Teaching in Toulouse … in French

Written by Ben Verhoeven January 6, 2019 0 comment

The last month of 2018 brought another new experience for me. I was invited to teach a weekend workshop of the Werewolves show format to TIC, a French improvisation group in Catus, near Toulouse. Although my invitation came from their Dutch secretary Koos, I was to teach the workshop in French. Teaching “Les loups-garous” was my first time teaching in French and despite some small translation issues (not even mistakes, because who knew that “chambre” in French is only the bedroom and not any room, which turns out to be “pièce”) went way smoother than I expected. I was surprised to find it easier to teach in French than to perform in French, which I did do before, but looking back it makes sense. When I teach, I have prepared the workshop and know more or less what I’m doing. I also have to rely less on understanding my scene partners (the French speak notoriously fast) because I can ask for clarification if necessary.

Because I was flying to Toulouse anyway, Koos and I had reached out to several other improv groups in Toulouse to see if I could work with any of them in the days after the workshop with TIC. This all worked out neatly so that I was teaching a group from La Bulle Carrée on Monday afternoon my workshop “Garder les apparences” (Keeping up appearances) and a group from Melting Pot on Tuesday evening my workshop “Pathos & Passion“. Thank you so much, Eric and Remy for organising this.

An exhausted group from Melting Pot after diving into emotions during the Pathos & Passion workshop.

Not only professionally was this a very inspiring trip, but also on a personal level. During the weekend, I stayed with Koos and his wife Tineke in their lovely countryside house. Such a warm welcome and pleasant stay, and what a comfort to be able to speak some Dutch after a full day of speaking French. They took me out for dinner to eat some duck from the region in the local restaurant, which was delicious despite being slightly burned.

Koos, Tineke and I. Thank you so much for hosting me.

Also the next few days were a pleasure to stay with Eric and his family. I knew Eric from the Lyon Improv Fest where we met earlier this year. It was a pleasure to see you again, meet your family, and participate in your son’s birthday celebrations. Joyeux anniversaire, Neil!

Fanny, Neil, Eric and I.