Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The New Movement Theater, your company, and erections. Together at last.

People, have you heard of The New Movement Theater yet?

Tami Nelson and Chris Trew, owners and operators of The New Movement, are the two peoples of genius you see above. They run their little blackbox theater on the east side of Austin, next to Nubian Queen Lola’s Soul Food, and down the street from East Side Pies. Both Chris and Tami are New Orleans transplants, who found themselves in Austin years ago after Hurricane Katrina. After first setting up shop at Cold Town Theater, they then struck out to create New Movement, both a performance space and class center.

Now let me tell you about the time I stood up in front of strangers at The New Movement, and talked about erections.

Alright, so a few times now, Chris and Tami have invited me to come in and tell stories about my life. My bits are nothing long - five minutes max - but then, their well-trained band of improv masters take those stories and actually make something entertaining out of them. I've had the good pleasure of watching Lauren Modery from Hipstercrite do this too, and from time to time, Chris and Tami invite in other Austinites to divulge their hearts and diaries.

During my last visit, I got up on stage, and talked about my thesaurus-loving father. When I was a kid, he always encouraged me to check my essays for word variety - and if there was a double, why, that was an opportunity, my friend. An opportunity to learn a new word!

"Tolly, why say sad, when you could say stricken?"

"Why say happy, when you could say jubilant?"

It all made perfect sense.  I mean, why say building, when you could say erection?

Thus, my fourth grade essay about the Empire State Erection. The tallest erection on the eastern seaboard!

The New Movement improv team had a field day with that one. But I've watched them spin magic from my more boring stories, too. In fact, I'm considering signing up for their sketch writing class (beginning next Monday), to see just how they whip up their comedic gems.

However, what I really want to talk to you about - addressed especially my Whole Foods friends, Dell friends, or other Fortune 500 friends out there - is how The New Movement can inject more awesomeness into your work environment. It's true.

During my professional career, I have worked in schools, I have worked in cubicles, I have worked inside my house. And, the only people I would ever trust to do team-building exercises are Chris and Tami. Trust falls = no. Chris and Tami = yes.

I was not always an improv enthusiast, but after going to The New Movement long enough, I saw that these people possessed a superpower: Chris and Tami, and their student charges, were capable of building somethings out of nothings. Taking my half-baked ideas, and fleshing them out into hilarious stories, ON THE SPOT. I would kill for this kind of professional ability.

Now, until yesterday, I did not know that The New Movement offered corporate team building. Because I have been wanting to write a love letter to The New Movement for a while now, and because I also suspect corporate gigs pay a lot more than the $5 entry fee to their shows, I want to encourage anything that will make them lots and lots of money.

So Reader, do you know anyone who operates a big, badass corporation? Or perhaps you do yourself? If so, direct them here. And watch their business explode into a sparkling rainbow of innovation and profits.

One more New Movement treat: "Love Lessons." It's so weird and wonderful.


megan keate said...

I love Chris, Tami and The New Movement. I recently started taking improv classes there and Tuesday night is now my favorite night of the week! I thought that improv would help me learn how to come up with ideas quickly on my feet (and it is) but it is really teaching me how to listen well and encourage other people's ideas. I always thought I was excellent at listening, but boy do I sure have a lot to learn still! I hope that they get lots and lots of corporate gigs because I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only one who can benefit from learning to listen better and support other people all while having an awesome time playing! Thanks for your blog post!

Anonymous said...

i love the new movement, and i love your blog! -chase

Mandy Spivey said...

I take classes here and I am their blogger! It's so great to see others getting into the awesome creativity (and not just hees and haws) that improv can teach you.

Hope to see you in sketch class!

Chris Trew said...

Thank you all and thank you Tolly and wow to the max! This is great!