Chaos Attraction

Improv 301, Week 7: Where All The Magic Happens

2016-04-29, 5:53 p.m.

Continued from here.

This week we worked on backstory between characters. Brian recommends that you should make sure your characters know each other onstage because it's really hard when you don't know each other. So after playing a warmup game of counting to 20 (you have to start over if two people yell a number at once) we played a game called, no joke, "It's Me, Ned Ryerson!" Just like in Groundhog Day, one person says that dialogue ("You don't remember me? It's me, Ned Ryerson!") and then the other person has to remember where they know Ned (or Nellie) from. "Oh, I remember you, you're the one who did X!" and then you make up a backstory.

Brian's notes on this:

* Accepting and moving forward is funnier than denying
* Try to have positive relationships on stage
* Share the emotion of the memory
* Try out these things one at a time
* Pick one goal to work on a night for practice
* Close down the space bubble the closer you are to a person emotionally
* Things you can do to show a relationship
* Always be trying to show your character as much as possible
* If you are clear on character, you will be that person.
* Wear it like a costume.

In the scene I was in, we first did one where I as Ned was a clown college instructor, and I had people practice spraying themselves in the face with seltzer, and then the other one was where I was talking to someone who broke into the monkey cage in high school, rode a giraffe, had to run from a walrus...I was jealous because I was planning on breaking into the monkey cage but was off stealing churros to feed them when that happened. I ended up feeding the churros to the fish instead.

The rest of the night was full Harold practice.
Overall notes:
* Clear initiations in all beats
* Group scenes, not group line
* Initiate with patterns where you know each other
* If there's more than six people in a group, the extra people can do walk-ons or initiate group scenes.

Group 1:
Monologue A: learning was used as punishment in her house, she was hating history and science, but became history student of the month.
Monologue B: One guy was watching some anime about a boys volleyball team while using Adblock. The provider of the video put up a polite video begging him not to use Adblock and cut into their income. He was all, well because you're so nice, okay, I'll turn it off... and then one of their ads spoiled the ending of the very anime he was watching.
Monologue C: One girl was a softball pitcher—she was the aggressive one, her sister was the weasely one, and was afraid as she should have been….The girl threw the ball into her sister's mouth and knocked out four teeth, and when the sister showed Dad her smile, Dad passed out.
Set 1A: old dad teaches kid to fight but can’t handle body fluids. And isn' t very good at teaching. Just flail it? With no back support? Open hands? Like T-rex?
Set 1B: cute captain. Pirate that will frolic, drinks grog in a sippy cup.
Set 1C: People are so afraid of Game of Thrones spoilers that they find a cave with cable to live in. Also, "this empty bag of flour is my friend."
Group Scene 1: filming a cute poodle at the farmers market. “Is he like a breed of heaven and teacups?”
Set 2A: teaching football and cringing. “I can’t feel my everything!”
Set 2B: Cute captain got captured. “I’m not as cute when I’m thin” so she gets fed more. Also isn’t really tied up.
Set 2C: A history substitute who hates spoilers, so will only talk about the first half of wars.
Group Scene 2: The teacup poodle becomes a killer in season 2. Yup, seriously erupted into a Rambo situation.
Set 3A: ice skating, same kind of thing
Set 3B: torturing capturer with a smiley face
Set 3C: don’t spoil the marriage proposal!

Brian's notes:
* Try not to break between monologues
* Start scene on the back line
* Teaching scene in group a, justify why dad is passive.
* Don’t flip who's crazy and who's normal in 2nd or 3rd beat—stick with same sort of analogous thing
* Group b: slow down and listen.
* Group c: “start in cave, that’s where all of the magic happens”
* Group scenes: Didn’t really have a pattern, too much information, did not know what to focus on. In the second scene,
Spot becomes Rambo. Don’t time dash a scene that didn’t work perfectly, it only worked because the dog started destroying things.

I don't have too many notes on what my group did, since I was too busy thinking. Here's my sketchy recollections combined with Brian's notes:

Monologue A: eating potato chips and then tripping on boxes while moving
Monologue b: dumped by text while moving, mom is mean about it. “Fuck you, Kyle Silverstein.”
Monologue C: storm chasing.
Set 1: bad places to party, evicted while planning on throwing a party, say pattern up front
Second beat: analogous partying in an actual shitstorm. “I love diarrhea splash.” Explore what happens in that, Brian said. (Do we really want to, I say in retrospect? Ew!) Take all the party stuff you know and then play shitstorm. Or “corn storm.”
Third beat: what kind of bees in a hive were you? “we should be working.”

Set B: inappropriate news over text: your pet is dead, your brother is dead, something about a Russian premier.
Face away from person you are fake texting and do not look at them.

Set C: eating potato chips in inappropriate places, I think?
Snacking when more important things to do. No reality, you’re just the chip guy, need some sense of reality.
Second beat: ate chips over a body, bad doctor scene, tough to believe.
Can't recall what they did as a third beat.

I initiated group scene 1, an obstacle course game in an apartment—ocean of clothes, mountain of boxes, find the hamster. “Try not to sexually molest other students” came up when someone went looking for the hamster up another guy's pant leg. “I found the hamster, where’s my beer?” Lots going on with no focus, conductive chaos, everyone made hits at once. (This is something my class does a LOT of.)

Group scene 2 was just watching airplanes. I was bored (and played a conspicuously bored character), one girl was high, one zen dude. Should have slowed down and worked in turns. Brian's suggestion was to say, “Why does everything remind me of a dick?” and then snarked on himself, “Oh, Brian wrote himself into the scene.”

He suggested that we formulate a pattern with 2 words and then name it at start, and we need to not talk over each other.

At Improv Jam that night, I played the cat of a crazy cat lady on a date. I pawed legs, went for the milk, and got sprayed in the face. It was fun.

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