“Wow, that was hot.”
While I am all sweaty and red-looking I meet my friend Olli backstage after performing. It is a wonderful compliment and true in so many ways. True for the show Sven and I just played and true for the 9 days I was in Milan.
This conference was initiated by the ITI, the International Theatresports Institute that manages the Keith Johnstone improv formats. After Calgary and Würzburg, the 2015 edition it happened in the hometown of improv group Teatribu: Milano! And it happened during the hottest week of the year, 38 degrees on average.
The program of 12 workshops a day (!) happened in their lovely home base containing 4 workshop rooms and an office. Every day a group of 80 international improvisers met there to share, learn, teach, laugh, love, sweat, dehydrate, hydrate and improvise on an impressively high level.
I attended only good workshops. And according to what others told me, I missed even more good ones. Some workshop highlights included my first clowning experience in Felipe’s workshop, playing a crazy wannabe thug in Inbal’s workshop, get inspired by both Dan’s and Mathieu’s approach to improv, learning from sound expert Sarah, combining Zen and improv with Jun and naming my fear friend Daniel after Daniel himself.
Except workshops, the program also included a jam-packed show program: Theatresports, Maestro, Gorilla, Lost in Translation, Montage, Momentos de la Vida and specials like Speechless, the Italian Job and our duoshow ME & MY EX. (Even now writing it down I get a kick from seeing our show name up there)
Both Sven and I joined one mixer format that was performed on the most famous comedy stage in Italy: Zelig. Imagine silver colored chairs and tables, glitter curtains and a massive LED screen as a backdrop. Pretty funky stuff.
This was quite a big difference from the intimate black box theatre where ME & MY EX was planned: Spazio Frigia. If the black box wasn’t dark enough, on the night of the show we experienced a power outage. There was no electricity for almost the entire evening.
This led to some serious logistic improvising. The first show ‘The Italian Job’ was moved to the rooftop terrace of the theatre, which led to fantastic use of setting and street sounds by the players.
Our own show was then moved back inside and played with just candlelight while the audience was pointing their smartphone torches at us. This actually was very powerful to experience as a performer: it feels like people really want to see you.
In preparation of our own show we collaborated with Speechless DJ Sarah Michaelson who agreed to support us with her music during her show. However, the lack of electricity made that she could only add to our show in the very last scene. Her professional approach during prep and show though was incredibly inspiring. And of course the one song she did choose, was spot on.
Despite, or maybe due to, the challenging circumstances both Sven and I felt we played our best show to date. It was a memorable and extraordinary performance where we covered all the aspects of our show premise: love, relationships, heartbreak and sex.
So yes, it was hot. The weather, the people, the farewell dinner, the conversations, the Speechless show, the 4am Milan tour, the improv, the connections, the last lunch, the hugs, the kisses and the love.
Thank you Mitico. That was hot.
Grazie mille to the Mitico organization and all the volunteers, especially Andrea and Elena. Grazie to the workshop teachers, fellow improvisers, Teatribu friends Micoo and Davide, midnight tour guide Alberto, prison sister Olli, music angel Sarah and stroopwafel-dealer Sven.