Join me today to meet Jay Sukow, an actor, director, filmmaker and improviser, who has been performing scripted and improvised work professionally for over 20 years. Jay has trained with improv legends that include Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Jon Favreau, David Razowsky, Keith Johnstone, Dick Schaal, Del Close, and Mick Napier. Jay is a faculty member of The Second City and has performed regularly as part of their “Those Who Can’t” Faculty Jam.
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.
Join me today and meet Dan Bacalzo, Ph.D., Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) in Ft. Myers Florida. I had the pleasure of partnering with Dan last summer on a program he led for FGCU that incorporated improvisational theatre techniques to benefit at-risk girls in Immokalee Florida at the Pace Center for Girls.
Meet Mary Guzzy, professor of Humanities and Theatre at SUNY Corning Community College I Corning, New York. I had the pleasure of hearing Mary present at Dr. Daniel Weiner’s 4th Annual Conference for Growth Conference this past October, Rehearsals for Growth.
Mary has been a student of Rehearsals for Growth for several years and is finding a way to use improvisational therapy in her work. Mary’s presentation was on her visit to the Greek Island of Samos where refugees from the conflicts in the Middle East have been relocated.
Join me and meet Lacy Alana and learn about her innovative work with Yes and Brain. The Yes And Brain framework is the creation of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, circus artist, and improviser Lacy Alana. As Lacy spent time in the clinical, educational, corporate, and expressive arts worlds over the last decade, she recognized that she was having great success blending facets from each discipline into the others.
Meet Rob Snow who is the Creator and Director of The Improvaneer Method and Executive Director of Stand Up for Downs, he also performs his one-man show nationally. Rob began his comedy career in the late 90s while training at the famed Second City Theatre in Chicago, performing at comedy clubs and colleges in the Midwest. In 2009 Rob and his wife Ellen had their second son Henry who was born with Down Syndrome. In 2013, they created Stand Up for Downs, whose mission is to enhance the lives of those with Down syndrome through humor.
Join me and meet the award-winning improv master Michael J Gellman who now resides in Ontario Canada and is Artistic Director of The Process Theatre. He teaches at Loyalist College as well as Master Workshops for Second City International and Artistic New Directions NYC. He is an alumnus of the Second City mainstage and was a resident director for Second City in Canada and the USA for 25 years. He was Artistic Director of the Second City Toronto where his shows were nominated for 7 Dora Mavor Moore Awards including twice for Outstanding Direction, nominated for Best Director for Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Award, and won a Chalmers Award for Best Director. He is a senior faculty and founding member of the Second City Training Center where he was a Program Head and also Director of the NY training Center.
Today we speak with Lisa Bany and Angela Nino, trained Improv directors, performers and creative professionals who teach and facilitate the use of applied Improvisation in the improvement of mental health. Their organization is called Improv Therapy Group and I am proud to have recently been added to their advisory board. Lisa and Angela are not therapists, but they work with licensed therapists and group treatment facilities to bring Improv into the mental health environment.
Meet the wonderful Nathan Keats who has a Master’s Degree in Autism from the Tizard Centre. He is currently involved in a research project on using improvisation to support individuals with Autism. Nathan began teaching improvisation in the UK in 2006 and quickly expanding his teaching to the United States. In 2007, he found a love for applied improvisation for autistic people and his enthusiasm continues to this day in his practice, teaching and his research. Nathan’s classes have been taught in festivals, schools, colleges, community centers and theatres to students from seven years old to students who are now retired. As a qualified teacher in the UK, Nathan brings a spontaneous and rationalizable approach to his teaching and now offers consulting services on using applied improvisation with individuals on the autism spectrum. Learn more about Nathan on his website NathanImprov.com
The husband and wife team, Carla and Craig Cackowski are the creators of the two-person improv show “Orange Tuxedo” in Los Angeles, California. The perform “Close Quarters”, with a focus on creating grounded relationships formed by eccentric characters. If you like comedy, you may have seen Craig wear various mustaches and costume pieces on Comedy Central’s Drunk History. If you like drunken history, you may have seen Carla drink various beers on Instagram.