Dan Brown of Reflex Improv is returning to Easton to offer two end-of-summer improv classes. Each class will run for five weeks on Fridays from July 31 and through August 28. Intro to Improv meets weekly from 6:00pm to 7:30pm; Storytelling with Improv meets 7:30pm to 9:00pm on the same evenings.
These summer classes will be held outdoors at a location in downtown Easton. Attendance is limited to 10 students for each class to ensure safe social distancing. The cost of each 5-week class is $125. Register with a friend and the cost of a class is $100 per person.
In Intro to Improv participants learn and practice the building blocks for creating improvisational scenes. These beginner classes include warm-ups to build camaraderie and exercises to inspire top-of-the-head thinking and creativity. Expect lots of laughter and lessons that can be applied to everyday situations at work and in other areas of life.
Storytelling with Improv, a more advanced class, is open to students who have completed at least one session of Intro to Improv. Building on the basics, participants will expand their skills by learning how to use storytelling techniques within improv scenes.
“I shut down in person improv classes when COVID-19 hit in the spring,” Brown says. “Many of my students hung in with me on Zoom. I was blown away by how much fun we had and how well improv translates on this online forum.”
Brown adds, “I am so glad to bring in-person improv classes back to Easton. Some people tell me that they can’t do improv because they’re not funny. You don’t need to be a natural comedian to enjoy improv. Once you learn the fundamentals the fun will follow,”
The fundamentals of improv include the concept of “Yes – and,” which encourages everyone in a scene to listen to one another and find agreement. Two other improv fundamentals – “I’ve got your back” and making each other look good – encourage team work. “When everyone follows the process, funny happens.” Brown says.
Brown, who teaches in Virginia and Maryland, caught the improv bug while in college, performing in the school’s short-form and sketch program, acting in school and community plays, as well as writing, directing, and starring in many comedy short films. After moving to the Washington, DC area, he took a free workshop at Washington Improv Theater and fell in love with the joy and freedom of long-form improv. His approach to teaching is positive, encouraging, joyful, fast-paced, and, most of all, fun.
Nancy Andrew of Easton took her first improv class with Brown in 2018 and has been playing ever since. “Dan is a great teacher! He encourages us to have fun while we learn. He reminds us that we can’t do it wrong. Improv has helped me be more creative, develop my listening skills, and be more fully present. I have made friends with people I may never have met by having fun with them in improv class.”
Andrew adds, “The Easton improv class had been meeting in person with Dan for almost a year when COVID-19 hit. We did shows together with his other students in Annapolis and even met on our own to practice between formal sessions. We were making plans to do a local show when we had to stay home due to the virus.”
Linda Mastro, one of the Easton improv players, says, “When Nancy invited me to an improv class I was nervous that I wouldn’t get it ‘right’ or be funny or smart enough to follow along. My nervousness left within the first five minutes because Dan Brown is a master at making newcomers feel welcome. My weekly improv class is often the only time – especially during these unsettling COVID days – when I can put aside worries and responsibilities and just have fun!”
Jeremy Hillyard, another Easton improv regular, says, “I truly enjoyed meeting and connecting with a group of complete strangers through laughter, something that just makes life better. I also noticed that improv has made me a quicker thinker and a better listener and communicator. As a high school teacher, I have been able to incorporate a variety of philosophies and games from improv class into my Spanish classroom.”
Hillyard adds, “I really appreciate how Dan has been gracious enough to offer outdoor improv classes in Easton so we can continue honing our improv skills while staying healthy. At all of our outdoor sessions our group practices social distancing by using cones to keep at least six feet between us in our improv circle. I would definitely recommend that everyone try out a class!”
To register for the Easton outdoors improv classes, visit www.refleximprov.com. On the Reflex Improv website you can also find information about Zoom online classes that Brown is offering in July and August. The online class topics include Intro to Improv, Patterns and Analogous Scenes, and Intro to Comedic Podcasting.
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