Workshops

YETI: Get to Meaty Scenes Quickly

YETI (Yourself Eyes Tension Information) is a method of entering stage completely blank–no ideas or preconceptions–and learning to trust your instincts and find meaning in every look and move your scene partner makes in order to discover a fascinating scene quickly and naturally. These scenes tend to be easier to play and hilarious even before players begin speaking. If this seems like an unattainable nirvana, this workshop will present a repeatable process and build it one layer at a time. Borrowing ideas from ViewPoints, The New Movement, and my nearly 15 years of experience, YETI will appeal to beginners and experts who want a more human-centric, theatrical experience on stage.
Optimal Class Size: Up to 16 (3 hours) | Beginner and experienced players welcome

Improvising Theater: Decide and Trust

Improvisation is a special art in which no one–neither the performers nor the audience–knows what is coming next. Learning improv is learning to be present, to listen fully to your partner, and to react with honest emotion. These are useful and rewarding skills for anyone, whether you’re an actor or just want to be more comfortable public speaking. This workshop will cover techniques for improvising scenes collaboratively by making confident decisions in-the-moment and allowing intuition to guide your choices. No experience is required.
Optimal Class Size: Up to 16 (3 hours) | No experience required, designed specifically for those with other performance experience

Acting Workout for Improvisors

The body and voice are the actor’s instrument. Flexing these muscles can allow improvisers to push their fun limits while doing a lot less work on stage. Through a series of acting exercises exploring topics like actions and tactics, intentional movement and viewpoints, we will explore how basic theatrical tools and terminology can expand the look and feel of your improv.
Optimal Class Size: Up to 10 (90 mins); up to 14 (3 hours) | Some improv experience

Everybody Relax in Here: Find Your Joy in Group Scenes

Much improv training is dedicated to the holy two-person scene, and for good reason. But often on teams and in jams we find ourselves in three to eight person scenes! If you panic when you hear, “Everybody get in here!” you may be struggling in those situations to lock in and discover moment to moment, or overcompensating and forcing your premise. This workshop presents tools to make strong choices in group scenes then delight in discovering how to use those choices to support the scene’s evolving singular focus. I will focus on group scenes (more than group games), so these skills will translate easily to Harold, the Onion, or Helga’s Zany Made Up Long Form!
Optimal Class Size: Up to 16 (3 hours) | Level 1 experience preferred

Theatrical Shortform: Constraints that Liberate

Have you struggled with shortform that seems hacky or gimmicky? Do you want to perform games that entertain while still telling interesting stories? This workshop presents a way of workshopping performance games that use their constraints to challenge and inspire you and your group. We will touch on constructing a thoughtful performance top to bottom with this mindset including the setlist, hosting, audience interaction and more.
Optimal Class Size: Up to 14 (3 hours), ideally with a performance | Level 1 experience preferred

Monoscene: A Show Where Important Things Happen

Monoscene is a long form that takes place in a single location in realtime without external edits. This workshop will familiarize you with the form itself as well as my philosophy of form work: that form works best when it is used to showcase a team’s strengths or push them for growth. In particular we will be using monoscene to push you into bold choices, to move scenes toward action, then the form will force you to sit in the consequences of those actions. By doing this repeatedly, we will deepen our characters and build tension–a recipe for satisfying comedy.
Optimal Class Size: Up to 8 (3 hours) | Scenework skills preferred

Coaching

Any of these workshops can be adapted to a specific team. If your team is interested in more organic and theatrical play, I can tailor a YETI workshop for you. I can design/customize 2-3 short form games tailored to highlight a strength or focus on an improvement area of your team and workshop them with you. I can also teach you a form, or workshop pain points in your form with you.

Bio

Brian Gray hails from the burgeoning comedy metropolis of Pittsburgh, PA where he has been improvising since 2002. Brian performs with Irony City ImprovIguanatron, and the Unplanned Comedy house team The Writers’ Room. He teaches a monthly beginner drop-in at Arcade Comedy Theater and has taught workshops in Austin, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. He coaches the Arcade house team Change Machine, hosts Talking Shop: an Improv Podcast and is the Community Programming Director of the Pittsburgh Comedy Festival. brianmgray.com.