Online: Bechdel Test with Lisa Rowland and Dave Dennison (#20-08-3231)

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The Bechdel Test: Centering Women's Stories

About this Event

Class Time/Date: 10:00am-3:00pm / August 24, 25, 26 and 27

Schedule: 4 sessions + 2 performance on August 28 and 29

Class size: 12 students maximum

Class length: 4 hours (16 hours total) +2 Performances

Prerequisites: Improv performance experience & coach approval

Tuition: $270

Our world of fictional stories seems to belong to men. Statistics show that the vast majority of lead roles, spoken lines, and screen time end up going to male characters. When women show up in fictional stories, they tend to be shallow, uni-dimensional accessories in a man’s narrative!And in spite of our limitless possibilities as improvisors, we can tend to perpetuate these patterns when creating improvised stories as well.

The Bechdel Test* is a format developed in response to the ways that women, specifically, show up (or don’t show up) in popular stories. Taking a non-linear approach to storytelling, The Bechdel Test aims to create full-bodied, complicated, multi-faceted female characters and places them at the centers of their own stories. Asking “what else” instead of “what comes next?” The Bechdel Test highlights the seemingly contrasting elements in characters’ lives, leading us to put women on stage who have nuance and depth. Just like us.

About Lisa

Lisa Rowland is a Bay Area native, growing up in the East Bay and getting her improv training at Stanford University with the wise and wonderful Patricia Ryan Madson (author of Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up) before joining the BATS Company in 2006. She teaches and coaches locally and travels the world teaching and performing and connecting with improv friends from Saudi Arabia to Germany to Mexico and New Zealand. When here in the Bay Area, Lisa works as a lecturer at her alma mater, offering improv classes in the Theatre and Performance Studies department at Stanford.

A founding member of two renowned Bay Area improv groups, Awkward Dinner Party and Improv Playhouse of San Francisco, Lisa is also the creator of the improv format The Bechdel Test, which aims to put multi-dimensional women at the center of stories.

A strong believer in the ways that improvisation can help make people healthier and happier, Lisa co-produces a podcast called Monster Baby which explores the intersection of mindfulness and improv (and is available on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts!). She also uses improvisation in design thinking workshops, encouraging creativity and innovation.

About Dave

Dave Dennison describes improvised theatre as his first love.

Dave developed the improv format Family Drama at BATS Improv, and for more than ten years it’s been an audience and player favorite. He has performed with many groups including True Fiction Magazine, Scratch Theater, Start Trekkin’, the Particulars, Hey You, the Travellers, and Secret Improv Society. From 2005 to 2008, he served as Artistic Director of BATS Improv.

In 2009 Dave co-founded Awkward Dinner Party with Lisa Rowland, and they’ve played to packed houses ever since.

Dave has appeared in several industrial videos for clients such as Cisco, NRG, Do.com, Oracle, InVisage, and Alteryx, to name a few. He’s also appeared in the short films World Record Guy, 144K, and Troubador and the feature film Security. Dave is working on a one-man show about his life growing up in Daly City.

In addition to teaching at BATS — where he has taught every class from F1 to advanced genre performance classes — Dave has taught at the Marsh, Stanford University, and the California College of the Arts, as well as for numerous corporate clients. Dave is currently working on “The Method of the Moment”: a new approach to improv that focuses on rigorous attention to the basics. In his spare time, Dave walks, and walks, and walks.

Refund Policy:

BATS Improv Class Refund Policy: Class cancellation policy: If you cancel more than 96 hours (4 days) before a class begins, we will refund your tuition less a 15% processing fee. If you cancel within 96 hours (4 days) of your first class, your tuition will be forfeit. Summer Youth and Adult Sessions cancellation policy: If you cancel more than 14 days (2 weeks) before your first class, we will refund your tuition less a 15% processing fee. If you cancel within 14 days (2 weeks) of your first class, your tuition will be forfeit. All cancellation and refund requests must be emailed to registrar@improv.org, and include the title and start date of your class. In the event that we cancel a class due to insufficient enrollment, we’ll refund your tuition in full. Please note: In the past, we have offered class credit in lieu of refunds. We are no longer able to offer this option. Each class tuition payment will stand on its own, and is non-transferable.

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