Episode 14 – Comedy Improv Lessons for Life with Angie Mitchell

Why I started SallyPAL: Comedy improv is one way to strut your originality on stage. That’s what I did for many years. My group struggled to find places to perform. As a result, we performed in some pretty weird locations including someone’s house, a Shakespeare festival, and a drag show runway. But we learned how to produce original work for the stage by trying new things. We also made a lot of mistakes. This got me thinking about all the other people with amazing ideas but little support or know-how. Our voices can and should be heard. And that’s why I started SallyPAL. If you want to learn more about why I started Sally’s Performing Arts Lab, check out this page and sign up for a free Production Notebook insert.

In episode 14, I interview my friend and fellow improv-er, Angie Mitchell. Angie mothers a six-year-old daughter while she teaches school  and rehearses a couple of times a week. She also teaches improv and performs two or three times a month. You can hear Angie’s multiple characters online on Stories of The Century.  The Spontaniacs! podcast takes an improvisational old-timey sounding radio serial and sets it in the fictional and impossibly tall Century Building. Angie created dozens of characters for the podcast and live shows, and has performed with The Spontaniacs! for nearly 10 years.

If you’re in the Tulsa area you can see The Spontaniacs! live at the pH House at 306 Phoenix. An evening with The Spontaniacs! contains a hilarious mix of long and short form comedy all made up on the spot. While it almost seems scripted, shows are completely improvised in the moment. For show dates check out Spontaniacsimprov.com.

Be sure to listen until the end of the interview for Concise Advice from the Interview, and Words of Wisdom from George.

The Play’s the Thing! Making Shakespeare Fun

Photo of the first page of A Midsummer Night's...
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I teach Shakespeare to 6th graders and they love it!  A few weeks ago I gave my kids a bunch of chess pieces (you can use whatever you can find), a pad of mini sticky notes and a synopsis for one of Shakespeare‘s plays (found many places from the Folger Library to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes).  I instructed the students to get in their small groups and find a way to use the chess pieces (with stickies for character labels) to tell the stories of their plays.  It was hilarious, exciting and fun.  Watching the kids manipulate the pieces to tell the story of Romeo and Juliet or A Midsummer Night’s Dream was so much fun.  I wandered from group to group admiring how every single student was fully engaged in correctly relating the plot using their “dolls”.  They internalized the stories and had so much fun they actually complained when class ended.  I think middle school and high school kids deserve a chance to get on the floor and play with their toys.  What say you?  I also created a rap containing all of Shakespeare’s plays in order of performance. Check it out under the title “Bard Rap”.  Good luck with your students.  I am excited for them and for you!