Finding (and Successfully Playing) the Game with Bill Arnett

iO Theater - Harold Cabaret

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Harold Cabaret 1501 N. Kingsbury St. ChicagoIL  60642
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Harold Cabaret 1501 N. Kingsbury St. ChicagoIL  60642

This camp has passed

What's Included

At the heart of many improv scenes and most sketch comedy is notion that one character is being frustrated by the behavior of another. From classics like Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First” to modern sketches like SNL’s “More Cowbell” this concept drives humor. It is called the game of the scene, a central absurdity that defines a scene and gives the actors roles to play inside of it. This workshop will explore characters, the role of the straight man and the subtle but meaningful differences between anger and frustration; all of the things it takes to find and powerfully play the game of your scenes.

About This Organizer

Founded in 1981, iO (Formerly ImprovOlympic) is the world famous flashpoint of comic creativity that spawned an entire generation of America’s best and brightest entertainers. Over 5000 people have trained and performed at iO’s Chicago and Los Angeles theaters, including some of the most recognizable names in show business; Mike Myers, Chris Farley, David Koechner, Adam McKay, Tina Fey and many, many more.

Charna Halpern held a belief that improv was capable of more than the short games and competition-style shows that dominated the scene through the 1970s. It was then that she met legendary director and improv luminary Del Close. Their shared vision for a deeper, more robust form of improvisation based on trust and agreement would be rounded into shape and set in motion when they developed the Harold at iO (then ImprovOlympic). With Del serving as the mentor and Charna the guide, longform was born and the two would change the face of improvisational comedy.


It was Del’s belief that performers needed to have the utmost respect for one another- that if they treated each other like geniuses, poets and artists, they could become that on stage. This philosophy and the famous “yes, and!” notion that agreement is vital on stage helped iO establish itself in the community, and with that the Chicago improv scene was born. In short order iO grew from a ragtag nomadic group of comedic artists into a nationally recognized artistic institution, a destination for the world’s most talented comedians to study and experiment and work. In 1995, iO moved into its current location on Clark Street in Chicago and iO West opened in Los Angeles in 1997. Charna and Del would co-author “Truth In Comedy”, hailed by Bill Murray as “The most important group work since they built the pyramids,” and considered by many to be the bible of improvisational comedy.






Organizer Info

  • iO Theater

Map & Direction

Harold Cabaret 1501 N. Kingsbury St. ChicagoIL  60642
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