Amsterdam Day 1

Such an excellent start to the Amsterdam International Improv Festival.

Shannon and I arrived at 8:30 Am on Sunday morning and our host, Ilona, was there with a poster to greet us. Here is Sara and Ilona holding the sign at our host’s apartment in suburban Amsterdam

Our Host Kitty Gato:

I took a little nap and then we went in to Amsterdam to walk around a bit in the cold near the theater.

Here’s me in front of the theater.

Then we went to the Rosen Theater at 3pm for Coffee, Tea, and homemade treats. Everyone was introduced by the festival organizer, Anke.

Then we had some icebreaker games led by a local teacher who works with at risk youth, college students, and multicultural groups. There was a focus on the international nature of the festival. We played some physical games, brain fart games, and games exploring prejudice and stereotype. In one game we had to very quickly put our hand on the shoulder of the person in the group we thought was most likely to “____” We didn’t know anybody, so we just had to make snap decisions. Later people from each country watched as the other groups impersonated their culture. Then you got to say what they got right and what they got wrong. It was a lot of fun.

Then we had a soup course and the festival organizers went over the week’s schedule. Then we went back in the theater for games, this time anyone could lead them. I really liked this rock paper scissors game where everyone who lost instantly became the cheerleader of the person who beat them, supporting them in the next round of competition.

Then we had a main course, again all cooked from scratch by festival volunteers in the kitchen and dining room of the theater. After dinner we were invited out to a nearby pub, but we decided to make it an early night, get some good rest, so we’d be ready to party for the rest of the week.

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About Shana Merlin

Merlin Works is the brainchild of Shana Merlin: improviser, teacher, and performer. Since 1996, she’s been leading classes that stretch people’s imaginations, push them out of their comfort zones, and make them laugh out loud for hours at a time.
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