Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Two groups, two shows, one goal

Nikki, Megan and I met tonight to talk about Spite's set for the March Improv Thunderdome. 


We threw out a bunch of ideas, riffed on the ones that hit us, agreed on what we're shooting for, and came up with two formats to try when we start rehearsing. Loaded Dice threw down the funny when they won round one, so we have the advantage of seeing what worked for them. Expect to see a fearless, fast-paced set. 

Right after that, I met with Drew and Clay to talk about the Scriptease set for February's Thunderdome. I'm coaching, not directing—my job is to help them get to their vision. Their piece will be very different from anything anyone else is doing—and take fabulous advantage of their strengths as performers. The guys left tonight with homework. One hint: It will be epic.

Planning a set is incredibly fun. Some experiences that shaped how I go about it:
  • Dan Izzo built a show that was called The Izzo or The 1220 (look at them side by side to see how we got there) or the Big Gay Thing, depending on who and when you asked. After rehearsing with Funny Outfit a few nights, he created a 90-minute show that 1) took advantage of our strengths as a troupe and as individuals, 2) blocked out weaknesses and 3) introduced techniques and cues in the first half that we could pull out in more abstract ways in the second half. 
  • Funny Outfit built a long-form we called Director's Cut around our favorite game—a movie critics/panel thing. It was stone soup—someone would say, "let's try this," and someone else would say, "OH! That makes me think of this." We ended up with a piece that was totally collaborative and fun to play because we all loved pieces of it. 
  • Lighten Up's musical happened purely by accident. We were having a blast playing the short-form game "3-minute musical," but there were two problems: 1) It kept running 15-20 minutes, and 2) We needed to save the rehearsal time to work on a long-form for the second half of our show. I was complaining about both of those things when the cast said, "OR we could just make the musical into the long-form for our second half." And when we did, our theater turned a corner. 
  • Every year, we build Exit 16's first few shows around games that teach them improv skills. They end up doing a scenic montage of some sort because it lets us focus on scenework instead of learning games. And whatever improv workshop I've done over the summer shapes the montage. 
Blah-di-blah-blah. Improv is fun.

1 comment:

  1. The BIg Gay Thing broke me out of a shell.

    Love it!!!


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