A week in Portugal - About giving room

“I felt there was more room for me.”  


This remark stuck with me this week. It touched me and it was a great compliment. And somehow, I see so much truth in this statement for improv in general. 

So this was the situation. I was in Portugal for a week of workshops and shows. After working for 3 days with the men of Improvio Armandi on their longform ‘Trailer’, we had a rehearsal of the show later that night. 

Afterwards their sound tech Vitor told me he could really see that the guys improvised in a more physical way, leaving more silences and finding more opportunities to act instead of talk. And consequently he saw more chances to improvise with sound. There was more room for him. 

I love that. It is so true: we can leave more room for each other. Skills like using your body and finding the silence are great for that: granting your fellow improviser (ánd the audience) the ‘gift’ of space. And see what they do with it. 

In the week I was here in Portugal I saw magnificent things players did with that space. I got to teach a total of 7 workshops, all about longform skills and supporting your partner. The keenness to learn is a characteristic I see in every Portuguese improviser I have met so far. Most of them will not be on time, but they will be giving it all while there. 


You can imagine how much fun that must be on stage. And to my great pleasure I was invited to perform on 2 nights with and for the Portuguese.

First I played in the improvised sci-fi movie ‘Out of the frier, into the frying pan’ with Improvio Armandi, where I had the most fun in playing the villain and the 79-year old love interest.

Second I played with the ever-lovely Dona our duoshow Close Quarters. And last but not least, the Instantãneos, Pedro Borges and the 2 of us improvised a set of scenes in an old weapon factory. All very inspiring. 

Though it was quite a packed schedule, I enjoyed the short bits I got to see of Lisbon, Sintra and Algueirão. Ranging from a hipster gallery in Bairro Alto and a luxurious hotel roof terrace, to getting lost with Susana’s lively family and playing Cards Against Humanity till the morning (and winning!).

It was my 4th time in the Lisbon area to teach improv but I can never get enough of the hospitality, the passion for improv and the great manners the Portuguese posses. They let me do what I do best. And for that space, that room, I can only be incredibly grateful.  


Obrigada to all the lovely people I got to meet in the workshops and in the audience. A big hug to Hugo & Paulo, for taking more care of me than I can ever pay back in stroopwafels. Thanks a lot to Improvio Armandi, bYfurcação and the Instantãneos: especially Marco, João, Ricardo, Marco Martin. Then obrigada to Pedro, Vera and Susana for the rides, to Karitsis, Paula, Sandra for the organization, to Dona for being great and to Mariana for starting this all.