Laughter From The Desk of...Pallas Johnson (#okciLaughDesk)

Laughter From The Desk of...Pallas Johnson (#okciLaughDesk)

  • Apr 20 2020
  • Written by Kendon Lacy
  • (1 Vote)

Clinic: a conference or short course on a particular subject. When watching theatre of any kind, I have a tendency of using the word "clinic." For example, as I watch any show with Patti Lupone, I'll most likely think to myself, "Wow she is putting on a clinic in acting right now." If you've ever seen Pallas Johnson perform improvisational comedy before, you've most likely seen some of the highest wit of comedy. Her ability to listen and respond while seemingly never forgetting even the tiniest of details is definitely what I would consider to be a clinic on stage (and she does it seemingly effortless). Pallas current serves as the Education Director of OKC Improv. She's the person that's in charge of enrollments, curriculum, workshops, student & teacher communications and so much more. She has also served as Managing Director of the veteran improv, sketch, and film troupe, "Take One Productions." I have had the privilege of performing with Pallas in the two act improvised musical show, "YOUsical: An Improvised Musical" and I've always known Pallas for years as the nice lady with different hair colors that performs Take One Productions; however, I've never really gotten to know Pallas' background and experiences in improv. So when deciding to do this monthly blog series "Laughter From The Desk of..." (where I introduce and get to know more about our current OKC Improv staff) , it only made sense to reach out first and get to know more about our Education Director as well as to learn from her amazing insight. Here's part of our conversation:

KENDON: Hey Pallas, thanks for doing this! Let's start with the obvious question (obvious to me). What got you into improv?

PALLAS: I was a Theatre And Communications Education major at UCO for my Bachelors of Fine Arts and I was looking for some unique performance classes to take to boost my performance resume. I loved doing improv in high school and the brief experience we had during my college theatre courses, including with an awesome teacher named Donna Dickson, so I decided to take the full gauntlet of Improv courses at UCO. My professor for improv at UCO was the wonderful and fantastic Sue Ellen Reiman. I met several other students in my class that, like me, started doing improv professionally with OKC Improv and other improv organizations in other cities.

 

Pallas on the OKC Improv stage with Mollie Brue & Tiffany Chappell (left to right)
Photography by David Joplin


KENDON:
 Sue's great! So you mentioned how you eventually started doing improv professionally, how long have you been performing professionally?

PALLAS: In 2011, after I had completed the Advanced Improv course at UCO, there were auditions for some improv troupes at the Ghost Light Theatre in the Paseo District so I went and auditioned. I landed my first professional improv troupe in 2011 and started performing with Take One Productions doing short form improv and film sketches. I’ve been doing improv non-stop since 2011, performing in lots of weird venues, a ton of different cities, and for all different sized audiences. The largest audience I’ve performed improv for was with Take One Productions in Dallas, TX with 2,300 people in the audience. I’ve taught improv since 2011, as well. Since I got my Bachelors in 2011 in Theatre and Communications Education, I started teaching Improv to middle school and high school students at a private school in OKC and teaching with the founders of OKC Improv, Clint and Buck Vrazel. I’ve also taught classes for several other organizations and schools and in different cities around the US, including workshops at universities, libraries, and conventions.


KENDON:
 I heard so much back in the day about those private school classes but I had no idea who was doing them besides Clint and Buck Vrazel. So you've experienced a lot of OKC Improv experiences. I have to ask, what's your favorite OKC Improv moment. That on or offstage moment you will never forget?

PALLAS: My favorite OKC Improv moment is watching my first group of classes perform after I became the Education Director. I felt so proud of everyone and all the hard work the staff put into the event. I get that feeling every time a new group of students gets to do their Student Showcase and we get to celebrate their accomplishments!

Pallas performing with Take One Productions member Josh Gorton
Photography by Firebird Images (firebirdimages.com)


KENDON:
 Speaking of students, we mention so often to students that while learning the skills of improv in these classes, that sometimes you'll also find yourself learning life lessons along the way. What's the biggest life lesson that you've learned through improv?

PALLAS: The biggest life lesson I’ve learned from improv is to be in the moment. I used to get so caught up in what was happening next, that I’d miss the things that were happening to me then. Live in the moment and experience life as it happens and good things will follow.


KENDON:
 Love that. I know you meet often with teachers and I also know that you have a passion for creating teachers and coaches from the OKC Improv community. As Education Director, I have to aske, what makes an impactful improv coach or teacher?

PALLAS: One time someone told me that they saw me in a show at the Paramount Theater and I had made a choice to be a construction worker using a jackhammer. The scene was a repetition scene, so I used it over and over for a solid ten minutes- which meant a lot of bouncing around on stage; quite a workout. The person who saw the show said that watching me, in that show, made her want to do improv. The amount of commitment to the bit and the character and the energy made her want to start taking classes. That person now performs in shows with me and is a better performer than myself. That was an inspirational moment for me as a teacher and a performer, because I realized that a scene could inspire others to be a performer or inspire them in their lives to do good or do better or persevere in their own goals. As a teacher or a coach, remembering moments like that is important, because teaching is not just in the classroom, it’s every time we perform on stage and every conversation we have with a student. Being an impactful teacher means being the model of what we want the students to achieve and helping them find their lightbulb moments during their learning process.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Pallaspage
Twitter: @PallasJohnson

You can catch Pallas regularly performing with Take One Productions & YOUsical: The Improvised Musical at OKC Improv.

For more information Want to sign up for an OKC Improv class? Visit okcimprov.com/classes or email any questions about classes to Pallas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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