Thursday, November 10, 2011

Brandon Sornberger in brief

This week, popular iO West teacher Brandon J. Sornberger steps into the additional role of iO West bar manager. 

Sornberger will soon be busier than ever, so I was lucky to catch up with him, briefly, to discuss his thoughts on improvisation and teaching at iO West.

SKK:  What was the moment you first discovered you loved performing improv?

BJS:  It was 1996, I was going to Hamilton College and I was cast in a play - 12 of us were cast - but the parts weren't to be decided until after we'd improvised the first several weeks of rehearsal. So we improvised for weeks, and I'd never found anything as invigorating.

SKK:  What led you to begin teaching improv? 

BJS:  I sort of fell into it, but I'd also developed a specific theory over time that I wanted to pass on to students. 

SKK:  And what was that theory?

BJS:  Basically, "be yourself and react honestly.  Stop with all the characters, please."

SKK:  What is the most rewarding aspect of teaching for you?

BJS:  Watching a struggling student do a gratifying scene - a scene that realizes the potential of the art form.

SKK:  What has been your favorite in-class experience so far?

BJS:  "In-class" or "as a result of class"?

SKK:  Sure.

BJS:  I've received notes and cards from students thanking me for helping them discover this [art form] and find that they really love it.  And that's been really satisfying to pass on - my passion for it - to someone else.

SKK:  Lastly, for everyone reading this blog who is trying to figure out what shows to see first, which are a few Harold teams you think are particularly successful, and why do they work so well? You can include your own.

BJS:  I think King Ten is good because, with all their experience, they have a great group mind and are confident.  I also enjoy the playfulness of Spirit Cat and Waterloo.

Brandon J. Sornberger is originally from Upstate New York. He has performed and taught improv in New York City, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles.

While at iO Chicago, Sornberger performed with the "iO Muscial Featuring The Deltones," "Bullet Lounge," and "Let Them Ho’s Fight." He is happily married and has an affinity for cowboy boots.

Furthermore, Sornberger currently teaches Harold – Level 5 and Intermediate Forms – Level 6.

  - Shawn Katheryn Kane

Brandon Sornberger and Jessica Makinson

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