Opinion

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.