- Ralph's workshops
I give workshops for groups of people interested in discovering their own and each other's natural genius.
OK, what makes these workshops special? It's because they enable ordinary, worried, frustrated, doubt-ridden people - in other words, pretty well everyone - to break through their protective shells and rediscover the creativity, flexibility, spontaneity and trust that are the inalienable birthright of every human being on the planet - even northern Europeans, who often feel they lack these faculties.
I have seen again and again that the practise of fundamental improv skills - trust in mutual support, faith in human resourcefulness, and the readiness to accept others' ideas and input - releases a flood of playful energy, intelligence and creativity which many find amazing and inspirational. These workshops are especially beneficial to any group of people wishing to unlock more of their potential to work and create together in a spirit of collaboration and productivity.
I am particularly interested in how the fear of sound itself (voice, music, or instruments) can obstruct spontaneous, playful, emotional exchange between people, and how attenuating these fears releases a new level of energy, playfulness and engagement. Concentrating on this area is particularly useful to theatre groups, music groups, public speakers, and others for whom human sound is a medium for a message, a mood, or the projection of confidence and charisma.
For long-form improv theatre groups looking for new training input and challenges, this workshop focuses on the undervalued roles played by vocalization, articulate and 'inarticulate' sound, and music. It shows how our innate understanding of the complexities of sound and music can be used to build powerful emotional scenes, complex situations, and a strengthened group mind and mutuality; and it demonstrates the organic connections that sound and music provide between the concrete and the abstract.
For more details about these workshops, drop me a line.
You're just born to teach! I really appreciated the way you interacted with us, so easy, positive and trustful. As for the workshop itself: this was really useful! The work on abstraction is really important for us; and I found the work on the body really enlightening. I improved a lot my way of hearing and feeling the global situation in an impro; where are the others, what they're doing or saying. I think the power of the work we did was in the mixture of abstract sounds or gesture, and storytelling; we in Italy work a lot with creativity but not so much with acting, so we needed to know that we can stay on a scene for minutes just doing things, even without a character! My fantasy in situations is now more wide.
I would like you to know our way of improvising - you will see how useful your work has been for us, and what to work on next time; because I really hope we will have a next time! Big hug,
I will speak with you par tous les languages 'cause it's a symbol of the freedom que nous avons respirés ces jours-là. Un Improvvisazione senza frontiere, an empowerment of our bodies, minds and souls. J'ai voulu attendre une semaine pour laisser vivre les effects de ton stage: j'ai verifié que les effects sont vifs et efficaces. Let me explain: jeudi on s'est retrouvé avec le group professionel de Milan pour travailler sur l'impro, comme d'habitude, et on a crée de belles choses, les autres sont entrés dans le climat de 'l'improjazz' et on a très bien joué... et c'est pas fini: hier soir on a joué un "Imprò" (più o meno come il Match d'Improvvisazione) et on a cherché de jouer avec le rhythm de l'improjazz dans le coeur et dans le corps and... it's been a wonderful show, the pleasure of taking time, of the simple mouvements, de la création pure, sans utiliser forcément l'idée, the brain. Donc c'est verifié, mon cher Ralph: ce que tu as semé va commencer à devenir fruit... je sais que ça ce n'est que le début.
That's the meaning, the true meaning of the words "Grazie Ralph, tu sei stato un grande maestro per noi, ci hai comunicato passione e serietà; sei stato attento alle singole persone e sei riuscito a valorizzare ciascuno di noi: sei stato un grande insegnante!".
I really loved the work we did in Follonica, the energy you brought to the group and the feeling of enjoying ourselves together. I wanna thank you for your interest for each one of us, we felt you so near and we could see the enthusiasm grow. I think I will take with me what I've learn in our stage as a new mind disposition, feeling the music in every improvisation!
Un abbraccio grande, sperando di rivederti presto,
I wanted to thank you for the wonderful workshop. To me it was the best workshop I've had in years. I liked the fact that you had a schedule and that you knew where you were taking us. I know it should be always like that... but too often teachers "improvise" and the results are poor. You're very professional but at the same time you put your heart in the things you do. You also give attention to everybody and are not afraid of showing your feelings.
The exercises we did during the workshop were very interesting and gave me a new "boost". And this is true not only for the improv work, but also for my job. I should try to put more of myself in class with my students.
On Tuesday I had an improv class and I realized how much I had learnt from your workshop. I was willing to try and experiment with sounds..... and so I did! I was so happy I had dared to try something different!
I'm writing on behalf of Tongue & Groove to thank you for the stellar workshop you facilitated for us on November 15, 2007! Your passion for exploring organic sound, music and rhythm is contagious - the company was inspired by your knowledge, energy and dedication to this form of expression. The workshop was thoughtfully designed and you delivered it with great care and nurturing. I was impressed by your ability to quickly assess our strengths and challenges and spontaneously adjust your exercises to the needs of the group. For a company whose work is based on Realism, your guidance through the world of abstract vocal and physical expression was a breath of fresh air and, quite simply, a lot of fun! I was particularly happy with our final exercise in which we applied your abstract training to our realistic scenework with great results! Everyone in the company was joyfully buzzing about the experience at our next rehearsal.
I happily recommend you as an outstanding workshop designer and facilitator. I hope we can work together again in the future.
One goal of the IFS' initial training programme for upcoming filmmakers is to strengthen their creative and professional personalities. The first year of the programme is identical for producers, writers and directors. We consider it very important that future filmmaking partners build their professional craftwork on the same foundations of creativity, communication and 'filmania' (film enthousiasm). With the help of your workshop, students discovered talents and abilities they were unaware of before. They let go of fears and blocks and sensed large creative opportunities.
