To quote singer/songwriter Paul Simon, “Improvisation is too good to leave to chance.” That appears to be the philosophy of Todd Vittum, a graduate of Burt Reynolds’ Master Acting Class, who teaches Improvisation 101+ at the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film & Theatre (BRIFT).
Vittum is well schooled in the art of improv. He is fond of saying, “Make no mistake about it, improvisation is, indeed, an art form.” He believes that without improvisational technique, actors can be caught with their pants down when a scene does not go as rehearsed.
Vittum has been teaching Improv 101 and Level 2 Improvisation for the past two years. Due to the popularity of his classes and the advancements his students are making at a rapid pace, he will begin teaching Improvisation 101+ as part of the BRIFT fall curriculum. He employs all of the lessons he teaches his students in his own work as an actor and director. Vittum has toured as a standup comedian and as a member of various improv troupes.
“Creating laughter in an improvisational setting is not the goal, but a bonus,” Vittum explained. “Laughter from improv is based in finding the truth in the scene rather than comedy from jokes and double entendres. The benefits of Improvisation include thinking on your feet, improving your ability to listen, supporting others, and building self-esteem.”
Improvisation 101+ begins Wednesday evening, October 5th, at 7 pm. Each class will start with a group improv. Students of all skill levels will benefit. Non-actors attending the class have quickly noticed the benefit of improvisation in their personal and business lives. Improv 101+ will provide a supportive environment in which to learn the foundations & fundamentals of improvisation, allowing each participant to progress at his own pace.
“To be able to improvise will make anyone a better performer. Just as jazz musicians have to know the elements of song so, too, do good improv artists need to understand that adhering strictly to all the parameters of theatre and stage are essential,” Vittum added.
Improvisation 101+ is a six week course which emphasizes the importance of communication, especially listening skills. Vittum has taught a similar class for several corporations, where he highlights team building exercises.
Vittum also teaches Improvisation for Young Actors on Saturday mornings from 10 am to noon at BRIFT. He is quick to point out that it is never too early to teach kids the art of listening and thinking on their feet. “Improv is a great builder of self-confidence,” he said.
The Burt Reynolds Institute for Film & Theatre is housed in the Burt Reynolds Museum, 100 N. U.S. Highway One, Jupiter, Florida 33477.To register for Improvisation 101+ or Improvisation for Young Actors, please contact [email protected] call 561 743-9955.