Improv V

Object work today.

We started the ball rolling with a game called “What are you doing?” We formed two lines, and the two people at the front end of the line faced one another. One person would mime an action, say digging his nose, and the other person would ask, “What are you doing?”, whereupon the mimic would say something totally different like “I’m washing dishes.” The other person would immediately mime washing dishes. And the game continues on in this fashion until somebody falters/stumbles. Then the next person in line jumps in.

It was hard. But what was near impossible when we had to say actions with given letters. E.g LP. Laughing parrot? Loving Polly? Licking pears? It was tough having to even come up with one example, let alone two while you’re concentrating on doing an action at the same time.

That exercise over, we broke up into threes and pantomined moving objects: a 60-inch TV, a gigantic log, a stubborn elephant who doesn’t want to move. I need to practice my object work a ton more. I’m not very good with details, and even less so with imagination and creativity. My partner and I just lifted the TV up and shoved it into a corner, while some sweated buckets – or at least pretended to – trying to move the TV a couple inches, and yet others cleverly mimed a cart which they tipped the TV onto and merrily wheeled it around the room. And we walked into objects, or did not clearly define their shape, size, and weight.

We also practiced individual miming – putting on clothes in the morning – and did more pair work like exchanging presents.

Another object game we played was repeating an action so many times until it lost its original form and morphed into a different action. E.g. Throwing a fishing line could turn into golf; painting could turn into doing the hoola hoops.

We continued the theme in the second half of the session. Going up to the “stage” in pairs, Kimmy set up a scene and basic storyline, whereupon each pair would have to act it out, all without talking. This was hard, not least because one had to pay really close attention to what the other person was doing, lest he accidentally walk into an object that had been “set up”, or worse, overlap one another’s actions. Jesse and Rob were first up, and they did an incredible job. Their scene was set in the kitchen, and they were were college roommmates. One of the roommates had slept with the other’s girlfriend, and the other knew and obviously wasn’t happy. Their mimes were realistic and not over the top, and it was hilarious watching Rob (the cheating roommate) try to butter an obviously pissed Jesse up. Some other scenes: a couple working at Subway who are obviously into one another (it was difficult at first trying to ascertain who was at the start and the end of the checkout lane, but Alex and Jennifer were complete naturals with their shy, but increasingly bold flirting); two people who hate each other but are stuck in the same elevator; two guys checking each other out at the gym; a couple on their first date.

My scene, which I acted out with Jade, was on the airplane. We were supposedly best friends who had just gone on a really fun summer vacation. We had been attracted to the same guy, but unbeknowest to one of us, the other had actually slept with him. Kimmy didn’t give us any directions as to which one of us was supposed to be the sluttier bff, and we couldn’t really discuss it beforehand. So I just kind of did my own thing at the beginning, hoping that Jade would clue me in with her actions. I mimed settling into my seat, putting on my seat belt, and leaning my chair back. Then I pretended to take out a camera, which I merrily proceeded to show Jade, who faked depression and uneasiness. Eventually, she started to cry and I put her head on my shoulder before Kimmy called “Scene!” and ended it there. To be honest, I still wasn’t sure which friend I was; I was mainly caught up in trying to move the scene along with whatever action seemed the most natural. I suppose that worked – to the audience, it appeared that I was the happily obvlious friend, and Jade was obviously suffering from a guilty conscience.

We ended the class with Freeze Tag again, but this time with a twist – we played Pimp Freeze Tag. Instead of yelling Freeze and jumping in onto the scene ourselves, we’d yell Freeze and “pimp” someone else onto the stage. It definitely was a lot easier going in than my first couple attempts a month ago now, though I still get brain freeze and inevitably only think up the funny lines when I’m already offstage. Ah well. It was pretty heartening at the end of class though, when Kimmy came up to me and said you know, some of the things you say just crack me up because it’s so unexpected and so unlike your sweet and innocent demeanor. Haha. Ok, she didn’t really say it like that, and certainly didn’t use the actual words “sweet” and “innocent”, but you get the point. At last I can put my youthful face to good use! Nobody suspects the little Asian girl.

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