Tag Archives: TJ Jagodowski


This went up on the USS Rock n Roll blog today:

An ensemble I was in a while ago did a form devised by our director TJ Jagodowski called The Fibonacci. You start with an opening scene, A, which goes for maybe two minutes. Then you have a second scene, B, which is related thematically or somehow inspired by scene A. Then you repeat A as exactly as possible, same actors hitting all the main beats and as many of the lines as they can, with the caveat that you are going to flavor it with information from and tone of scene B. You then repeat B similarly, as faithful as possible but somehow incorporating the sensibility of A. Then you do a new scene C, similarly inspired by but contrasting the earlier two. Then you go back, repeat A, then B, then C, and create a new scene D, and go on and on as such until you’re out of time.

One thing I used to love about it was TJ’s analysis: this form is designed to fail. Your brain can’t possibly wrap itself around every single detail, so inevitably it will start to break down once you try to repeat the fourth, fifth, sixth scene. And when it does, it can become transcendent. That bizarre character from scene D wanders into the taut dramatic reality of scene C and then bang, all of a sudden, an unexpected catharsis. Continue reading

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Filed under Improvisation

You are beautiful when you are free

This was the on the USSRNR Blog today:

The introduction to Improvisation for the Theater by Viola Spolin (geeky sidenote for me: I am sitting at a table at Northwestern Settlement. This settlement house is the second oldest in Chicago, founded in 1893, to Hull House’s 1891. Hull House was where Neva Boyd created and workshopped many of the improvisation exercises that Spolin adapted into her teaching. When you are participating in improvisation, you’re part of a history going back over a hundred years, and that’s just in this country.) throws down some pretty compelling reading:

            Everyone can act. Everyone can improvise. Anyone who wishes to can play in the theater and learn to become “stageworthy.”

            We learn through experience and experiencing, and no one teaches anyone anything. This is as true for the infant moving from kicking to crawling to walking as it is for the scientist with equations.

            If the environment permits it, anyone can learn whatever he or she chooses to learn, and if the individual permits it, the environment will teach everything it has to teach. “Talent” or “lack of talent” have little to do with it.

            We must consider what is meant by “talent.” It is highly possible that what is called talented behavior is simply a greater individual capacity for experiencing. From this point of view, it is in the increasing of the individual capacity for experiencing that the untold potentiality of a personality can be evoked.

            Experiencing is penetration into the environment, total organic involvement with it. This means involvement on all levels: intellectual, physical, and intuitive. Of the three, the intuitive, most vital to the learning situation, is neglected. Continue reading


Filed under Improvisation