This post has one title; I have two.

12 11 2014

Every artist is familiar with the uncomfortable feeling of being too far away from creative projects for too long; I was a bit nervous that I wouldn’t find something soon enough down south. But, boy, I sure did arrive in Atlanta at the right time. the-brink-improv

Right about the time we moved down here, I met two creative and friendly people who had just founded an improv theater together. Kristy Oliver-West and Ian Covell are Co-Founders of Atlanta’s new improv theater, “The Brink Improv.”

While gettin’ used to a new life and a new home, it has been really helpful to have fun improv stuff and fun improv people to ground me. And now that The Brink Improv has its own space in Decatur, Ian, Kristy, and I have been making lots and lots of plans! I am absolutely overjoyed to announce that I have been made both the Co-Artistic Director and the Associate Education Director of The Brink Improv!

Just getting the chance to start playin’ with fun people right away was already a relief!   (I got to play in “The Soapbox, The Brink’s weekly Armando-style show, mere days after arriving here. And in addition to being the Director of Business Outreach, Kristy also formed Brickhouse—a new, great improv team—and asked me to be a member! Plus, I’m currently directing a FANTASTIC group of actors in “The Day Before Tomorrow,” an improvised show in the style of a disaster film, which opens later this month.)  But man, oh man!  Now I have a title–more than one, even!  I feel fancy.

Ian (my Artistic Director cohort and the Education Director) and I have sat down and have started creating class offerings and show schedules for the The Brink. Stay tuned, y’all. 2015 is going to be a very exciting year!





Advanced Scene Study Class at The Brink

19 10 2014

the-brink-improvWell, I must have done something right, because the lovely folks at The Brink have asked me to teach an 8-week AdvancedScene Study class on Sundays starting a week from today!  We’ve already got quite a few folks signed up for this class, but there are some spots still open!  If you’ve been studying/performing improv for a while now, and want to take your scene work to the next level, then this class is for you!

This new 8-week session next Sunday (10/26)
  • Class is from 1:00pm-4:00pm and will begin on 10/26
  • This session of classes will last 8 weeks (10/26-12/14)
  • Amanda Rountree has been performing improvisational theatre professionally since 1992, teaching since 1998, and directing since 2002.  She recently moved to the Atlanta area from Chicago, where she was a faculty member with the Second City Training Center.
  • DESCRIPTION: Learn how you can nurture the skills needed to create grounded scenes that can sustain themselves for longer than just a few minutes.  In this workshop, we will focus on breaking out of any habits you may have formed that can hinder grounded work, while we explore the small steps we can make to do truly sustainable, dynamic scenes.  Come ready to dig in and play!
  • How to Pay for Class
    • ONLY 18 SPOTS AVAILABLE! If there is overwhelming interest we MIGHT add another time slot…but don’t hesitate to claim your seat now!
    • All students are required to pay a $25 reservation fee (it will be applied towards your tuition)
    • Here is the link to do that: Preview Image
    • Your reservation fee is non-refundable as it HOLDS A SPACE in a class that we are no longer able to offer someone else.
    • The remaining balance of $144 is due on the first day of class. Please make checks payable to: The Brink Improv
    • Your enrollment in the class will not be guaranteed until payment is received.
     
    See you in class!




Fun Improv Class for Non-Actors in North GA

9 10 2014

I am delighted to be offering this fun, one-night only improv class for adults with little to no improv experience.  If an improv class sounds a wee bit scary to you, and you live in northern Georgia, then this is the class for you!  And it will be fun, not scary–I promise!

Improv for Non-Actors
7:00-9:30 pm
Forsyth Academy of the Performing Arts

520 Industrial Way, Suite B
Cumming, GA

$25 per person
To register for this class, contact Forsyth Academy at info@forsythapa.com or 678.468.1731.

Looking for a new way to have a little fun with your friends, or to make new friends?  This workshop is geared towards those with little-to-no improv experience. Improvisation is more than just a useful tool for actors, it’s a different way of approaching life.  Through fun games and exercises, students will gain more confidence, more creativity, and more playfulness through the basic improv skills of listening, reacting, working with others, and trusting oneself.  Not only will it make you more comfortable while thinking on your feet, it’s a delightful way to spend an evening.

This is a great opportunity for you to have a fun night out with your buddies and walk out the door with a renewed sense of creativity, self-confidence, and maybe even some new friends!

