Thursday, April 13, 2017

A nice move, Jiggly Boy

I've met John Sweeney, but I don't really know him, other than having beers with him in Madison one time maybe 30 years ago now. He's a good friend of my brother Pat, and I'm pretty sure that our faithful correspondent Crankbait is also a friend of Sweeney as well. Sweeney is the successor to the legendary Dudley Riggs and runs the Brave New Workshop, the Minneapolis-based improv group that has been our version of Second City for many years. He's also been known for dancing shirtless at Timberwolves games.

Since he's taken the helm at the Brave New Workshop, Sweeney has sought opportunities to simultaneously help his franchise and help people in the community, and his improv classes for seniors manage to achieve both goals, as the Star Tribune reports:
At the Brave New Workshop comedy school in Minneapolis, [Diane] Fuglestad, 69, is one of 30 senior citizens who have been learning improvisational technique for years. It’s about more than getting a laugh: The classes give these elders new skills to think and act quickly, speak up and, most of all, be seen.
Improv forces you to think on your feet and to react quickly, but it's mostly about joy. I recommend the linked article. We need more joy these days.

1 comment:

R.A. Crankbait said...

Sweeney came to my office retirement party 3 years ago and proclaimed me an honorary BNW alumni (I've got a hat and tee-shirt). He also said I could come work for them anytime and it won't affect my benefits, "because we don't pay anything."

The senior improv outreach is new, but they have also been hosting a weekly happy hour that involves packing meals for the homeless.

John teaches that the worst thing you can do in an improv scene is to say "No" to whatever another actor throws at you; the scene dies if you don't just go with it and say, "Yes, and...." He says the same attitude is essential when doing life as well. Whatever happens, you say, "Yes, and..." and wing it from there!