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      The Magnetic Theatre's Weekend of Love: Improv Workshops & Performance in Asheville

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      February 15, 2020

      Saturday  11:00 AM - 11:00 PM

      375 Depot St.
      Asheville, North Carolina 28801

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      The Magnetic Theatre's Weekend of Love: Improv Workshops & Performance

      The Heartbreak Armando: Improv Workshops + Show! features four events throughout the day on February 15th. The day begins with three workshop offerings taught by area improv instructors Jillian Burfete (teaching Getting to the <3 of the Matter), Family Dinner members Katie Jones, Kelsey Rosen and Marlene Thompson (teaching Relationship 101 or How to Work as an Ensemble), and Harrison Brookie (teaching Using True Stories to Created Improvised Comedy) of Alchemy Comedy. The evening will culminate in an improv show featuring local troupes Secret Handshake and Family Dinner, followed by the The Heartbreak Armando, featuring the improvised stories of audience members’ failed attempts at love.
      Workshop tickets are $27.00 each, plus a $3.00 service fee.
      Show tickets are $12.00 each, plus a $3.00 service fee.
      A pass for all three workshops and the show is only $80.00!
      Tickets for all events can be purchased at
      Workshop Descriptions:
      11:00-1:00 Getting to the Heart of the Matter Using true listening and gift giving through the Meisner technique to endow your scenes with immediate meaning and urgency. Dave Pasquesi says, “True listening is the ability to be changed.” In Getting to the Heart of the Matter we focus on the most obvious, and perhaps the most intricate tenet of improv: listening. Using Meisner technique, we will get a little deeper, right away. Let’s figure out how to endow your scenes with immediate meaning and urgency so that you’ve got somewhere to go! By listening with all your energy, being present and giving gifts, you will find your scenes full of information, with having had to create nothing. This is the truth in comedy that you hear people talking about. It’s easier than you think and more powerful than you thought! See you there, young grasshopper.
      Instructor: Jillian Burfete
      Jillian Burfete recently moved to Asheville from Chicago after studying and then professionally teaching acting, comedy and writing for the past twelve years. While in Chicago, she performed with The Second City; taught improv to adult professionals and children of all ages; traveled to Australia and London with Chicago Shakespeare Theatre to perform and teach story development, and has developed several experiential theatre shows with her own theatre company, Icebox, with a focus on audience experience.
      Jillian studied at the School at Steppenwolf, The Second City Conservatory, Improv Olympic, the Annoyance Theatre and the Upright Citizen’s Brigade in L.A. In Highlands, NC she was mentee to Collin Wilcox, an original member of the Compass Players, the predecessors to The Second City. She has a B.A. from Western Carolina in English, with a concentration in Writing. In Chicago she performed with iO veteran team “Deep Schwa” and independent teams “The Album” and “Halibut.” In LA she performed with “Whistle Pig” in the Funny Women Fest 2016.
      Most recently, Jillian ran workshops at Kidapalooza, the children’s program at Lollapalooza Music Festival 2018 and 2019, teaching children how to write dialogue over a beat. Currently, Jillian teaches Level 5 at the Asheville Improv Collective and is working on a one-person show, due to premiere this summer.
      Jillian is half deaf and partially fluent in sign language. She has a special place in her heart for deaf and hearing handicapped kids.
      2:30pm – 4:30pm Relationship 101: Working As An Ensemble Come work with the members of Family Dinner, Asheville’s only all-female improv troupe, to learn techniques for deeper listening and cultivating trust within group scenework. Learn scene forms that accommodate larger group scenes, without losing intimacy and connection between its members. Learn to incorporate subtext, character asides, and pattern recognition, all while making your fellow players look good. A team is more than just a sum of its members: it’s about the dynamic they build that is unique to that ensemble.
      Instructors: Katie Jones, Kelsey Rosen and Marlene Thompson
      Family Dinner Bios:
      Katie Jones is a director, performer, puppeteer, and educator. She has worked with regional theatres in Sarasota, Chicago, and Denver, where she directed community-focused programming. Katie specializes in new play development and is an alumnus of Directors Lab New York and Chicago. She founded Wishbone Theatre Collective in 2009 and continues to collaborate with them, touring performances throughout the country. In Chicago, Katie studied with The Second City and served as Assistant Director to Ron West for The Disgruntled Employee’s Handbook, a co-production between The Second City and Northlight Theatre. She also completed the student training at iO Chicago, took classes at The Annoyance, and studied with Viola Spolin’s son and The Second City Founder Paul Sills at his workshop in Door County, Wisconsin. Katie has a BA from Clemson University, where she started the improv troupe Mock Turtle Soup, now in its 18th season. She has an MFA from Naropa University, where she focused on devised theatre techniques. Locally, she works with Asheville Creative Arts, Asheville Improv Collective, and the Asheville Fringe Arts Festival. She is currently serving as Artistic Director of The Magnetic Theatre.
