Open mic

Starting from November, Marianna will host a monthly event called "Open Mic” after the tradition of music, spoken word, and stand-up comedy, where Open Mic nights provide a space for newcomers to take their first tries, and for old-timers to try out new things. The Digression Open Mics will be experimental and informal events open to all where we explore Digressions in different ways. Speakers will be invited to make presentations, give workshops, and lead discussions related to particular Digression themes. Come with us to present ideas, experiment with new approaches, discuss research projects, and digress into the night! If you have projects and ideas you’d like to bring to the Digression Open Mic, contact Marianna mkeisalo@cas.au.dk for a spot. Everyone, staff and students at all levels, are welcome to participate!

The Anthropology of Comedy and The Comedy of Anthropology: A Crash Course

The first Digressions Open Mic took place on Wednesday November 16 at Studenterhus Aarhus with invited guest, stand-up comedian Heikki Multanen.

Both comedy and ethnographic research involve close observation, analysis of the material yielded by observation, and communicating the insights to various audiences. The famous catch phrase of anthropology “making the strange familiar and the familiar strange” could be applied to comedy just as well. Both comedy and ethnographic research require an open mind, creative thought, and precise communication. Both involve digressions – both unexpected and planned ones – at all stages. 

Heikki Multanen has performed stand-up comedy since 2005 and trained several professionals of the new generation of Finnish comedians. In addition to teaching stand-up, he has also trained companies and students via means of drama consulting.

At the first Open Mic, Heikki gave a crash course in comedy for an engaged audience. He spoke about the basic structural format of comedy and the set-up and punchline relation. This led to a discussion about the cultural connotations of what is considered funny and a collective exploration of the social contexts of humor, e.g. power relations (regarding for example gender) and the power of funniness. Heikki also invited participants to do a number of exercises looking at familiar things in new ways and ended with a discussion of the narrowing and opening of focus as a technique of refining one’s approach to a subject. Hence, the crash course showed how digression makes it possible to turn the “normal” on its head and look at it from a whole new perspective. The experience was fun and enlightening – so much so that we are planning to hold a longer seminar with Heikki on the topic – more details to come!

Open Mic April: Improvisation

The second Digressions Open Mic will take place on Tuesday April 25 at the Student house in Aarhus with invited guest, Ofer Ravid.

This time we will approach digressions through a theatrical technique: Impro is a performance improvisation technique that enables the participants to create short scenes - situations, relationships, dialogue - on the spot, without previous planning. In this workshop we will experience a bit of that, discuss the type of creativity this theatre-form enables, and see how it relates to digression.

About the instructor: Ofer Ravid is a professional theatre performer, director, teacher and researcher who worked in these capacities in Denmark, Argentina, USA, Canada and Israel. His Ph.D. research deals with presence, embodiment and failure in processes of actor-training.

Attendance is free and open to all. Please send any questions and confirm your attendance to Marianna (marianna.keisalo@gmail.com)