Monday, May 25, 2009

Room.

Corey and Monique introduced us to the best worst movie ever made—The Room—after Michael and Amy's wedding. And at the risk of seeming obsessive, which would surprise no one, I will admit to watching it twice this week with two completely different groups.

Night One: With the Imps following Omega Directive
Everyone cracked up after the first line, which reassured me that we didn't all drink it funnier than it really is after the wedding. The little crowd ended up yelling at the screen Rocky Horror Picture Show-style, which is easy, as it turns out, when every scene is either a reprise of dialogue from another scene or completely random. It was like doing a show and watching one at the same time.

Night Two: With the Hallmark Creatives
This one was practically a tweet-up, as all the participants were folks I spend most of the day gossiping back and forth with in 140 characters or less. So when Stacey said, "I'm resisting the temptation to live tweet this," we practically threw her phone to her, knowing it would be as/more hilarious than the movie. The difference between watching with improvisers and watching with writers: the improvisers add their own dialogue—the writers predict the movie's. Emily and Bess (I think I have that right) each said a line seconds before the characters.*

(What the groups had in common: We laughed as much or more at each other as at the movie.)

Sometimes improvisers are quick to blame the audience when a show sucks. They didn't get it...they were dead...they were drunk...whatever. Auteur Tommy Wiseau, who holds monthly screenings of his movie in LA and continues to defend and explain his "meticulous" choices seems to alternate between assuming critics haven't seen or don't get it and accepting the range of reactions: "You can laugh, you can cry, you can express yourself, but please don’t hurt each other!"

Also, he recommends in the special features that all Americans see it at least twice.

Which I've done...and alarmingly, some of it is making a little more sense. You have to work a little bit harder than an audience member should have to, but you can kind of see the pattern the threads are straining to pull together.

Some audiences want to think. If you're watching interpretative dance, or performance art, or visiting a modern art museum, then yeah...you're expecting to have to put a little of your own thinking into it. Improv audiences just want to yell proctologist, or maybe "dildo." And I've never met any willing to watch "the best worst improv troupe ever."

I feel pressure to wrap this up with a point. I guess it's this: Because there is no justice in the world, it turns out we have to work a lot harder than Tommy for that cult following. We actually have to not suck.


* One of them also named the deeper meaning of the name of the movie: The experience depends on who's in the room when you watch it. Oooh! I'm sure that's really what it means.

*******

Random thought #1: This commercial is just...wrong.

#2: Check the dildo link above, if you already didn't. It's Tantrum's monologist for June 12.

#3: If you design improv posters or websites, these two links have snarky but helpful info. (And many of the reasons why I'm happy Michael, who kicks ass, designs ours and why when I do Corbin stuff, I wimp out and just modify existing templates.)

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