fear-of-spiders class another time.”

 

Acting for Public Speaking
When: Sunday, April 29, 1 to 4 p.m.
Where: Appalachian Enterprise Center (130 Poplar Grove Connector, Boone)
Instructor: Karen Sabo
Cost: $40

Instead of overcoming a fear of death and spiders — or worse, death spiders — “Acting for Public Speaking” will help participants build an increasingly important skillset they might require in the professional realm.

“It’s really ideal for people in business, people who ever have to speak in meetings or deliver presentations at work, or who just want to improve their public speaking skills, say if their friend’s getting married and they have to deliver a speech,” Sabo said.

“There are a lot of techniques from acting and improv that simply help us be better public speakers: breathing techniques, staying calm, moving yourself into pretending you’re not nervous, ways to present yourself, linguistic specificity. All of these are techniques professional actors use, but it’s all directly applicable to public speaking, as well.”

 

Improve Your Improv
When: Mondays, April 9, 16, 23 & 30, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Appalachian Enterprise Center
Instructor: Karen Sab
Cost: $50

A four-week course, “Improve Your Improv is intended for actors who would like to boost their skills, Sabo said, as well as non-actors who’d just like to up their social game.

The course will introduce and reinforce the basic principles of improvisation, while helping participants “live more fully in the present, connect to others and infuse creativity and fun into your everyday life,” the description reads.

“It’s applicable for anyone who wants to interact with other people, because the skills we get from improv really heighten one’s ability to listen,” Sabo added.

 

Act Up
When: Mondays, April 9, 16, 23 & 30, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Appalachian Enterprise Center
Instructors: Shane Buchheit & Elaine Topodas
Cost: $45

Designed for students in the third through fifth grades, “Act Up” will teach theatre skills through creative drama.

“I keep reading all of these statistics about how for some kids, theatre classes enrich their life enormously,” Sabo said, noting that theatre can help strengthen communication skills, creativity, empathy, problem-solving, social awareness, self-image and cooperation.

 

FUNdamentals of Acting
When: Mondays, April 9, 16, 23 & 30, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Appalachian Enterprise Center
Instructors: Caleb Dalby & Mary Sass
Cost: $45

Through improvisation games and basic scene study, this four-week series introduces students in the sixth through eighth grades to the foundations of professional acting.

According to the course description, participants will learn through a variety of exercises designed to “cultivate confidence, bravery and greater awareness of impulses and choices.”

 

Registration

Each class is limited to only 12 participants, meaning those hoping to enroll should move fast, Sabo said.

To do so, email info@invisibletheatrenc.org, or visit http://www.invisibletheatrenc.org/education.

For more information on In/Visible Theatre, including its upcoming productions, visit http://www.invisibletheatrenc.org.

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