When Kali was taken to an improv theatre workshop in 2007 by a friend who had already been involved in both physical theatre and music for many years, it had a deep impact on her way of looking at creativity as a whole.
Over the next few years, Kali became a regular member of the Tokyo English-language improv scene, studying at the In The Moment workshop program under director of the Tokyo Comedy Store Chris Wells, and taking part in student performances. After a brief stint with The Pirates of Tokyo Bay, she was invited to join the Tokyo Comedy Store's professional troupe for the Improvazilla Main Stage Show, which includes an improvised musical.
Having already been deeply inspired by originator of the genre Keith Johnstone's book "Impro" and an enlightening encounter with Johnstone disciple Shawn Kinley, Kali attended the 10 Days with Keith workshop at the Loose Moose Theatre in Calgary, Canada, in the summer of 2013. It was a very powerful experience for her.
Also in 2013, Kali debuted the first improvised show she had directed, The PopJazz Circus, which brought together improvising musicians and actors for a joint jam session.
Shortly thereafter, Kali was also asked to begin teaching for the workshop program she had come through, and has since become a skilled and sensitive teacher of improv theater for both the weekly and intensive workshops of the In the Moment program.
She has also attended workshops by Tokyo Liars, including numerous ones lead by teachers visiting from outside Japan. These include Gary Schwartz and Rob Adler, both of whom are heavily influenced by the Viola Spolin approach to improvisation in theatre. Being based in a relatively small and removed improv theatre community has allowed Kali to absorb a variety of influences that might not necessarily be experienced in a more established scene, for which she is grateful.
As well as teaching the In the Moment workshops, Kali has also taken part in experimental classes using improv theatre techniques to help English-language education, both in traditional classroom contexts and for medical practitioners in hospitals specifically. For several years she has been involved with The Sullivans School's annual Multiple Intelligence Me (MIMe) day, teaching classes of children how to access their creativity through theatre.
In 2016 she began curating Intangible Tightrope, an event which combines sets of original music and theatre for shows with a unique and personal atmosphere.
Kali has also benefitted from numerous workshops in the art of trance mask with Tokyo-based expert Jun Imai, and also with internationally recognized practitioner Steve Jarand, and has made her own masks which she hopes to develop more in the future.
Though currently on a hiatus from performing improv theatre, Kali is excited to return in the not-too-distant future, and further develop her approach to and skill in the art form. For more information, please feel free to get in touch, or take a look at the video to the left, which gives more detail on Huw's perspective.
Many of the picture here are by writer and photographer John LaTorre:
(2021 Improvisation in Asia panel
with Improvisation Melbourne)