Tuesday, October 28, 2008

That's two

Exit 16 did their second show tonight. It was a good show...and another reminder that they're taking on very sophisticated stuff for high-schoolers. There are kids in the group who've only been improvising for three months, and they're doing work I didn't try 'til I'd been in it for years. 

(This is partially my fault. But they ask for it, too.) 

Their second half was an 11-person game of Pan Left/Pan Right. It's a great game—and a perfect example of scenework meets technique. On one hand, the format itself—spinning through scenes—requires quick moves and results in serious slapstick. On the other, the players have to lock into their game in 30 seconds and play it out over and over. 

The work Jill and I did with Dave in LA was really helpful in rehearsing this. (I just need to remind myself of the difficult time I had during those four days, and NOT BE SURPRISED WHEN PEOPLE WHO'VE BEEN IMPROVISING NO LONGER THAN 3 YEARS DON'T GET EVERYTHING IN ONE REHEARSAL.) A few things we worked on: 
  • The character who enters the scene takes the first line. 
  • The character who stays takes a shape to inspire the character who enters. The shape is grounded in the character created in the first scene. 
  • All they have to remember is the casting. Who did they make each other in the first line? "The helpful centaur"..."the mean dad"..."the man made of pudding" (which had a great game of explaining how he became who he was)...the sophisticated couple at casual-dining restaurants.
Tim Mason gave us the first brilliant note; essentially: "Keep it simple, stupid." It's sooooo hard to trust that simplicity. And feel the rhythm of the game. 

They're talented. And committed. And smart, and funny. All it takes is a weekend at a state Thespian conference to remind me how lucky I am to work with them.  It's always a fine line—treat them like improvisers, but acknowledge they're kids.

Want to see them? Come to the Corbin Theatre (15 N. Water in Liberty) on Saturday (at 7pm), and watch them (with Fakers/Scriptease, for just $5.).  

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