During the in-depth project, I have encountered many challenges that I have overcome and is in the process of solving, but at the moment, I feel like I am starting to become concerned. I am realizing that I am running out of time. As the “AprilMayJune” portion of TALONS start to kick in, I am losing an immense amount of time to invest in my extracurriculars. Coming home at 9, doing extracurricular homework, and then schoolwork, and then In-depth planning, trip planning and preparation, keeping up with a social life has been extremely stressful lately. An example of the problem starting to affect this project is that our mentor Graham Myers was supposed to have a free workshop for improv acting, renting out a room at the school with some peers, but I had to cancel on my mentor because Albert had a Kayaking practice session which was crucial to attend. We are planning next week Wednesday, which allows Albert and I to practice acting in the meantime, reach out to other improv actors in other schools, fellow talons and other students to come take part in our workshop (that we are essentially hosting.)
That is the darker side of my mind speaking.
The brighter side of my mind: Over the break, I got in touch with Graham while Albert was on vacation, learned a huge amount of exercises to practice with Albert, was given homework on acting, made a document that organized our learning and had step by step instructions on what to do in the time that we have. I have done everything I wanted to finish in the span of spring break. A relief.
Our Schedule is in the note doc attached below.
What kinds of learning opportunities does the mentor provide to expose you to new learning?
Our mentor has exposed us to an understanding of what improv really is. There are no mistakes here, the mistakes are essentially what you want to show and that it is never funny if thought through. Graham is 38, and he’s been doing this since he was 13. He showed me places to seek professional shows and workshops I can attend. He himself opens shows occasionally and I’ve been to one. He’s opening a workshop that he will teach next week. He exposes me and gives me the most opportunities to see all sides of improv in such limited time.
What kinds of learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning?
Practices, large or small performances, and workshops that we are eligible to attend that can help me as a learner, an academic student, and an actress teaches me to retain my knowledge and commit everything I learned to long-term memory. They help me seek step-by-step processing, applying a previous skill to learning a new one. The activities Graham gave us build on each other. Starting from partner teamwork (Albert and I), to environment development, Character development, and adding, and so on to create a full scene by plainly improvising.
What kinds of opportunities exist that might accelerate learning?
To help accelerate learning, I can always use books and the internet to get a bit of more insight. Cassandra and Ki-Seon from improv club introduced me to a television show that only displays improv called “Whose line is it anyway?”. It is both a great entertainment source and a place to learn from real, professional actors. But for the long run, face-to-face talking sessions or workshops with a mentor or teacher is the best idea. So, to do that, we will be in a workshop directed by Graham next week and will go find a theatre to do a drop-in workshop with professionals as soon as we get the time downtown. It will be a great opportunity to accelerate our learning as it is in need of acceleration in the pace…
When you get together what do you talk about?
This answer may be quite different from what Albert may have said, as we never had a meeting with the both of us.
When I meet Graham, I pull out my laptop and ask him the questions I have prepared, which are usually about what we should be doing, new exercises and help on planning final presentation. I type everything and have a non-stop conversation solely about improv and only improve to get the best out of the time I have. We talk about what improv is, as well, as he says that it’s a process of endless learning. I make sure to never go off-track; each minute with the mentor is precious to me and for Albert as well.
What is going particularly well in your relationship right now?
I found that my mentor and I get along well. He listens and gives insight. Fortunately, he is not one of those adults that talk about music for five minutes and before you know it, you’re discussing modern taxidermy. He is always on task and on topic. He is very enthusiastic and passionate even though he’s doing us a favour for free. I think he knows I appreciate this, he is very kindhearted and passionate about the topic.
What are you learning about one another?
- I’ve learned Graham is happy to teach us, a passionate and focused mentor.
- Albert is a fun, happy, and positive person. We are bonding well through this.
- Graham speaks from his experience and from his brain and heart. He is true about what he says and wishes us the best.