Welcome to Improv Interviews with Margot Escott, LCSW. Improv Interviews are podcasts with innovative improvisers from all over the world and therapists who are using improvisation in their clinical practice.
More about Margot Escott, LCSW: Margot Escott incorporates over 35 years of experience as a counselor, speaker, and teacher in her wellness classes that are designed to use humor, play and improv to achieve well being. In addition to teaching and performing improv professionally, Margot has presented workshops and seminars on “Therapeutic Value of Humor and Play” on a national level and was a featured speaker at the Chicago “Yes, and” conference on Improvisation and Mental Health.
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.
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.
Finding Support & Information While the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) may be frightening, it is important to remember support and interventions are available right here in Naples, Florida both for those diagnosed with this disease and those family members who now find themselves in the role of Care Partner. Many people are familiar with Parkinson’s disease, which affects one million Americans, with 60,000 new diagnoses each year. But there are several other neurodegenerative disorders that have Parkinson’s like symptoms called A-typical Parkinson’s or Parkinsonism that are important to be aware of.
They say no one has done more for the art of improvisation than Jane Morris, and when you listen to this interview you will learn why. Jane has improvised, written, performed, and directed shows around the world. Beginning in Chicago, Jane helped found the Second City ETC with her husband Jeff Michalski, and later formed her own theaters in Los Angeles.
As an actress with over 58 credits to her name she is best known for her roles in Raising Helen, True Lies, Frankie and Johnny and recently in Veep.
Jeff Michalski is an actor, director, improviser, teacher, mentor and so much more. He worked in comedy clubs across the country with the Original Comedy Ranger and was a member of the Groundling in Los Angeles before settling with the Chicago Second City in 1980. During his years with the Second City, Jeff studied with Paul Sills and his historic Story Theatre. While traveling the country with Second City’s National Touring Company he continued training with Second City founder Paul Sills, and artistic directors Del Close, Fred Kaz, and Bernie Sahlins.
Carol Bleackley Sills, director of Sills/Spolin Theater Works has been an influential force behind improvisational theater since she left Montreal and came to Chicago in 1959. Carol studied with Viola Spolin, acting as her editor since 1983. With her husband Paul Sills, they created many innovative theaters, beyond Paul’s The Compass, Playwrights Theater Club and The Second City. namely The Game Theater, Story Theater, The Body Politic, Century Hall, The Learning Theater and Sills & Co. Carol and her daughters present workshops at the Wisconsin Theater Game Center and other places nationwide. She is a painter and arts educator. You can learn more about Carol Sills at: www.paulsills.com/sillsspolin-theater-works/
Carol studied with Viola Spolin, acting as her editor since 1983. With her husband Paul Sills, they created many innovative theaters, beyond Paul’s The Compass, Playwrights Theater Club and The Second City. namely The Game Theater, Story Theater, The Body Politic, Century Hall, The Learning Theater and Sills & Co. Carol and her daughters present workshops at the Wisconsin Theater Game Center and other places nationwide. She is a painter and arts educator. You can learn more about Carol Sills at: www.paulsills.com/sillsspolin-theater-works/
Aretha Sills is the granddaughter of Viola Spolin. She studied theater games for many years with her father, director Paul Sills (creator/director of The Second City and Story Theater), and has conducted workshops for Paul Sills’ Wisconsin Theater Game Center, Bard College, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, Stockholm International School, Sarah Lawrence College, and Northwestern University. She has worked with Tony- and Emmy-Award winning actors and has trained faculty from Northwestern, DePaul, Columbia College, The Second City, The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, LAUSD, CETA, and many other institutions and schools. She is the Associate Director of Sills/Spolin Theater Works and she directs The Predicament Players.
Part 2 of my podcast with Gary Schwartz, an award-winning TV and film actor, director, comedian and a master improvisational acting coach whose 30 years as a performer and improv teacher has helped transform the lives of thousands of people, both on- and off-screen. He studied and worked with Viola Spolin,the mother of modern improv, and is the only master teacher to have ever earned an endorsement from both Viola Spolin and her son, Paul Sills, the co-founder and director of The Second City.
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.