GISS Improv is returning to Ottawa for the sixth time to compete in the Canadian Improv Games national competition, where they hope to reach their highest potential as performers and transform into one great fire-breathing being with five heads, five hearts, and a batting average of 0.429. These improvisers will spend the next two months leading up to the competition traveling near and far to commune with nature and perform for people of all ages, hoping to gain the experience and electric charge needed to create a (mostly metaphorical) explosion onstage. Our team represents the brunette faction of the school, choosing to express themselves through various brunette-hairstyles, as well as a uniform that is usually comprised of denim, lucky tokens, Off-White sneakers and a ‘KISS’ inspired logo.
—Amelia McCluskey

“Grandma’s Cooking: She is the Recipe”

Coach’s Corner:  the ingredients of great Improv…   GISS style

Discovery – This is what excites me the most. I try to play confounding and baffling games to cultivate a condition where we create things that we could not create outside of the context of this immediate shared experience. Group monologuing, word association/chiiiaaps, theme-rolling, metaphor-mining…physical patterns, both expressive and behavioral get repeated, heightened, exaggerated and explored towards some pay-off and discovery. We build vocabulary in our platform and then apply it towards an illusive potential pay-off. It’s lofty, but our aim is for some shared universal human truth (rooted in the ideas that everything is connected and that the most personal is the most universal).

Princeton Offense / condenser mics– We borrow this from the world of college basketball and bluegrass or jazz instrumentation…We endeavor to create a system of shared playfulness where there are no position players (narrator, protagonist, refrigerator, etc) but that we wake up in the middle of improv scenes and can all play the position necessary in that moment. This is predicated on the idea of tools not rules, we try to keep deep tool boxes filled with sharp tools so that when we are called upon to do the job we are ready to do that work, present and purposeful in the moment.

Zen and dasein –  a little bit of equanimity and a pinch of Heidegger, with a splash of Kung Fu Panda …the lines between tools and players, instruments and artists blur and we become one in the flow of the moment. The secret ingredient is inside of you, yet if you only do what you can do you’ll never be more than you are. Maybe I get this from my grandma’s cooking: she is the recipe. I am trying to dismantle the notion of effort and harness the body of delight that can exist when we have nothing to prove and nothing to lose but play for the love of creation and discovery in the face of fleeting and irreplaceable time.

GISS Improv’s Coach is Jason Donaldson is the father of three sons, plays mandolin, loves baseball and has very little experience with alchemy. He teaches theatre on Salt Spring Island and has been coaching CIG since 2002. b.a: 0.429

Enjoy an evening with the GISS Improv Team:

Thursday March 1st, 6-8pm GISS Improv x Cafeteria Dinner Party $15/$10
March 5 & 7 Greenwoods and Braehaven… for residents only!
Saturday March 10, 7:30 pm Royal Canadian Legion branch 92 Show $5
Friday April 6, 7:30pm ArtSpring show and silent auction with very special guests $10

Photos: John Cameron
Compositing on top photo: Claire Robertson