Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The Geek Armando

Return of the Natives

Last week I saw Return of the Natives, a really cool improv at the Blue Door Theatre. They did a show based the Armando, a form where a monologist tells a story and then the improvisers improvise on the story, the monologist tells another story, more improv, each feeding into the other until they run out of time. In this show, the monologist was a standup comedian and she started out with a bit from her show (she now lives in LA), the improvisers where originally from Spokane but have moved away to places where they could get paid to do improv.

.NET Rocks #300 and others

In DNR # 300, Richard Campbell tells geeky tales of his early hacking as a kid in the 1970s and 80s. He told stories about how he built an Electronic Rocket Countdown Timer at 10, fixed computers for grownups, solved a difficult hardware problem by replacing the hardware, built a server farm in his house, etc. He even tells “The Goliath Story” (I can’t give it justice, just listen to it). I’ve heard Richard geek out on other podcasts on other podcasts like Hanselminutiae. I’ve heard other geeks tell tales of great geekdom on blogs, podcasts, the speaker’s room at code camps, at work, etc.

Improv in the workplace

Years ago I learned that Infusion Development offers improv classes to their associates. They even have a video on youtube. This knowledge is one of the factors that lead me to start taking improv classes at the Blue Door. Ted Neward gave an improv session at the 2012 Seattle Code Camp. There are countless articles on the business benefits of teaching improv to your employees from sites like businessweek.com, foo.com & careerbuilder.com. I’ve written about my experience with improv.

Fantasy – Putting it all together

I would like to see an Armando style show based on the monologs of a visionary/character of our industry with improvisers who are geeks. This performance could take place at an industry conference, code camp or such.

Richard Campbell would be an excellent choice to be the monologist, but there are others out there who could tell great stories. I’ve heard other geeks tell tales of great geekdom on blogs, podcasts, the speaker’s room at code camps, at work, etc. The monologist must be someone who can get up there and talk and tell good stories. There could be a dialog in the form of an interview in place of the monolog; a good interviewer can help bring out the character if the principal is otherwise shy.

Infusion Improv would be an excellent choice for the players. I hope there are other companies that offer improv training, one of those companies could send their improv all-stars or the geek improvisers from the host city. If a company provided the improvisers, they could get some recruiting PR points.

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