I must also mention a fabulous side effect in view of the group dynamics. The workshop took place after the first three months of the programme, when negative competition and subgroups had started to become an issue. It was just the right time to join your workshop and to make all these negative vibrations obsolete. The whole school was effected by your attendance, and I can promise you that the whole of the staff would have joined the workshop if they could have! We thank you and your colleagues for the great job you did and for the warmth and the joy you brought to the IFS. We strongly believe and hope that we will continue our partnership and work together soon. All the best for you!
"The workshop I really enjoyed. Firstly the sense of openness and generosity from all four of you as facilitators, the genuine desire to share the work. The exercise in the morning really helped to open everyone up and feel safe. The swarm I really liked the large group ones and the three people ones - such a clver, extremely watchable and efficient way of changing a scene, moving a scene on, exploring emotional depths - v.good. Then the long improvisation in the afternoon. I had never done anything like it before - it was great to have a large group of people depending on and supporting each other. I was amazed at how easily a narrative emerged.
Thanks to all for of you. Please come to England again!"
All the best, Carey
"Impromptu's workshop at the SHIFTI Festival was a great invitation to learn from their practice. It was playful and generous, and huge fun to work with the tools that they use in making performance, finding a story and ways to make it grow."
I attended a 4-day workshop with Ralph last January. The aim was learning how to go from concrete scenes to abstract ones and back, within a longform perspective.
I found the workshop very interesting, well planned and organized. Ralph gradually led us through a learning path made up of experimentation proposals and subsequent group discussions during which we shared the feelings about what we just did. I especially found very original the idea of using our own instruments (we carried them from home!) in the workshop.
Anyway, working with Ralph is not only participating to a work group, it is a real experience! He was not only our teacher: he was really part of our group, generously participating in the experimentations.
I personally consider him a perfect example of the first rule of improv: supporting is everything! That's why I absolutely recommend Ralph as a teacher at least once in your life!
Ralph's workshop on abstract-concrete improvisation has opened a new point of view in my way of being on stage. Mostly, I was used to using my body only to follow the words I said; now I've learned that stories can begin before I start to speak.
And I've also learned that it is much stronger to start an improvisation with an abstract scene, because the relationship between the characters becomes much clearer.
I loved finding the connection with my improvisation partner only with movement or sound. I think it makes improvisation much more interesting, and my relationships with other actors much more real.
Your workshop was a great experience because it allowed me to experiment with a different way to improvise that I didn't know very well, and I didn't (and unfortunately) don't use often.
Your way to lead the workshop was great for me, because it wasn't based on words and boring theories but was built on feelings, looks and experiences. I liked very much that you experimented with us, because this changed the atmosphere of the workshop from "lesson-style" to "experimentation-style": fantastic! :-)
I liked so much the intersections between theatre and music, this made your workshop very emotional.
Well, it has been four great days that i will always remember with joy and melancholy :-).
For me your workshop was very interesting because it forced me to focus on the body language and on the movements. It is an area that normally I tend to consider less than speech. The exercises you proposed were very effective in leading me to put my whole body in the improv: the "copy and modify" activities led me to pay a great attention on what the others were doing, on what I was doing, and most of all on what I would like to do.
The "choreographic" exercises, the ones where we had to wander round the room and follow others and perform abstract actions or play abstract sounds, were really funny, and obtained what for me a good improv activity has to be: when I was performing the exercises I had the sensation to enter a room full of toys I had to interact with. I had only to choose what to do or what to be and put my self in the play session. It gave me a great sense of freedom and made me really think less than normally I do. The long form realistic-abstract structure we tried to improv with during the last day was really new to me, complex and enriching.
Thank you very much Ralph.
The course was wonderful full of energy and perfectly directed by Ralph. It was very interesting and touched aspects of improv that are not alwys dealt with. The atmosphere and group building were very good. The work was hard but very enjoyable. I definitely recommend it!!
(on a 'groupmind' workshop) Groupmind is the great energy that generates from a true group and when I say 'true group', I mean a complex organism with its own mood and brain.
Groupmind is a very interesting and involving course, that demonstrates, trough improvisation techniques, how a number of people, perfectly unknown to each other, may become a true group in a few days. Ralph is very good at giving his students the tools to obtain added value like the energy that transforms a simple flock into a true group.
1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 4
1 + 1 + 1 + Ralph = Groupmind
"The stage is a magic trip in the world of sounds, immagination, feeling"; I felt immediately integrated in the group; everybody tried to open towards the others (some more, some less) but it was clear from the beginning that we would build a magnificent team.
At the beginning we increased confidence and trust in each other through specific exercises; after that, we were a real group with a common spirit but keeping specific individuality; at that point, we developed an incredible capacity to follow sounds, movements, to create choreography with the bodies.... Most of us never had done something similar in the past, but it seemed so natural and easy for us...
We found inside ourselves an unbelievable creativity, sense of sounds, rhythm; it was something magic that also gave us a big emotion during the exercise; Ralph, you gave us the main directions but also gave us a big freedom to do what we felt in that moment; it was a winning factor: we felt very free to create driven by the instinct.
In a few words, the three driven factors for my body were: "trust, follow, create" (in this order); and very often this sequence was applied by the body itself without waiting the order from the mind!
Fantastic; I also appreciated a lot your professionality, Ralph: you took care of us even before the course began since you already knew our names; and I also appreciated the few words you gave everybody at the end of the course.