Koray Tarhan has an infectious smile and laugh! He is a generous and talented man who brought Improv to his home in Instanbul, Turkey in 2000 and author of the first handbook on improv in Turkish, Dogaclama Icin Elkitabi (2013). We had such a fun time chatting and playing with him and his wife, Zeynep Özyurt Tarhan. Koray works as an actor, musician, and project coordinator at Istanbulimpro and also applies improvisation in business, education, and social projects. He works with children, teenagers, and adults in different foundations and organizations. Koray authors improlog.blogspot.com is the coordinator of Istanbul International Improv Festival and a member of the Applied Improvisation Network (since 2009) which has invited him to present and/or lead workshops at several international conferences. He has also participated as an actor and workshop leader for improv festivals in Amsterdam, Berlin, Chicago, Beijing, and Ljubljana. Koray is a graduate of Ankara University Theater Department (2001).
I’m so excited to share the great news that my dear friend Clay Drinko’s book, Play Your Way Sane came out today! Clay is an improviser, author, coach, Dad who writes a blog for Psychology Today about Improv and mental health. This is a wonderful, very readable book for everyone! In Play Your Way Sane, Clay offers 120 low-key, accessible activities that draw on the popular principles of improv comedy to help you tackle your everyday stress and reconnect with the people around you. Divided into twelve fun sections, including “Killing Debbie Downer” and “Thou Shalt Not Be Judgy,” the games emphasize openness, reciprocation, and active listening as the keys to a mindful and satisfying life. Whether you’re looking to improve your personal relationships, find new meaning at work, or just survive our trying times, Play Your Way Sane offers serious self-help with a side of Second City sass.
David Leventhal is the Program Director and founding teacher of Dance for PD. He tells about his journey to becoming a dancer and his career with the Mark Morris Dance Company. Learn how he helped start this amazing program in 2001 when a local support group leader who had a dance background approached the Mark Morris Dance Group with the idea for specialized dance for Parkinson’s classes – even before there was tangible evidence about the benefits of exercise and movement. I’ve taken several of these classes and the combination of simple movements and beautiful music creates a sense of wellbeing, calm, and energy.
Marcus Sams is a beloved improviser and teacher in the Bay Area for 20 years. He is a dynamic, generous fellow who has developed incredible technology for on-line improvisers. In addition to fantastic classes on Improv, Marcus has developed techniques to move Online improv games out of the “Hollywood Squares” boxes into productions that look like TV & film. The Fixed Lens Improvisation Technique, a.k.a. F.L.I.
Join me and meet the multi-talented improviser, actor, and true gentleman Brian Palermo. In his early days at the Groundlings, Brian was lucky enough to play with, learn from, and direct a gaggle of Big Name Comedy People that include Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Will Ferrell, Maya Rudolph, Lisa Kudrow, and many others.
I met Brian at the Vintage Improv Festival this fall and loved his style of teaching. In our chat, we talk about his career in film and TV and his many years with the Famous Groundlings improv group. He is a beloved improv teacher; he’s been a regular in The Crazy Uncle Joe Show – which is The Groundlings’ weekly long-form set – every Wednesday for 19 years! The longest-running long-form set in L.A. https://www.groundlings.com/shows
Join me and meet Robert Cochrane, an award-winning filmmaker, with numerous narrative and documentary features to his credit. His touching relationship with his father who has Parkinson’s was the inspiration for Robert’s Parkinson’s-themed documentary series, Boys of Summer. He is a Ph.D. student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) studying the effect of improvisation on Parkinson’s Disease and Co-Owner of ComedySportz Las Vegas, which is part of an internationally-acclaimed improvisation league.
I met John Dawson through our mutual friend Nick Johne from Chicago’s Second City. They had worked together at Toronto’s Second City before they both immigrated to Chicago & Dublin. His first foray into using improvisation for improved mental health was 7 years ago when he was approached to design and facilitate a series of Dramatic Arts for Wellness Workshops for D.C.U. (Dublin City University) in association with St. James Hospital Dublin’s mental health division. John’s taught his improv-based workshops in Critical thinking, Creativity and Effective Communication/Collaboration Skills for corporate and institutional clients such as Google, Airbnb, DropBox, Twitter Ireland, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin City University, and H.S.E. (Health Service Executive, Ireland). In part 2 John talks about his work in mental health. You can learn more about John Dawson at:email@example.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Improvisational Theatre Games for people with Parkinson’s Disease and their care partners is not just fun but therapeutic.
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a movement disorder that affects up to 1 million people in the US and doctors diagnose 60,000 new cases each year. Improvisational Theater Games, based on the work of Viola Spolin, are being used clinically all over the world. Improv classes are being offered for stress management, Autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and other neuromuscular diseases.