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IMPROVISATION LEVEL A
Second City Training Center
Neither experience nor script is necessary for this eight-week course at Chicago’s renowned comedy school. Based on the work of the improv legend Viola Spolin, it uses theatre games to propel improvised scenes around a general framework. Take it alone or as part of a yearlong program.
WHERE: 1608 N. Wells St., 312-337-3992, secondcity.com
WHEN: Sundays, noon to 2:30 p.m., 3 to 5:30 p.m, or 6 to 8:30 p.m., September 1 to October 20
INTRODUCTION TO ACTING
Act One at Theatre Momentum Studios
This nine-week introductory class teaches aspiring thespians the fundamentals: body awareness, conversational flexibility, and attention to other people’s emotions. Along the way, you’ll learn how to warm up your body and voice, how to tap your imagination for character development, and how to explore a script’s subtext through improvisation. You’ll end the course with a toolbox of basic skills—and a strong desire to continue with Act One’s advanced courses. Fans say getting hooked is easy.
WHERE: Cornelia Arts Building, 1800 W. Cornelia Ave., 847-471-4551, actone.com
WHEN: Wednesdays, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., September 11 to November 6
COST: $325 ($292.50 before August 28)
SCREENWRITING: THE FIRST DRAFT
University of Chicago
“Most people have some idea for a screenplay lurking inside of them,” says Susan Hubbard, who teaches this eight-week introductory course offered at the Graham School. A screenwriter with a produced script to her name (2006’s Realization), Hubbard will help you turn your idea into words on the page, find the emotional throughline in the story, and develop a plot. You’ll also deconstruct successful screenplays (including Bridesmaids and Little Miss Sunshine), parse the current market, and learn how to pitch producers.
WHERE: Gleacher Center, 450 N. Cityfront Plaza Dr., 773-702-1722, grahamschool.uchicago.edu
WHEN: Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., October 5 to November 23
SNL SKETCH PACKET
Many of Saturday Night Live’s top writers got started in Chicago. And many—including Tina Fey—learned the ropes from Michael McCarthy, who wrote for SNL in the early ’80s and launched Second City’s writing program in 1992. This fall he’s running a workshop at comedy club iO that’s modeled on the show’s various formats. Over eight weeks, you’ll learn to craft monologues, parodies of commercials and newscasts, digital shorts, and skits with at least five people. The class culminates with a live performance, and you’ll take home a portfolio of sketches to show producers and agents. All for $305? This may be the best bargain in town.
WHERE: 3541 N. Clark St., 773-880-0199, ioimprov.com/chicago
WHEN: Fridays, 3 to 6 p.m., October 18 to December 13