John Mc

This is a collection of my thoughts. Some of the thoughts that I once had, I no longer do. Some thoughts I have now I have never had. Yet none shal be discounted. This blog is soley for the enjoyment of the author and the readers. On occasion the views expressed are overly exagerated in order to prove a point. Also there may be a dirty word or thought in some of the posts. Grow up and take this for what it's worth - a blog that barely anyone will ever see.


It's Over

Before I had a chance to write about it, it is over already. I have completed my first class of Second City training. Every Monday for ten weeks I would meet at Second City in Chicago with a great group of people to make stuff up. It started off small with simple games to increase awareness of the other folks in the room as well as focus on what is required of you. We then went on to study how to convey emotions and become "grounded" in a scene. In other words, to explain a back-story to the audience without having to come out and say "We are a married couple who have been together for twelve years. She is controlling and I am not. We have 2.5 kids and a dog named 'Spiffy.' We are having issues with the bills and need to work something out."
This was a very unique experience. While I anticipated that we would be creating scenes together, I never knew how much went into Improv. The guidelines and rules make scene. For example, the two most important ones to follow are "Yes and..." as well as "Accept everything." They kind of go together. You agree with whatever the other person has created and build upon that. Whatever they have said is the truth and you accept it immediately and put your own spin on it and make something out of nothing.
The class that I was in was great. It seemed that there were no two alike personalities. This I feel was key to why the class worked as well as it did. Everyone offered something different and came from a different point of view. Were some people better than others? Of course. No matter what the activity, no two skill levels are identical. However, after a few weeks of working with everyone, you knew their strengths and weaknesses and were able to manipulate that. (In a good way.) You knew that with one person, this topic or statement would work well and with another person, they would sink on stage. While simple open questions will work with some, you can be more direct and "from left field" with others.
This being said, I did still wince some times when I was paired with certain people. I knew that it would be rough, but welcomed the challenge.
One great aspect was our instructor. We had a guy by the name of Brian Posen. (Look him up. I'm sure you will be impressed.) Brian has been with Second City since 1923. Or at least his extensive resume' would have you believe that. He also is the director and co-writer or the longest running Improv play in Chicago history "Cupid Has A Heart On." (Look that up too. It was a remarkable performance.) But, most importantly, he knew how to instruct in a fun way while offering constructive criticism and raining down many compliments. It was an all-inclusive learning experience from the moment class started to well after it ended.
We also would meet after class for a pint or five at the bar across the street. Or we would catch the free improv show at Second City at 10:00. (It is free for everyone. You should go.) We would get to see how what we had just learned translates to those on stage and have a greater understanding for what they do while seeing the steps between where we were and where the performers were. We would also discuss what we had just learned with the class afterwards to further re-enforce what we had just been taught. And then gossip about people who didn't join us for a drink after class.
Sadly, this Monday was our last day. It appears that we will all be going our separate ways. (For the most part.) Second City attempts to have classes stay together throughout the entire 5-course learning process. Because, after a year of hanging out with the same group nearly every week, you will have a great understanding for how they work and how you work with them. Alas, I will not be continuing Second City this semester. I plan on starting up again in the fall. I have to focus on work right now and can't have any distractions or additional financial responsibilities. More on work and my new financial responsibilities soon.
While we hoisted our last pint together Monday night, there will be one more reunion of sorts. This Sunday I plan on having as many of my fellow classmates over as possible for an awards ceremony. This ceremony will be rather reminisent of "The Dundies" from "The Office." We will probably have a small BBQ on my Forman grill (I will hope that no one gets their foot burned) and maybe because we are all improv nerds, play some improv games. But, the main purpose is to show that in a few short weeks how many people have been brought into each of our lives and to maintain these relationships. That and to give out "Bushiest Beaver" to one of my fellow classmates.


  • At 12:00 PM, Blogger Christa said…

    John I bet you were great in that class. You always had some of the funniest things to say at a moments notice! Good for you for following through with something that makes you happy!

  • At 4:01 PM, Blogger LG said…

    Um, bushiest beaver? What about an award for the greasiest suit-wearing class crasher?


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