Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Impro Show

We had our show! My first ever acting improvisation show! And there were PEOPLE there! And it went really well! And in the very last scene I started hyperventilating and couldn't calm my heart rate down until 20 minutes later!

12 of us from the class ended up being able to make it to the show. Our teacher, Tom, told us that since only 12 tickets had been pre-ordered he expected about 25 people and due do the small audience size and relatively small size of our class he'd decided to do the show without an interval. This was definitely the right decision because there wasn't an unnecessary break in the energy in the middle, but we did a much more kick ass job pulling people into the show than Tom was expecting - 50 people showed up to be our audience.

The performance was set up as a "Maestro Show" which means that ostensibly it is a competition. Really it's just a good way of having a bunch of improvisers on stage together with some sort of structure. We all got little vests with numbers on them (1-12) and our two directors (our teachers Claire and Tom) would pick numbers from a hat, call those people on to the stage, and give them a scene/scenario/or game. At the end of the scene/scenario/game then the audience would be asked if that was worth 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 points and everyone in the scene would get as many points as the audience clapped for. (It's in your favour to have your friends in the audience...boosts your applause!) As the show progressed people with lower scores got dropped from the running until there were only two improvisers left - then there was an elimination round and one was crowned MAESTRO! And they won £5, that's the end. Go home.

Make sense?

I got called up for four scenes- I ended up in six because other people kept having scenes where they needed a token lady to show up and I kept being the only female in an aisle seat. (also? I'm way super volunteery) (Yes, that's a word.)

Everyone did a really great job, it was a lot of fun, and we're going to be EVEN better next time. That being said, because this is MY blog and it's all about ME- here's what I did:

The first scene I was in was a parent teacher conference. The set up is designed to have both a battle over status and also as much leaping and justifying as you can shovel in. We kind of lost the plot in the middle but I gather that I, as the head teacher, had called the parents in to talk about their son's eating habits because as a rule we don't prefer the children to eat the furniture and then they were talking about their son like he was a horse and then he had been eating all of the sports equipment and was I sure the school was feeding him adequately and shouldn't that be their responsibility? And MAN that got absurd and confusing quickly. In spite of that we got 5 points! (or 4, I don't actually remember) Woo!

Next I had gibberish scene with Anne Marie. (She's wonderful and Irish.) In gibberish scenes you switch between gibberish and English whenever the directors ding their bell. It's meant to be as fluid as possible going from one to the other in the middle of sentences or even halfway through a word and is excellent for upping the emotional content of a scene because when you're speaking gibberish the only thing you really have to work with is strong emotional and physical states- not so much with the content. Anne Marie had to fire me. As it transpired we worked at a zoo and I had opened the lion enclosure door because I felt that they needed to be free, but 18 people had been killed in the ensuing chaos and really? what choice did she have? Anne Marie was brilliant in closing the scene using the same phrasing I had used about freeing the lions to send me out of the office. 5 points again.

About half the group had been culled at this point and Chris and I got called up to do the final scene of a long running television soap opera in which as many reversals and big reveals as possible happen in the final 60 seconds. This was like taking candy from a baby (a sleeping baby who doesn't know they have any candy) since really all we had to do was cliche after cliche after cliche. I was his mother, I was dying of cancer, he was actually his evil twin, my brain was exploding, I wasn't dying of cancer, blah blah blah and then- (man this would have been cool if we'd actually managed to do it in unison) it was all a dream. 5 points.

You might notice at this point that I've got quite a lot of points.

Anne Marie and I were the final two standing and so as a tie breaker were given the task of filling 60 seconds with neurosis. I went first and freaked out about everyone watching me (inside I was like "what on EARTH am I supposed to be talking about?" First time I'd ever done anything like that.) and then started hyperventilating. This was in character, mind you, I was supposed to be being neurotic; but at that point in the show? Blinded by the spot light? Yeah, important thing to remember: Don't Pretend To Hyperventilate- you'll start doing it for real.

Anne Marie was confused at the beginning of her minute because she had thought she was doing a different word which played in *perfectly* to being neurotic because she kept asking for reassurance that what she was doing was indeed what she was supposed to be doing. It was great fun and Anne Marie won and I'm totally already signed up for the next course in September.

1 comment:

nortonmiddaugh said...

Thankfully, should I ever acquire a collection of large, endangered carnivores, I have ANOTHER child to care for them!