Chaos Attraction

Improv 301, Week 6: Snorting Grandma

2016-04-22, 8:15 p.m.

Previous week here.

This week, we covered entrances on stage.

Brian's pet peeves about entrances are:
* asking somebody how they're doing--doesn't set up anything plus asks a question
* "I'm so glad to see you!"
* Don't worry about who's going to come out--someone will
* Don't do inside joke scenes
* Devour the stage, go out with purpose
* Come out as character, make big choices
* Say something important that moves the scene forward
* "Believe it or not, comedy is acting."
* Don't just be you on stage, you don't have to put up with your life while on stage.

Then we played the mind meld game--two people say a word at the same time, then the next 2 try to think of a word somewhere between the two of those words, repeat until you say the same thing. This game went on way too long and was a general PITA as far as I was concerned. Ugh.

The next practice we did was to have two people come out, the initiator comes out as a character and delivers important information to their scene partner, and then they react in an appropriate way. I didn't write down what everyone did on this one, but my character was ticked off at the other guy for always stealing my car so he can drive his triplets around. He was all, "I know all your hiding places." I was all, darn it! When we did it the other way around, he was a butler and I was playing at being pretentious and drinking my tea with my pinky out and telling suitors I was "indisposed." When he announced that I'd been disinherited, I dropped the cup and yelled out something bad.

Private homework for this class: Watch a person for a couple of minutes and watch how they walk, study people to have richer characters.
* "We're all just characters"
* Try to become someone else
* "Nobody really wants to be them onstage." (I dunno, I sorta do sometimes...during monologues anyway.)

The rest of the evening was doing full Harold practice.

First group:

Monologue A: girl's dog eats Barbie hairbrush and needs surgery, mom was praying the dog would die. Dog lives for 10 more years. (Of course.)
Monologue B: Guy works in a lab dealing with dog swabs, finds a dog's ear in an envelope, freaks out. (Who wouldn't?)
Monologue C: someone's roommate would leave dead animals in the freezer with no warning--dead rat, dead bird (in a bag marked "Pig's Blood"), dead butterfly. Ewwwww.

Pairing A, Part 1: Having the neighbor's dog eat evidence of his murders. "I usually do this when you're not home..." "Is this why my last dog died of eating latex gloves? "You need to get your latex filled crimes out of my apartment!"
Pairing B, Part 1: They have a list of grandma's weird requests about what to do with her dead body. Step 1: Bury her in jelly beans.
Pairing C, Part 1: Dogs messing up someone's house.
Group 1: homeowner's association wants to get rid of dogs (later billed in someone's notes as "dog holocaust").
Pairing A, Part 2: Destroying evidence by turning it into art projects--turn a report card into an art project, "is this a drug cigarette?" plant it in the yard as an artistic statement, turn this keg into a statue. "It's a statement about society and not about my weekends."
Pairing B, Part 2: more gross corpse requests, here come some animals to eat the body. (Hoo boy, was I not into this scene.)
Pairing C, Part 2: same dogs at a kennel/slammer
Group 2: bad game show in which people pull bad surprises out of bags.
Pairing A, Part 2: President wants you to dispose of his sexual misconduct evidence, offshore banking, he hunts interns--"he'll be at the bottom of the Potomac in 15 minutes."
Pairing B, Part 3: Grandma's corpse is now going to be ashes and snorted up your nose ("Here's your straw"). Okay, that last one was funny.
Pairing C, Part 3: same dogs at the no kill shelter for 40 years and they're bored.

Critique notes after that:
* People on stage should clap after monologues
* Initiate and endow my scene partner with a familiar relationship.
* "Eat my meat. That sounds terrible." (I no longer remember the context of this remark...)
* Feed the pattern machine
* Don't have to heighten on every beat or else you end up in heaven or on the moon. (This was from someone else saying that the covering up evidence scenes went from murder to report cards and should have been the other way around. Brian said when people have to heighten with every scene, they all end up in the same two places.)
* "We're gonna snort Grandma."
* Brian asked the guy initiating in the third group what his vision for this was, was it just having dogs pooping and peeing? "I envisioned it as pooping and shitting and peeing."

Okay, before I begin talking about the one I was in, I'm gonna say a few things:
(a) I'm not super great on initiating three scene stories. It's hard to think out all of this shit ahead of time before you go.
(b) I have generally come to the conclusion that if I haven't thought out the idea super well, maybe I should just hang back and let someone else initiate.
(c) I had very flimsy ideas at best for this and had decided to hang back and let someone else initiate.

Group 2:
Monologue A: biking in the cold
Monologue B (me): catching someone lying and not being able to straightforwardly tell someone about it who needs to know and she would not get the hint (see yesterday's entry).
Monologue C: finding two 20 dollar bills in five minutes and getting lucky.

Pairing A, Scenes: two researchers freezing somewhere, she keeps trying to have him stuff warm food like pizza down his pants. (She's fattening him up). And apparently by round 3 she hid him in her vagina? Very weird.
Pairing B, Scenes: I wanted to do something with the idea of "trying to tell someone something in a subtle manner" but couldn't come up with crap, so I'm impressed that this guy came up with a way to do it. He started out every scene saying something like, "We are rivals, yet I respect you, so I will let you know the answers to things." Such as where the eggs are in an Easter egg hunt, on a spy mission, and as a veterinarian telling him how to operate on an animal.
Pairing C, Scenes: The bare terrible idea I ended up going with was what Brian described after as "unlucky lucky," i.e. I'm the sort of person who only finds a penny, and only has like three pennies, but that's still better than nothing, right? And the other person I'm talking to is always lucky. This was awkward as hell for the both of us. I tried to change the concept--lucky with money, lucky with love, lucky in an election--but kept running out of material big time. It was painful. Good lord, I am not ready to audition yet. Maybe in another year when I can think this stuff through better.
Group 1: Nightclub bouncer checks people's sketchy transcripts before going in.
Group 2: Mosquitoes stinging on the worst places of the body. Someone brought up the concept of stinging a dude on the wenis.

Critique notes:
* There are times when you can break the rules
* Don't always have to have a moral at the end of the monologue
* Getting lucky in the worst ways--unluckily lucky--Brian said it was a hard one and he had issues thinking of what to do with it too. Okay, I feel slightly better.
*Don't tell the mosquitoes where to land (to be fair, he didn't), just make your hit and let everyone else make theirs.
*Brian said, "if anyone knows what a wenis is, it's clearly" the dude who worked in the dog lab. That guy was all, why me? Uh, you work in a lab?

After class was over, I was feeling pretty stoopid and not in the mood to go to Jam, but I went anyway. I was a mom going to Drug Rehab Babysitter, whose husband said to give those people a chance and since I used to have a problem with Excedrin and wine coolers, I couldn't really judge. I requested a weed addict and the guy running this was all, "no, those are for infants." (Okay, good point under this uh, circumstance.) I had my pick of crack or heroin, so I picked the latter and got a discount because she's been sober for four days....

Okay, better than class that night, at least.

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