Performers Blog

Butch’s Notes on Spacework

Been meaning to post the notes from my workshop on spacework – good things to think about if you’re looking to improve your mime object work – the simple bullet points you can reduce object work to seem to be these, at least to get some broader realism:

– Leave space for the object in your hand, no matter how small it is
Even a sheet of paper takes up space, holding that space will remind you that you’re holding that object and having to hold your fingers apart to maintain that space will show your grip on it (see opposites showing force, below).

– How you lift/stop it shows how heavy it is
Bending at the knees = heavier than bending at the waist
Every movement that moves weight is preceded by the tiniest fraction of a move in the opposite direction – in animation this is referred to as “anticipation” and it’s a useful tool for creating weight. In animation there is no gravity or physics unless you create them, the principles are the same – The bigger that opposite move, the heavier your object is, before you even pick it up.  This continues when you stop it from moving as well – if you can stop it without it moving your feet, it doesn’t weigh anything.

– Where you hold onto something shows how rigid it is
Handing someone a clipboard or a ruler,  you can hold the far corner and it juts into space.  Hand someone a baby (or a bag of water with a goldfish in it) and you have to cradle the whole thing or support it in several places at all times or it falls.

Here's a bag with our new goldfish in it

Here’s a bag with our new goldfish in it

– How you move something shows how solid it is/what it is full of
You can move an empty glass in a straight line all you want, start and stop it on a dime.
Once you fill it with liquid, it moves in circles and arcs or it is spilling everywhere.
Solids move in straight lines – anything fluid (or containing fluid) moves in arcs

– Opposite directions show force
If you want to “push” on something that isn’t there, set your body and pull as hard as you can without taking your hands off the mime object.
If you pick up a mime rope and want to pull a heavy mime object, set your feet, lean the direction you want to go and then push your arms as hard as you can the other way.
It feels weird, but I promise it works.

Do those things, or at least be mindful of them, and your audience won’t know exactly what you’re miming every single time but the things you do will FEEL more real to both you and the audience. You’ll spend a while thinking about all the things you’re doing, which will make you feel like they stand out as weird and fake but once you break through that need to think about it and do these things habitually your object work will feel as natural to you as it does to the audience.

In that vein – stop giving in to that need to “make it clear” what you’re doing or give a mime “explanation” of an activity because you’re in your head about it – If a physical reality is your goal, calm down and stop doing unreal things in order to indicate something physical.

Driving is my favorite example – mime driving is BORING because most people don’t realize how little you move when really driving a car, so they add to it and over-do it to try and make it clear that they’re “really” driving.  You’re indicating what you’re doing instead of doing it, because doing it feels like it’s not enough.

It’s the spacework equivalent of making cartoonishly large expressions for every emotion and then expecting people to talk to you as if you’re a normal person – All you’re doing is undermining your own work.

Stop indicating and start just doing.

Neutrino Video Project 2017 Cast Announced

It is our great pleasure to announce the cast of Neutrino Video Project 2017!

This group will begin working on being both cast and crew – most of our cast are new to the Neutrino Video Project – opening Saturday nights in March/April 2017!

Ashawnti Ford
Becky Hauser
Bobby Gardner
Bryce Kalal
Christian Unser
Colin Anderson
David Lipkin
Emily Lindholm
Erin Kennedy
Hannah Wydeven
Heather Meyer
Josh Kaplan
Katherine Curtis
Kevin Albertson
Lauren Chesnut
Michael Renner
Molly Chase
Philip Peterson
Philip Skretvedt
Sarah Maxwell
Sean Dillon
Spencer Retelle
Susannah Eckberg

Please join us in congratulating the new cast and a big thanks to everyone that came out over two days of fantastic auditions!


Neutrino Video Project Auditions

Here is the current schedule for Neutrino Video Project auditions – we tried to give as many people their first choice of time – if you have any questions, concerns or changes please email butch (at)

If you cannot make your scheduled time, or decide not to audition, please let us know
Thank you

All auditions are held at HUGE Theater – 3037 Lyndale Ave S
Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled time.
No need to prepare anything, all instructions will be provided on site.

