Charleston, South Carolina is home to Theatre 99 and a thriving improv community An instructor, performer, and pillar of that community, Greg Tavares recently answered some questions about his new book for Improv Wins!
Tell us a bit about your book:
I just wrote a book called “Improv For Everyone”. It is a book for people who love improv and want improv to love them back.
How did you find improv?
I am self taught. I did my first show in 1985 and two years later I took a workshop during the International Thespian Conference. I knew right then and there that I wanted to do this the rest of my life. I have opened 2 theatres here in Charleston, I get to do 3 shows a week almost every week, and I get to teach over 50 workshops a year. I love it.
If you could get all improvisers, everywhere, to stop doing one thing what would it be?
Judging themselves and their scene partner while they are doing the work. That is the one “don’t” in my book. I am actually really against negative instruction, I have a whole thing in my book about it. I think improv teachers are too quick to say “don’t do this or don’t do that.” I literally say in my book that I only have one “don’t” — don’t judge your improv while you are doing it. At the bar after with your friends, do it all you want, but when you are in the mix, just play.
What inspires you then?
OK it is nerd time for me, I am still inspired by a group that broke up over 10 years ago. They were called Burn Manhattan and they did a kind of movement/sound/performance art long form thing. I saw them a bunch of times over a couple of months in 1999 or 1998 and I still think about them. I get improv crushes all the time. I tend to like the quieter cooperators rather than the super funny people.
What is up next for Greg Tavares?
I am super excited to be able to travel a little bit and teach some of the stuff that is in the book. I am going to Atlanta, New York City, Richmond, Greenville and Norfolk VA in the next few weeks to do workshops and talk about my book. I can’t tell you how much joy it brings me to meet and work with other like minded people who love doing improv. It makes me very happy.