Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hey...that was f---in' fun.

It's been a long, long time—about a year and a half, if I'm honest—since I've finished an improv set without feeling like I made at least a move or two (or a dozen) I wish I could do over.

Our Spite set in Thunderdome felt amazing. There are Viola Spolin sidecoaching lines I really strive for—"Take a ride on your own body" and "Get out of your head and into the space"—and that's what it felt like. So much so that the only time I spent in my head was a couple of points where the thought, "can we keep this up?" flashed through.

The Tantrum set was fun. Not our best work
ever—our Harold group scenes never really came together, we had some weak spots and we ran a little short. Rob was totally on, and he and Nikki had the most fun characters of the show: Suburbanites who couldn't manage to get the trash off their streets. Considering the fact that our rehearsal schedules never really came together, it could have been a train wreck. So I can't say I'm disappointed in the outcome.

So in the world where I pick everything apart, what made the Spite set feel so good? We rehearsed, but not as much as I did with Scriptease before their round.
  • We kept it simple. We played around with different ways to transition between scenes, and the idea of entrances and exits, and to do or not to do tag-outs. We knew what was in the toolbox.
  • It wasn't even really a format—we just edited each other by repeating the line that preceded the beat with a new emotional POV. That was a specific call—cut on the beat, not on a line you want. That alone kept us out of our heads—we couldn't cherry-pick a line of dialogue that felt right, and it threw us into some strange places ("it's more Mary Poopins than Mary Poppins").
  • We had a great warm-up. Two, really—the Tantrum show itself was part one. We had a good 30 minutes by ourselves, with no distractions. Time to do some character work, run scenes, goof around, and make each other promises about what we'd do in the show. 
  • We trusted. We said "let's have fun." We assured each other that nothing anyone could do would be wrong—we'd take care of everything. We swore we'd fuck with each other. 

The last part, I think, is what meant the most to me. I worry sometimes that I play too aggressively, steamroll and do other stupid stuff that I'm afraid makes my fellow players roll their eyes. I knew that all three of us were there because we really wanted to play with each other. And we know each other's styles well enough to not only accept, but appreciate what each of us brings to the work.  

I'd love to work with Spite again. (I think that's going to end up being true of a lot of Thunderdome-driven match-ups.) And I'm excited about what's ahead for Tantrum. 

And I can't believe I don't have a rehearsal or a show scheduled—to perform in, anyway—for the next few months. Probably need to fix that. 

1 comment:

  1. YOU were my brother's favorite. He loved everything you did. Especially the pooping in the purse. He laughed and laughed. I talked to him today, and he laughed and laughed as we talked about you and the hair sweater and the pooping and the whole night. You guys rocked the house.

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