      Marlene Thompson is an improv comedian, stand up and actress based in Asheville, NC. She was born and raised in Philadelphia and after graduating with a BA in Music and Composition from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, she moved to Chicago to study improv and sketch at the The Second City Conservatory and iO Chicago. Now calling the mountains home, she’s a founding member of and performer with numerous local improv troupes, including Blacklist Improv and Family Dinner, and she teaches at Asheville Improv
      Collective. Marlene is also the host and head writer of From the Ashes, a late-night style show that focuses on local and national politics. Her credits include Anna Andreyevna in The Government Inspector with Anam Cara, Ruthie in Buncombe Tower at The Magnetic Theatre, and the AIC stage as sometimes herself and the person who will break out into "Go! Cubs! Go!" wherever there is baseball. Even if the Cubs aren't playing. It's her thing.
      Kelsey Rosen – Kelsey has been obsessing over improv from the moment she first saw it in Chicago, IL. She participated in Second City’s Writing Program, but it wasn’t until she moved to Asheville that she channeled the confidence of her beloved urban coyote and started performing improv on stage. An Asheville Improv Collective grad, she now is a teacher at AIC.
      Kelsey currently performs with AIC resident troupe Tiger Uppercut. She is also a member of Family Dinner and Human Resources.
      When she is not doing improv, she is doing more improv. Kelsey produces a weekly improv show at the Asheville Club, where she pesters AIC students and her friends to perform every Monday night. Kelsey is also a stand-up comedian, you can see her all over town.
      5:00pm – 7:00pm Using True Stories to Created Improvised Comedy
      The term ‘alchemy’ means to create something special out of nothing. In this workshop Alchemy Comedy Theater founder Harrison Brookie will keep you on your feet as you walk through the steps of using true personal stories to create improv comedy. We'll go through the basic Harold skills needed, then apply them to the well-known Armando Diaz form. For almost a decade Harrison has been performing in some version of a storytelling inspired improv show. He is currently on the cast of Alchemy's longest running show, Local Legends. After the workshop, you can catch Harrison and a crew of local improvisers putting this form on stage right here at The Magnetic Theatre!
      Instructor: Harrison Brookie
      Harrison Brookie began performing short-form, long-form, and sketch comedy with Clemson University’s Mock Turtle Soup. There he helped create and later ran Clemson’s first satirical newspaper, The Almond. In 2008, he moved to North Carolina and joined the DSI Comedy Theater becoming a resident instructor and ComedySportz, Harold team, and Mister Diplomat cast member. He has been a festival instructor for the Boston Comedy Arts Festival and the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival. He completed the iO training center in Chicago and is a lover of improv books.
      In 2011, Harrison moved back to his hometown of Greenville, SC with his wife and children to found the Alchemy Comedy Theater and continue teaching high school social studies. Since then he’s helped grow the Greenville comedy scene with live shows, a training center, corporate events, workshops, emceeing events like TEDx Greenville, teaching improv at Furman University’s OLLI program, and creating an improvisation training breakout at NEXT High School. He created Greenville’s first comedy marathon featuring acts from all over the Upstate. He also created the New South Comedy Festival which runs every fall and features improv, sketch, and stand up acts and workshops from all over the country.
      9:00pm The Magnetic Theatre Presents: The Heartbreak Armando
      Join renowned founder of Greenville’s Alchemy Theatre, Harrison Brookie, as he hosts The Heartbreak Armando, a theatrical form where audience members tell stories of love lost, heartache or just bad dates which will inspire made-up-on-the-spot scenes by some of the area’s best improvisors. Don’t miss out on this fun night of comedy because, as is often true of love, it will be fleeting. Opening the show will be Asheville’s ONLY all-female improv troupe, Family Dinner, and local improv dynamos, Secret Handshake. Don’t let heartbreak pass you by!
      Tickets for all events can be purchased at For questions, please contact Artistic Director Katie Jones: or call 828-239-9250.

      Categories: Performing Arts

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