In this workshop you will learn:

~How to trust yourself
~How to be spontaneous
~How to be more playful and creative in your every day life
~And much, much more

What People Are Saying

“I really enjoyed the safe environment that Amanda created.  I am really a beginner and I never felt like an outsider during the workshop.  Amanda made sure that we all walked away with a new skill and ways to think outside of the box!”  -CJ Leavens, Chicago





Sustainable Scenework Improv Workshop in Atlanta

8 10 2014

I’ll be teaching a one-day master-level improv workshop in Atlanta on October 18th!

This is a workshop for improvisers who would like to do scenes that can sustain themselves for longer than just a few minutes.  If you’ve been practicing/performing improv for a while now, but are still a bit intimidated when it comes to longer scenes, then this is the class for you!

Click here to register/pay for the class.  Space is limited–sign up now to reserve your spot!

Sustainable Scenework
Saturday, Oct. 18
12-4pm

Learn how you can nurture the skills needed to create grounded scenes that can sustain themselves for longer than just a few minutes.  In this workshop, we will focus on breaking out of any habits you may have formed that can hinder grounded work, while we explore the small steps we can make to do truly sustainable, dynamic scenes.  Come ready to dig in and play!

Amanda will be teaching her "Sustainable Scenework" master-class in Atlanta on 10/18/14.

Amanda will be teaching her “Sustainable Scenework” master-class in Atlanta on 10/18/14 at The Brink.

Amanda Rountree has been performing improvisational theatre professionally since 1992, teaching since 1998, and directing since 2002.  She recently moved to the Atlanta area from Chicago, where she was a faculty member with the Second City Training Center, an ensemble member with WNEP Theatre, and a writer/puppeteer with SNORF.   Her one-woman shows, The Good, the Bad, and the Monkey and 185 Buddhas Walk into a Bar… both had successful runs in Chicago and tours to other cities. Previously, she was a performer and instructor with Unexpected Productions and a performer and co-artistic director of Playback Theater Northwest in Seattle. Amanda has entertained audiences in seven countries and countless North American cities utilizing a wide variety of styles, disciplines, and formats.  She’s performed everything from improv games in Kentucky and improvised Shakespeare at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival to drama therapy in Japan and breakthrough formats in Germany.

The Brink Improv
3041 N Decatur Rd
Scottdale, GA 30079





the losing of someone

30 09 2014

in the losing of someone, you gain so many things

things you didn’t want

you just want to trade all of those things back for your loved one

but you can’t

your loved one is gone and you are stuck with a crappy grab bag

filled with

sadness, anger, fear, loneliness,

and a hollow, emptied out part of your heart

“I’m sorry to hear about your loss,” they will say, kindly, not knowing what else to give you, your hands already full with the contents of your unwanted bag.

“I know it happened a while ago. I’m sorry I didn’t say it sooner.”

but anyone who has lost a loved one knows that there is no such thing as

belated condolences

you will never stop missing your loved one

never

and life continues and you do all sorts of things

you thought you’d do with them nearby

wishing you

good luck

and

congratulations

and

I love you

It’s so different without them there. Different than it always had been. One less.

one less at dinner

one less at the celebration

one less at all the gatherings

and there are positive thoughts and comforting quotes

but sometimes

you don’t want any of those

you just want to cry

and there is a gentle beauty in that

crying

for the knowing

that even if your loved one was here for only a brief time

how lucky you are to have had even that





The Rain Here

11 09 2014

It rained here the other day with such big, round drops, that a person could walk five paces in between getting wet.

"Ecstasy" by Maxfield Parrish

“Ecstasy” by Maxfield Parrish

But that was just one rain. The big-drop rain doesn’t seem to be the dependable personality of the rain here. The one constant I’ve seen so far is its ability to both approach and depart so quickly, surrounded on either side by beautiful blue skies with picture perfect clouds. The skies here often seem that they are exquisite artist renderings of what people think beautiful skies should look like—back drops meticulously painted on scrims, which the set-designer just rolled out from the back of the theater.

The downpours can be heavy at times, with magnificent thunder and lightning shows. Afterward, steam dramatically rises up from the hot pavement. Surrounded by all these trees, and chirping bugs and birds, it is less gritty than the steam rising up from the manhole covers in the big city. And it’s prettier too.

