If you're thinking about taking the Improvised Shakespeare workshop: do it!
If you're still thinking about it, say hellow to Michael Lewis. He'll be teaching the class this Saturday at Blacktop Comedy Theater in Rocklin. I had a chance to ask him some questions.
What are some of your favorite improv teams?
Some of my favorite "dead" improv teams: Bitter Noah, Alexis Stiencamp, and Pete and Paul Explain it all. These were all teams from iO West in the early 2000's. Some of my favorite "living" improv teams: Beer, Shark, Mice, Improvised Shakespeare, and Hello Laser.
You're a great improviser. Was there a moment you realized, you wanted to be involved in comedy? What was that moment?
I don't remember the first moment but I feel in love with improv from about the first time I started improvising at 17 in Bakersfield. I continue to fall in love with improv the more I learn about what is possible as an improvisor, teacher, and artist. My god I'm a sappy romantic for improv.
When and where did you begin improvising?
I started improvising in hight school with ComedySportz Bakersfield in 1995.
Where have you studied?
I was introduced to improvisation through ComedySportz where I performed for about 7 years. I was introduced to long form and got what my serious improv training at iO West. I also take the opportunity to study at improv festivals, and at improv theaters whenever I get the chance to.
What do you love most about improv?
Improv is pure process, our work is never done. You get to hold on to nothing. Your best work and your worst work is completely ephemeral you have to step onto stage and begin anew every time.
Is there a favorite character you've created?
I don't think so but my favorite character fictional or actual person is Timothy "Speed" Leveitch. He is a real person who is endlessly fascinating, go watch The Cruise.
What do you hope students learn in your class?
I hope that all of my students will learn to get out of their own way and let their subconscious lead them. Don't trust your thinky brain it will almost always lead you astray. Be present and trust that how you feel is how you should be feeling.
What's the most valuable piece of advice you received from a teacher?
Trust how you feel and follow that. Your feelings are never wrong. I can't quote anything accurately but that is what I took from Dave Razowsky.