Tuesday – December 6th

6:00 PM
Josh Krauskopf
Gretchen Grunzke
Joe McGowan
Miranda Hoeferson
Mark Jelinek
Jacob Fate

6:30 PM
Eric Brown
Philip Peterson
Eric Heiberg
Molly Chase
Kate Zabinski

7:00 PM
Abe vanderBent
Katherine Curtis
Izaak Sunleaf
Craig Corsi
Nghiem Tran
Josh Kuehn

7:30 PM
Deborah Dopp
Amy Speckien
Sandra Capra
David Lipkin

8:00 PM
Emily Lindholm
Phil Schramm
Heather Meyer
Tommy Caravello
Ashawnti Ford
Michael Blomberg

Sunday – December 11th

12:00 PM
Sean Dillon
Neil CarlinSchauer
Seniz Lennes
Daniel Mauleon
Bradley Machov
Heather Baldwin
Frank Kohlasch

12:30 PM
Joseph Schifsky
Will Roberts
Colin anderson
Brett Bugielski
Christian Unser
Sophie Brossard
Eric Thompson

1:00 PM
Shea Roberts
Spencer Retelle
Susannah Eckberg
Mike Hentges
Sarah Maxwell
Erik Ostrom

1:30 PM
Liz Council
Michael Renner
Mike Deneen
Breanna Cecile
Becky Hauser

2:00 PM
John Bickford
Bryce Kalal
Ryan Jordan
Cicely Robin Laing
JoJo Ju


3:00 PM
Kate Zabinski
Kyle Thornton
Erin Kennedy
Ally Rae
Edd Jones

3:30 PM
Jay Kistler
Emily Townswick
Philip Skretvedt
Dan Ruby
Philip Simonet

4:00 PM
Alec Johnson
Lauren Chesnut
Bibek Manandhar
Nathan Rouse
Hannah Wydeven

4:30 PM
Rachael Sear
Tyler conway
Leah Isaacson
Kevin Albertson
(Todd) Peter Pierce

Neutrino Video Project 2017 Auditions

Neutrino Video Project 2017 Auditions will be held at HUGE Theater on December 6th and 11th

The show will rehearse Thursday evenings from 8-10pm January – February
Rehearsals move to Sundays, 4-6pm in March once the show opens.

Shows are scheduled to run Saturdays at 8pm – opening Saturday, March 4th 2017!

To apply for an audition time, fill out the form below
If you do not see the form:  FILL IT OUT HERE 

Originally created at Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City in 2004 – is a fully-improvised live video experience. Three casts of improvisors perform, shoot and edit a fully-improvised movie based on audience suggestions – with no idea what the other casts are shooting – that is shot, run back to the theater on tape (remember tapes?), screened live as a continuous, interwoven film that is scored as you watch it.
Neutrino has been taught and performed all over the world and was last seen in the Twin Cities in 2007 before re-opening in 2016.

For more information on the Neutrino Video Project and other HUGE productions
Check out our new Productions page




Contest Coming

ITEM: HUGE has agreed to participate in a contest through improv4humans 

Details, dates and rules will be announced and posted soon

Prizes will include a trip to the Del Close Marathon for the final winners

Since this is a contest for improvisers, we will be posting information primarily on our performer pages (as well as links in the Facebook Group “HUGE Information Central” until 2017 – after which these pages are the primary resource)

Programming News

Just a collection of updates around proposal / programming / production / pay :

Show Proposals

Small change to the proposal form to help us gather demographic data and get a better idea of who is in shows that are proposed to us – both are very important but neither will change your chances of your proposal being accepted or declined.


We’ve never had a mandatory cast list in the proposals before because we know it may change over time, but this will help us save time in the programming process (especially when a performer tells us they are not available and we end up contacting another group they’re also a part of, etc)

The Demographic question is important to our efforts around diversity and inclusion – both to help us gather a baseline set of data but also to help us see progress over time.

Assistant Directors

We are officially rolling out an Assistant Director role as part of HUGE shows as a way to include more voices in the creation and production process – but also to help work with people interested in directing or creating shows themselves.

Neutrino Video Project (which is the odd exception as it is the newest show that HUGE produces) will be co-directed by Butch Roy and Rita Boersma

KaBaam!! will be directed by Nels Lennes and Asst. Directed by Bradley Machov

Creature Feature 2017 will be directed by Nels Lennes and Asst. Directed by Casey Haeg!

This is only the list of HUGE shows confirmed for 2017 so far – More will be added as we look further out in the calendar for next year.

Minor Update to Show Pay 

Our show pay model for Friday and Saturday shows has remained consistent – it is a flat payment based on a minimum threshold of ticket sales to help us make sure we’re covering operating expenses and still paying out what we can, when we can and as soon as we can.

The exception to this point has been “opening acts” on Friday nights – which had often been left for groups to negotiate and too often resulted in people being asked to perform for free on the weekends, something we wanted to address. Those groups are now paid 20% of the show pay for the time slot when that threshold is met (that threshold is also slightly lower for the 10:30pm shows – a change that was made when we got Gen Operating support to help address the additional challenges to late-night show producers) per agreement with HUGE.