The other day, I drove for about 20 minutes on curvy back roads through a forest to buy almond milk, taquitos, and popcorn. (All of Georgia is in a forest, whether you’re in the city or the country—or, like us, somewhere in between). And in those 20 minutes, I witnessed gentle grey clouds, a spectacular maybe-I-should-pull-this-car-over rainstorm, steam and mist and fog (condensation that couldn’t decide whether it was warm or cool), then cleared-up skies, followed by the most amazing sunset I’d seen in a long time.

This cartoon gets it.

This cartoon gets it.

I am fond of rain. I can’t remember ever not liking a rainy day. I’ve always preferred them to the sunny ones. Just as a sun-lover feels downtrodden and irritable after so many days of rain in a row, I am not a truly happy camper until a stretch of sunshine-filled days is finally interrupted with a gentle, grey day, giving me a much-needed respite. The sun is just too aggressive for me. Perhaps that sentiment is rooted in my much too pale and sensitive skin. I can accrue a sunburn in less than eight minutes of being out-of-doors on bright, sunny day and my Nordic eyes are sensitive to that harsh light. There’s a certain amount of pushiness that a sunny day has. “Get out there and do something!” A grey day, on the other hand, is much more laid back about your personal choices. “Did you want to read a book today? Oh, okay. That’s cool. Just to let you know, if you wanted to take a wee nap, that’s fine too.   Really, anything you decide to do today is splendid. No judgment here.”

Sunny days are the over-achieving girl who lives next door, always giving you the side-eye, because you don’t mow your lawn every week. Grey days are your best friend, the one who always listens and supports your every decision.

I am not as deterred by the amount of sun here as I thought I’d be, mostly because the bounty of trees provides this super white gal with ample amounts of shade. And also, those clouds—those picture perfect, Maxfield Parrish clouds that decorate the bright, blue sky are not so bad. Not so bad at all.

If I had a little rain cloud following me everywhere, I would save so much money on sunscreen!

If I had a little rain cloud following me everywhere, I would save so much money on sunscreen!

I’ve only been living in this region for a month, and it’s certainly not going to surpass Seattle in its ability to please me rain-wise. But already, Georgia has given those glorious mid-west thunderstorms that I loved in Chicago a run for their money. And maybe, just maybe, since the winters are so mild here, the months to come will have lots more grey days and rain. I sure am lucky my husband didn’t get a job that moved us to Arizona or New Mexico.





Robin

26 08 2014

Mr. Williams has always been one of my favorite entertainers.

Mr. Williams has always been one of my favorite entertainers.

With everything that is happening just in my own little life, I haven’t really mourned the death of Mr. Robin Williams yet. I found out about his death at our going-away party in Chicago two weeks ago, mere hours before we packed up the car to head to our new home down south. So the weight of the news was not something I could handle at the time.

We’ve been in our new home for almost two weeks now and yesterday I stopped by the new-to-us grocery store to grab some supplies for dinner. I cut through the magazine aisle—an aisle I don’t think I’ve ever fully utilized in the grocery store. Perhaps one time, in the mid-90’s, I bought an Utne Reader before a long flight I was going to take. Even when buying magazines was a thing, I didn’t really do it. But then I saw his face on the cover of a special Time magazine tribute. And I bought it. I’ve only gotten through one article—too difficult for me to read more than that in one sitting.

Robin Williams 1951-2014

From a very early age, he was one of the most inspirational performers for me. I’m sure there are countless actors, improvisers, and comedians who’ve said the same thing. I loved his humor, his originality, his spontaneity, and his heart. Everything he did, he did with sincerity and heart, and that makes all the difference in the world. When a performer shares a piece of himself or herself, a strong connection is made to each individual audience member. I felt a strong connection to Mr. Williams. But I am by no means the only one.

Any suicide is so very hard on the loved ones surrounding that person. There’s always a feeling of betrayal. “But I loved you! Why wasn’t that enough for you? Didn’t you know?” And I am selfish enough to have felt a small pang of that betrayal when I heard of his suicide.   But even a casual understanding of addiction and depression tells us that loving someone who suffers from these demons isn’t enough. And it was no secret that he struggled with them for years.

He was so incredibly loved and admired—an amazing performer and human being, a man full of kindness and creativity who brought joy to me, and so many others. But all of that love, all of that admiration we had for him, was still no match for his demons.

May he rest in peace. His work will continue to entertain and inspire others for years to come.








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