Sunday, March 29, 2009

Play.

This week, I got to be in really fun shows for really small audiences. (Stupid basketball. Stupid snowstorm.)

And strangely, maybe, it didn't bother me even a little bit. (OK, the part where we ended up having to pay some of the rent out of our own pockets Friday night stung a little bit.)

Clay started the Spite/Loaded Dice show by introducing everyone in the audience to each other, which was a great idea. Saturday night, everyone in the audience at the Roving Imp already knew everybody else. We didn't feel obligated to do either show—we were actually excited to play with each other. 

Which makes all the difference. 

I'd really missed Spite. I love playing with Megan and Nikki and the differences in the way we play with each other from the way we play with Tantrum. Our show format forces us to start every scene connecting to each other emotionally. This time, based on some smart feedback from Jill, we worked really hard to avoid arguing and ganging up on each other. So the set was playful and fun, with a good mix of short and longer scenes. 

The first show at the Imp was our student showcase—a chance to play games with the folks I've been taking classes with the last couple of months. The fact that I'm having a hard time remembering scenes is a good thing; it means I was completely out of my head. And it was a great warm-up for my first Omega Directive show. The snow robbed us of some cast members, so it was John, Ryan Seymour (also of Full Frontal Comedy), Nifer and me.

I love the first-half format for the same reason I like Spite's approach: Every scene starts with a song from someone's iPod, put on "shuffle" and played until we've had a chance to establish characters in silence. (They used my nano, so it was Beatles-heavy...and we liked it.) The second half is an improvised TV show, complete with commercials. 

Quick but relevant aside: When Tantrum played our festival show last year, Dan Walsh advised us to "play like you're four people." As the Spite show does, a small cast forces you to play hard and fast. John encouraged us to cut aggressively, which gave us permission to keep things moving too fast to think. The show was tight, solid and an absolute blast to play.

Anyway, it was a fun weekend. I'm continuing to feel much more confident about what I'm bringing to the stage.

The next two weeks are packed with more improv-iness, and then things ease up for a while. Coming up:
  • Rehearsals for Job Fair, the duo-based show with Ed, Nikki and Tommy, the next two Mondays and Thursdays (we go up April 11). 
  • An Exit 16 show this Tuesday and Comedy On The Square on Saturday. 
  • Tantrum rehearsals the next two Wednesdays, with shows on the 10th and 15th. 
My goal for the year was to rehearse and perform more. I'm averaging two rehearsals a week (plus working with the kids), and 3 shows a month (plus the Exit 16 and Corbin shows). I'm playing with Tantrum, Spite and Omega Directive—with Job Fair and another Thunderdome (with a great cast) coming up this fall. 

That feels about right. 

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