Chaos Attraction

Improv 101 Week Four: The Substitute Teacher

2015-04-14, 10:03 p.m.

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Continued from here.

As per the title (sorry it's not more dirty, but it wasn't that super filthy of a week), Brian was AWOL tonight and was replaced by Molly, of the aforementioned champion Cage Match team, going for its seventh win this week. She brought another friend, Rob, who joined in occasionally but otherwise just seemed to be hanging out.

I mentioned last week that the teacher wanted us to play a game called "Who's That _ I Want To __?" Yeah, we did that, though except for well, ME, it wasn't all that dirty. It's a bit hard to explain--you're supposed to say "Who's that car I want to drive?" (or whatever), and eventually you pick someone in class and they act out the role of the car and you act out the role of the driver, and then the person you picked goes next, etc. I had to go dirty and picked "Who's that chicken I want to choke?" off of a guy's chicken T-shirt, and picked him to choke. Hah. The other improv game we did was naming things in patterns--one person names a color, the next one names another, etc. until someone hits a mental blank, and then we all yell "Yay!" and that person starts another category.

The rest of the class was finally doing The Harold, full on, with coming up with sketches. I hopped on stage first and then kinda wondered why the hell I did that.

I've mentioned before that I love monologues*, and hell, I was even thinking of some while driving over in the car, but tonight I wasn't thinking of 'em for shit for some reason. Or at least the words "sink" and... I forget the other one, but either word didn't really spark any ideas in me for anything.

* note: on the phone with my shrink today as I was telling her about class, she was all, "You better be telling me that you're going to sign up for 201 or I think we're just going to have to break up."

Which is fine, I don't HAVE to be the one who does the monologue...or at least I should let other people do it once in awhile :P But I'll admit going first on this was tricky business. The other two guys managed to get something going about one of them being super picky and demanding about having individual Skittle colors picked out when he got home, but the guy I went up with was playing "Drunk Guy Wants To Drive And Wants My Car Keys," which under the circumstances (remember, not that funny to play) was kinda hard to make into a joke. So....how well can you see right now, buddy? Can you read that sign over there? Molly had us redo the skits after giving us some notes. The second go-round was a little better--I got him to give me the car keys and I'd drive him to the bar, he wants to go to a strip club and I ask him if he brought enough ones.... But it was pretty tricky. I kinda felt like I was thinking of ideas and he wasn't coming up with much to work with or something.

Everyone else after us was doing better with examples, I think! Some folks had some awkwardness--the one where it had two guys in a foxhole and one of them was an idiot general was kinda floundering, but it had some good bits when he was checking the other one's stars. Also "I went to London State, all right?"

Other cool ideas were: (a) the lady who bought a seeing eye cat from some random dude calling himself "Ringo" at Petco, (b) a lady who brings in a stuffed animal as a paid employee, (c) a guy who has a Goth art store and another guy walks in wanting Easter decorations, so here's our fifty shades of gray paint, very topical...I loved that idea, actually, you could decorate with coffins at Easter and be totally justified.

Another skit was reminding me of a podcast I'd heard just that afternoon-- here's a direct mp3 link to it-- by Ijeoma Oluo about how her mother would turn their being poor into an adventure, like the power being turned off would be all about camping and stuff like that.

Oh, an amusing bit about store owning: after the guy who came up with the Goth store skit mentioned another idea in a store, Molly was all, "You would make an awful store owner." And he was all, "I used to be a store owner. That's why I'm here." Wow. Not much to say to that, eh?

I got up on stage one more time before class was over and did a better job-- still kinda stumped on the monologue ("oh crap, I can't think of a funny funeral story"), but did manage to come up with a skit about putting on a pep rally in 5 minutes, but there's a dead guy in the middle of the field and the ambulance isn't going to come for 20 more minutes so we need to cover up the body with pom-poms...

I'm working on it.

Anyway, notes from this class:
* When you're on the back line, don't lean on things and look like you want to be on the stage. Molly's been told she has "poopy face" while she's thinking of patterns to play.
* If you're the weird one, tell the other person what you want in a scene--cast their role if you are first on. "Say the pattern before you play the pattern."-Brian thinks that's clever because it rhymes.
* To play the opposite gender: if you're playing a girl, your feet are closer together, men are farther apart.
* The easiest patterns come from contrast.
* The grounded person should call the weird one out for it.
* The monologue is a gift to the players to do scenes.
* "No kay" (another Brian term) is when you think something is weird, but okay, you're going to go along with it...for now, anyway. Things will get weirder and eventually the grounded person should be saying no!
* Play to the top of your intelligence.
* The unusual one has to justify their behavior.
* Pull hits from the environment you set up.
* Every object you need to imagine should be downstage/front.
* "In the sauce" = do something while you're talking.
* "Space object" = pantomiming props.
* Conflict doesn't necessarily have to be arguing, but you should both be playing the same pattern.
* Make it easy as possible on yourself-pick the low hanging fruit and commit to it.
* Your goal is to pull two patterns from the monologues so you have a backup idea if someone picks your first one.

In the future, she mentioned that in 201 you learn invocations and other ways to get started, and if you get on a Harold team, Mel (the leader) will print out monologues for everyone and you're supposed to pick out patterns. That sounds interesting to try...


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