Chaos Attraction

Musical Improv Week 2: Why Do These Things Always Devolve Into Some Sort Of Murder?

2016-11-17, 10:29 p.m.

Continued from here.

I actually managed to get there on time this week, even though despite bringing my car I still ended up leaving 20 minutes late and having to drive through West Sac again. We’ll see if I can improve that.

Lincoln started out by talking about some music theory terms.
Pitch: allows ordering of sounds, note compared to other notes.
Note: pitches ordered and put together.
Scales: arrangement of pitches, such as “do re mi.”
Key: same thing.
Flats and sharps: half notes between other notes. Sharps are too high, flats are too low.
How do you find the right notes? The only way to know if you are on or off is by ear. He recommends pulling a Christina Aguilera and sliding up and down on a scale until you find the right note.

After doing some warmups, we got in a circle and made up song lyrics--a few lines at a time, passing the song along. After starting with the suggestion of police siren, our character was speeding, got arrested, dropped soap in the shower in jail, made a new friend, lost a new friend... you get the drift. (Then the next song was about hoarding chocolate.) This led to the question of, “Why do these things always devolve into some sort of murder....” and how this exercise is now named after Chris the sketch writing teacher because of his doing that. Somehow I am not surprised.

He did a basic improv lecture for those who have not taken Improv 101 (focus on either stuff that happens once on the biggest day of your life or would never happen IRL), then we did the game “Sing It,” in which you start doing a scene until Lincoln tells you to make up a song based on some line you just said. I was in a scene in which I was playing a deer in the woods--we had two deer trying not to get hunted, two skaters in the woods who’d like to go hunting...which led to another quote of “What better way to express your love than to kill Bambi?” and “We killed Bambi last week too.” So my group was awesome, the second group somehow ended up talking about shit sandwiches and puns and soup kitchens and the line, “I can shit out another sandwich or two.”
I have no context written down for this one: “You could make a lot of black tar heroin with a ladle.”

Then we switched to “Piano Torture,” a favorite of Lincoln’s because he has the power--same game except you sing for as long as he plays the piano. The first scene somehow turned into a thing on archery lessons and a creepy body pillow--”it got creepy so quickly” and “well, we started the evening with prison rape.” The scene I was in was better, it featured former circus performers turned farmers with a juggling cow and a boy who wanted to get back into show business while his father disagreed. At some point they introduced a character who disapproved of this sort of thing in his own son and Lincoln stepped away from the piano to jump into the scene because “I just wanted to see him get beaten to death.”

Homework: keep singing in the car, find some karaoke tracks and make up your own lyrics.

I stuck around again to watch Cage Match, which featured star performers Eric and Molly visiting from LA and performing with their old 2-person improv teams, Nip Palz (won ten Cage Matches in a row before retiring) and Deer/Antelope, which features blingy deer shirts. Apparently LA is dull and Eric has spent his time watching Luke Cage. Anyway, holy crap, did Deer/Antelope win and win hard, mixing up working at Michael’s, revengeful Batman-esque superheroes and call and responses for 20 minutes. It was brilliant.

As for Improv Jam, I played a hobbit that wanted to eat a guy’s dog.

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