Improv 301, Week 2: I Wish I Was Shaggy
2016-03-25, 12:03 p.m.
Previous week here.
This week we were focusing on character.
List of people's bad habits in improv:
We were introduced to the concept of a "Noel," named after a guy who used to have a weird nervous tic when he was nervous onstage. Brian mentioned one guy who sucks in air and said, "I thought he was going to suck the carpet up through his face!" You need to figure out what your "noel" is. Brian said his was probably dick jokes or scenes where they're in a canoe (I don't know why the latter is a thing for him). Don't do what makes you comfortable. He's been doing improv for 16 years and he's not perfect at it. Don't be the person who is all, "I got this"---they don't! You will never be 100 percent at it.
He pointed out that this is the only club in Northern California who pays their weekend performers. Someone who shall remain anonymous said to him, "We just make money off our friends and family," the guy said. Brian was all, "you're a fucking asshole....I have values." That's adorable.
Anyway, after that segue we went into talking about developing character. We played a game called "Pass the Character" in which one person would be moving their body in a weird way and then walk towards someone else, and then that person would try to imitate them. Yes, that's bodily telephone and hoo boy, was that a mess.
Other character notes:
We walked around for awhile leading with various body parts (head, chest, pelvis, feet) and then discussed how that would help you portray a character right off the bat. What kind of character leads with ____?
This led to one girl saying that after working in a prison, she learned to puff her chest out, and now "I look like a douchebag when I walk." Another guy seconded that after working in a prison/growing up in the hood.
We walked around practicing walking with high and low status body behavior and growing and shrinking personal bubbles.
Another Brian quote for the night: “I sound almost smart tonight, you guys.”
Also, someone else said, "I spilled wine on Arnold Schwartznegger. During his fundraiser." Someone else replied to that, "Thank you for your service."
After that, we practiced monologues and first beats.
Monologue A: someone's roommate cooked foil in the microwave
Scene A: Dangerous restaurant! Hot tools, glass in the food, poisonous dessert, uncooked steak. "Risk drives us as a species, my friend!" Oh yeah, and that list of food allergies you THOUGHT were to be avoided...?
I was in this one (and got some crap for having my arms crossed while waiting onstage):
At Improv Jam after that, I initiated a scene about being afraid of fish at the pet store and needing a bodyguard. Other than running out of steam at the end once I got across the store without being attacked by suicidal fish, it went well!