With a bachelor in Musical Theater and a lifetime of performing, directing and being strange, join this lady of laughter to discover your storytelling abilities! Jen was Frenchy in the National tour of “Grease!”, performed with heavy hitters like Maltby and Shire and Nancy Opel to name a few. Jen has directed some kick butt musicals in NYC such as “Partners”, “Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, “42nd Street”. Jen’s theatrical training comes from years of experience in performing. Recently, Jen has started her training with Aretha Sills of the Viola Spolin Method to bring even higher levels of theatricality, relaxation and access to one’s imagination to her classes. Jen began Astoria Women’s Improv as a way to activate the women in her community using theater itself to defeat the disconnectedness of our times.
Alexis started doing improv in 2005 in college (Seton Hall University) and “formally trained” so to speak at the People’s Improv Theater (The PIT), studying improv under Bradford Jordan, Joe Schiappa, Kevin Cragg (currently on teams The Baldwins, Junior Varsity), Nate Starkey, and Ali Farahnakian (founder of The PIT). Alexis played on a few indie teams, and have been a part of the team Lazy Fair for about five years, and this has been one of Alexis’ most proudest accomplishment: indie teams tend to dissolve frequently. Her team loves practicing and performing together and she couldn’t ask for better teammates. In addition to performing, Alexis previously taught improv for teens for five years in NJ (her beloved home state).
The Birth Of AWI (Astoria Women’s Improv) by Jen Jurek
In 2016, I remember the morning of the election waking up in a vacuum of my own thoughts. I had called my dad as I walked my little daughter to Astoria Park. I said “What are we going to do dad?” My dad was in Indiana facing a disease that would, in only 2 years, take his life. He said, “Well Jen, just get up every day and do your best, try to stay present and have good days.” I was a theater performer, a singer and I was a new mom trying to connect to my community (but like most first time moms, I felt a truckload of self doubt daily). I was listening to the radio one day and I heard this remarkable story about how a certain leader used the persuasion of “theatrics” to activate and confuse people. It was profoundly relative and simple, but I thought, (in my child brain that sometimes speaks up, “but…..but….but……theater is used for GOOD…..that’s not good”). And it was there that I recognized my theatrical superpower. I started designing an environment where women could come and throw some words around. I wanted a space where being collaborative creators was the thing. I wanted a place where my superpower could encourage other’s super powers to activate.
Through the studies of Viola Spolin one learns that Improv began in this country as a source of helping immigrants “creatively” digest their new home and the feelings associated with a behemoth transition such as theirs. This is improv. Improv is a way to create an environment, enjoy exploring a simple task, problem solve and relate to one another as creative beings and as humans. Improv has been transformed over the many years in this country, and we here at AWI will aspire to remember each scene with this spirit….each step with relaxation…we will try to create something we find delightful through our self expression.
- Jen Jurek Activist, Womanist, Astorian, Mom and Creator of AWI, 2016
The Classes | The Format | The Fun
The classes offered are 2 hours in length (in the evenings) 8 weeks in duration and because you are asking, YES there is wine involved. We have a show at the end of the 8 weeks in honor of the phrase: “LET’S DO A SHOW BECAUSE…. WHY THE HECK NOT!” We do mainly short form improv which means after some physical and mental group based warm ups, then we play games. Some Viola Spolin techniques are utilized in the warm ups and games.
Each game has a formula that is followed in order to get the most out of the game. Some are word games, some are based around the alphabet, some are physical and some are based on imaginary environments. But all of them involve (getting to) letting go and trusting the process. SO! After we go through the game (which usually lasts about 3-5 minutes) we discuss the benefits and point of each game, what works and why something doesn’t.
Other games involve a longer form of improv where you are permitted to play a little longer in an imaginary space. No matter what, the games that we do can be found online and are commonly practiced by other improv schools, comedy groups and sketch troupes who play across the friggin world. If you are interested…join us! Before you know it, you will be "Yes...And-ing" all over the dang place and the funny part is...you don't even need to be funny to do any of it. Just have a pulse and a sense of adventure and you will have a wonderful time.
For links the benefits of improv click your favorite subject below:
Although improv can unlock your creativity, it’s not a replacement for therapy or counseling. Please understand that this is a spontaneous environment, open minds are required. Classes are non-refundable due to the affordable pricing and the limited class sizes.
Join us in the Fall 2019 Enrollment available NOW!
SUNDAYS (Returning and Beginners Welcome) : $220
Beginning October 6th, 2019
7:00pm-9:00pm (2 hours for 8 weeks)
SHOW Date: Sunday Dec 1st 7pm at the Ditmars Space
MONDAYS (Returning and Beginners Welcome) :SOLD OUT!
Beginning October 7th, 2019
Class Time: 8:00pm- 10:00pm (2 hours for 8 weeks) (PLEASE NOTE** October 28th class will be on Thursday October 31st that week**)
SHOW at the QED December 2, 2019 7pm
SHOWS! SHOWS! SHOWS! SO MANY SHOWS!
SHOW JULY 1, 2019-NAILED IT DANG IT!
PERFORMERS: Confused, Haybale, Mystical, Booty, Hilarious, Jammin, and Jive Talkin
BECAUSE IT’S FUNNY.
MANY HAVE SAID “IT IS PROBABLY ILLEGAL OR COSTS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO LAUGH THIS HARD.”
SHOW: JUNE 30, 2019 AT THE QED!- - AUDIENCE MEMBERS HAVE SAID “WOW, THIS WAY MORE ENTERTAINING THAN I THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE- AND BOY….SHE FUNNY!”
ALLIE, MADURAH, AMY, AMY, CINDY, STACEY, JESSICA, KAYLA, JESSYE
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