Production Info & Feedback

We are still trying to streamline as much of this process as possible since it is one of the most time consuming areas that is constantly in motion – to that end we are creating a more formalized information packet for producers that will be sent out when your show proposal is accepted and booked. The packet will include the collected information on policies and guidelines all in one place for easy reference as well as image specs for marketing, tips for social media promotions, tech and music questions/information, a short list of contacts and more.
Additionally, shows that close will be getting a feedback form after the end of their run to help us gather more specific information on challenges to different times of year, different nights of the week as well as things that are successful that we should be replicating as much as we can or just finding out about things we may not know so we can eliminate more blind spots and make performing at HUGE as positive an experience as it can be.



Upcoming HUGE Auditions for 2017

Just an update to let everyone know what is coming so they can plan (or freak out) accordingly – Based on the current plan for 2017 we are announcing the following:
Neutrino Video Project

December auditions / January rehearsal start / March open – Saturdays at 8pm


Late March auditions / April rehearsals start / July open – Saturdays at 8pm

Creature Feature 2017

May auditions / June rehearsals start / September open – Fridays at 8pm


All the information and audition registration forms will be posted on this blog and the public HUGE blog when they are open – we try to give a little warning when they will be posted so people can be ready, stay tuned for more!

All the HUGE news that is fit to blog

As I keep working on assembling everything we wanted to post from – and since – the Happy Hour with the Board, it became very clear that parts of the content were a little more “inside baseball” than the general public would be interested in and should be posted here so we could best address them to the intended audience.

Some of this may overlap the public summary of the Happy Hour as well – in case you’re tuning in on all frequencies – but I’ve tried my best to focus on the issues and information that most affect performers on our stage here.

Topics included in this post :  

  • Auditions and Casting
  • Show Proposals
  • Casting Paying Shows/Change to show pay
  • Upcoming schedule announcements

AUDITIONS and CASTING:  The least fun thing that we are going to do a LOT more of!

This was the big production announcement from the Happy Hour and it means there are many changes coming for shows, some big and some small – but the short version is that every HUGE show will hold auditions for the entire cast, every time.

This is a change from the past when we’ve had casts carry over from year to year and only needed to replace or supplement a couple of people in the cast – which is sometimes not worth holding wider auditions for, or just means really really poor odds for anyone that does audition.

The question that was asked several times was “what about shows like Star Trek?”  
Yes. Every show that HUGE produces will re-audition the entire cast in open auditions every time it is put up going forward – it should not only help our casts keep pace with the changing group of improvisers in the Twin Cities* but will also improve commitment and engagement in those shows by addressing instances in which we have people holding a place in a cast, only to perform in two shows.

* I am posting the Happy Hour answers to the questions separately but this was part of a question on diversity as well – it’s impossible for our shows to reflect a more diverse performer population if we’re only changing 1-2 faces in each show every year.  We need to do better about opening the door wider and more often…this is a start.

This will also mean some procedural changes for casts in some less-visible areas – like a slightly more formalized packet of information we can give to producers when shows are officially booked, the creation and deletion of Facebook groups for casts at the beginning and end of productions and a feedback form link that will go out at the end of the run.

SHOW PROPOSALS:  We have been trying to find a way to help guide show proposals in terms of what we need to know and what we’re looking for – and what we are not looking for – at any given time in the process, as well as trying to do better about response times and clear response language.

** Everyone that had an open proposal in the system when we closed the form was promised a reply and 80% of the backlog has been addressed – which sometimes meant replying to groups that no longer exist, some people that had moved, etc. Some have lead to longer conversations about updating proposals.  We promised something and want to make sure we’re delivering on it, even though it is very late **

We’ve taken a sharp turn away from genre proposals as a general rule – we had gotten a number of “an improvised version of my favorite show/movie” proposals and we are currently not putting more on our stage in the upcoming season – which doesn’t mean that we won’t ever accept genre submissions.

We love a genre framework to support and push great, fun improvisation from the performers, we are far less interested in simply using improv to try and replicate or create “wouldn’t it be cool if there was an episode of _____ that went like this?”

One uses the genre to push the improv, one uses improv in service of the genre….which can be a fine line to try and find with producers.

We’re far more interested in how it pushes the improvisation, the “what it brings out on stage” or “what is the meat of it” questions – using the Attenborough example, the idea of “a very physically inspired, sometimes abstract, performance” is unique in our lineup and far more interesting than simply trying to replicate or extend a popular tv show or movie without writing it.

What to focus your proposal on would be something like this – using BASSPROV as an example – knowing “there are two guys that are fishing” is helpful for us to get a feel of the tone, but really what we need to know is “will be a patient monoscene, focusing conversation between two characters that have a long history and learn about one another by deconstructing the ideas and concepts in the suggestions”

We don’t need to know about the fishing, we want to know about the improvising.

!! If you EVER have any questions about the process or your proposal at all – please email me and I am happy to clarify anything I can to help you put together your proposal !!

