Chaos Attraction

Improv 101 Week Seven: Kill Butterflies

2015-05-05, 11:04 p.m.

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So apparently the notifylist stopped working and nobody said anything about it to me and I can't find anything about it. Grrr. Have now replaced with TinyLetter.

Continued from here.

No major lecture this week--we did two brief warmups, one called "Electric Company" in which one person would come up with a word and the next person comes up with a related word, repeat down the circle, and a clapping game similar to the knives/baby/cat one. Then we got to doing Harolds, got four done today. I am happy to report that EVERYONE came back to class today, though one person was all "what if I can't go to the performance?"

I think we did a lot better this week. I know I did! I'm pretty proud of how I did tonight, it was really exciting. Other folks were doing really well too. Some people did some really spectacular monologues. One guy told a great story about letting out a colossal fart while in the airport in Alaska, annoying the entire TSA line. And of course he and his brother were trying to blame it on others. Another girl was the school mascot--a BEARCAT, don't ask her what that is--and when another mascot started harassing her, she chased him down, yelling "Let's just take this wherever it goes!" and was strangling him. He complained and she got in trouble. Some can dish it out but not take it...

I did a monologue on how if you say anything in a perky voice at work, people will totally be happy to hear bad news. (Extremely weird, but apparently true. I got this girl EXCITED HAPPY yesterday despite my telling her I can't do what she wants for several months. What the heck?) This led to a lovely scene about how to deliver bad news in the hospital, I played one of the patients being told she'll never walk again. "But do I get one of those fancy chairs?" Then the next guy got told he has to have his balls cut off... CRAZY TOWN! (Also see note below.)

I"ll do my best to recall what went down:

The first scene I initiated was going into a butterfly garden while afraid of butterflies. (Based off real life--the first time I went in one I nearly stomped on a butterfly flying under my foot and I wouldn't go in one for years.) So I nearly stepped on one, hid behind the other guy...and a third guy did a spectacular job of playing a butterfly...a GIANT BUTTERFLY. And when he landed on the other guy's back, I got up the nerve to punch the butterfly in the face. I LOVED THAT. Brian's commentary was that "The way you become unusual in this scene is kill butterflies." He said it would have been good in the graduation show despite it not being the traditional pattern. YAY!

The second scene was me being an irritating TSA agent sending people all the way to the front of the airport to get plastic baggies (based off of one girl's monologue saying the TSA was making people do that, and she said she'd rather throw out her lip gloss than lose her place in line, and the agent said "No, I know from my wife how much those things cost."), and generally being a jerk and stealing their stuff when they weren't there. More of a group skit, really. Brian said I should make sure nobody ever made it on the plane, and be all "I'm doing it to protect the plane, you little heathen!" Not too bad either. I also hopped into a few other skits, some went better than others.

Some other skits I can recall:
* "Your pattern is you don't know how to describe things in the desert." As in "hey, a ball is crawling up my leg!"
* We've had protesters going on in town in the last few days, blocking traffic--apparently one of my classmates was one of them--so there were two skits based off that: one guy protesting everything such as cats and caterpillars, and another one based off people who'd rather get a manicure (happened IRL, apparently).
* Mad scientist makes a bear cat! The same guy who played the butterfly made an awesome bear cat. He's good at animals. Brain was all "The bear cat needed to come on."
* A speeding car gets interrupted by a cop, saying they're going 30 in a 55 mph zone. The players blamed it on smoking pot.
* A woman who only wanted to date bowlers on online dating websites.
* A chiropractor who used balls in his work, eventually getting bigger and bigger... rolling out the medicine ball.... and the other player was all "Well, you've got a diploma on the wall..."
* Dieting by using tons of drugs. Hey, let's get the molly...

Brian totally thinks up skits all by himself, like protesting cats. "You're gonna protest the shit out of that cat!" He also suggested a perky serial killer, James Bond-esque plastic bags, how Alaska is a lot like Afghanistan...

Fun stories told by Brian tonight!
* How he got told he was funny by his teacher in LA, followed by "But you can't play dumb forever." He acted out how awkward he felt after that...
* Tonight's class was on Cinco de Mayo, so finding parking was difficult AND there was a damn mariachi band playing outside. Brian told the story about how this was happening during a show and a guy performing actually got up, walked out the door and yelled "SHUT THE FUCK UP!" After the show was over, he got his picture taken with them.

General notes:
* Add enough detail to monologues for 2 ideas per monologue
* Do something with the monologues that get a laugh.
* Finish the monologue with a lesson learned, don't say "moral."
* Don't look back for someone else to come on with you, just start and someone will join.
* Start smaller and build up.
* Be careful during pratfalls--he apparently learned to fall in stage combat classes in the way I did in dance class: roll your body parts down gently like a domino effect.
* "Follow the funny, the laughter is going to tell you where the funny is."
* Don't walk on if you don't get what the pattern is.
* Don't put your sensibilities on a scene that stops where it could have gone.
* "I can make a choice instead of being dumb."
* Talk louder than you think you need to.
* A stage whisper is using your usual loud voice, just with a hand gesture.
* Technical term: "Don-ning an initiation" (based off a guy here) is taking a long time to get to the point at the start of a scene.
* If someone says "cut your balls off," edit! "You're never going to beat cut your balls off! That's crazy town!"
* Physical contact in an improv scene can be dangerous. Don't hang on people, pick them up, actually hit someone... Brian has been injured badly quite a lot when people jumped on him and the like, for months on end. Ouch!
* Nobody's ever going to be 100%, but shoot for a better average of success.
* You're going to have off nights, but you should enjoy the process, like rehearsals and classes. He likes them all. When he fails, it reminds him to work on what he's doing.
* If you think you are crushing it all the time, it means that you've checked out on paying attentions to others and everyone hates you.
*Love the process, learn form it.
* You came here to not be depressed!

Oh, and in the event that I ever go to the improv jam on Thursdays: he now says that we're cleared to join it. It's free, you put your name in a bucket and they draw names, 8 at a time, to perform Harolds. He says they get through 4-5 teams a night of 8 people and get at least 24 performers every night--it's very popular. Good to know if/when I switch CC shifts.


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