Funny girl from Warren County hosts improv workshop

Published 2:00 pm Saturday, March 10, 2012

It’s no joke, a local “funny girl” is planning to teach an adult improvisational workshop at the Coral Room at The Vicksburg on Clay Street.

Linnie Wheeless, who won a talent competition in eighth grade by performing a stand-up comedy routine, will lead the workshop. Improv is when actors use spontaneity when they act.

The workshop is scheduled to run from 6:30-8 p.m., March 15 and will continue for the next three Thursdays.

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Wheeless, who said her career grew from that first performance in the Warren Central Junior High gym, ended up training professionally at The Second City in Chicago, Improv Olympic and Annoyance Theatre, places where such comedians as Tina Fey, Chris Farley, Gilda Radner and John Belushi got their starts.

“I studied improvisation, sketch comedy, stand-up comedy and acting,” Wheeless said. “I have performed in Chicago, Toronto, St. Louis and Los Angeles.”

Wheeless said while in Chicago she did a balancing act between law school classes at Loyola and improv classes at Second City, but when there was a conflict she said she always chose comedy.

The Vicksburg workshops are sponsored by the Westside Theater Foundation and will focus on more than just “stand-up” comedy. They will include exercises and games to help students become more comfortable standing and speaking in front of groups.

“That is one of my target audiences,” she said.

The workshop will also focus on the foundation of improvising by doing improvisations Wheeless said.

“When I talk to people they are always worried that they are not funny but I tell them, ‘just listen and react,’ that is what makes good improvisation,” she said.

Improvisational training techniques Wheeless said also aid in helping a person look at situations and ideas from many different angles and teach you to look at yourself and how you react in the situations.

They can also be a confidence- booster she said.

The cost is $40 for all four classes or $12 for one. Classes are limited to 16.

There are a lot of things people have to do, Wheeless said, “but I want people to say this is something I want to do and I want them to have fun.”

For more information or to sign up, 601-529-1510.