CASTING PAYING SHOWS/CHANGE TO SHOW PAY:  We have made some more invisible changes over the last year that are worth posting just to let everyone know that they have happened, if nothing else. We are constantly making small adjustments that aren’t individually newsworthy but are all part of a daily effort to improve things for artists.

To that end we lowered the paying threshold of tickets sold for the 10:30pm shows earlier this year when we received our Operating Support grant – more support for the operations of the theater itself means less overhead weight borne by the artists and we can refocus some of that revenue back to the producers and performers.

We also made a rule some time ago about diversity of any cast that HUGE Theater sends out for a paid show, private event or corporate entertainment – these shows have typically been an area that we’ve lacked the capacity to produce ourselves so we’ve handed them off to groups that are ready, willing and able.

As we’ve gotten more systems in place to handle logistics, casting and the like, we are more able to assemble casts to send – those casts will default to being as diverse as possible as much as possible, meaning an all-white, all-male cast would only ever be sent out as a last resort so we are opening the door to (the small number of) paying opportunities to be an improviser as much as possible.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE: The November/December weekend shows at HUGE will feature Family Dinner on both nights again this year – produced and directed by Michael Ritchie

Fridays at 9:30pm will be Troubadour

Fridays at 10:30pm will be the Bearded Men with Up North

Saturdays at 9:30 The Mess returns

Saturdays at 10:30 is Blackout 

We are very excited for the January opening of Throwback Night 2017 as well as the Saturday night 8pm return of OMG: Before We Got Our Ladybits!

KINGS will begin an extended run on Fridays at 9:30pm beginning in January

AND – we are very excited to announce that The Mustache Rangers are confirmed to return to HUGE on Friday nights at 10:30 this January and February!


Thank you so much for your patience – more will be coming very soon

Don’t forget to check the Performer Pages for news, updates and announcements.

See you in the spotlight!

Auditions at HUGE

Auditions at HUGE Theater :  If You Sign Up, Show Up

As we continue to grow, the nature of things like auditions continues to change – one important change is that we often have far more people interested in auditioning than we have time and space for.  This means people signing up for a space they don’t use are a much bigger problem since they aren’t just deciding not to use it for themselves, they’re still taking that space away from someone else and a person away from their scheduled group.

We absolutely understand that things happen outside of your control and things come up – even at the last second – If you sign up for a space and your schedule changes or something will prevent you from being there, the minimum expectation is that you let someone know.  

But there are things that many people signing up for auditions might not be aware of and might want to consider – and check your calendar – before you fill out the form.

  • Even if you call/email/text to let us know, doesn’t mean we are able to open the registration form or get ahold of someone to make use of your spot. Often that spot remains empty**
  • You should STILL let someone know if you’re not going to make it
  • Many auditions are structured with an ideal group size, which leaves the whole group you were scheduled to audition with short a person.
  • Again – this is important enough to mention again – when you leave your space empty, you’re still taking a space away from someone that probably would have used it.

Everyone that failed to show up for auditions for Throwback Night that we did not hear from was sent an email outlining why it was a problem –  because there are often more people that want to register for than we have space for, people with a pattern of not showing up for auditions may not be given a space when they try to register for HUGE auditions in the future.

** this is the same phenomenon we see around TCIF workshops (especially on Sunday mornings) when people call 15 minutes before the start of the class to let us know they won’t be there and we can “give their spot to someone else”  so they don’t feel bad about bailing.

That isn’t how that works. The space you took remains empty….which is why the nature of this problem is worth explaining to everyone we can so we can all adapt and grow and avoid perfectly avoidable problems in the future.

Thank you all.

Throwback Night 2017 Cast Announced

We are extremely excited to announce the cast of the upcoming season of our annual Throwback Night shows – this year the casts are 2/3 performers that are new to Throwback Night!

Close Quarters – directed by Mike Fotis

Adam Iverson
Elizabeth Council
Erik Nielsen
Gretchen Grunzke
Jeff Gyllen
John Eisenrich
Justin Betancourt
Michael Larson
Molly chase
Wells Farnham
Anna Tobin

Deconstruction – directed by Hannah Wydeven

Andrea Ravich
Gubby Kubik
Nate Morse
Susannah Eckberg
Erica Solomon
Jeff Kaisershot
Mark Jelinek
Karina Strom
Breanna Cecile
Isabel Johnson
Kevin Albertson

La Ronde – directed by Jill Bernard

Max Besner
Bobby Gardner
Heather Meyer
Andy Katzung
Ben Wagner
Bette Bentley
Kristi Battarbee
Chris Barth
Katie Novak
Sally Foster
Drew Kersten

Throwback Night casts begin working in October and the show opens January 6th!