Improv VIII: End of a chapter

Up till the last minute, I was still debating on whether to turn up. Still coughing, and if it’s possible, I felt worse than ever today. And I don’t even have that sexy, breathy voice! Well, I do, but then I just cough my guts out after every sentence or so. Kind of spoils the effect.

In the end, I decided to go; if things got bad, I figured I could just turn around and crawl back into bed. This was the last class after all, and if you skipped a class, you had to do a makeup. And I have no other time available for make up.

We did a quick “Big Booty” warm up game and then quickly switched into the scene work game where two people jumped onto stage to act out whatever scene that popped into their heads. Still hard, and people seemed even more lethargic than usual; we took longer to come out, and when we did, we didn’t for the most part seemed energetic and lively enough. There were a couple of memorable scenes though – Alex mimed going through the woods on a snowmobile, which was pretty hilarious.

Key takeaways: Try to set up, from the very beginning, “Who, What, Where”. Seems easy enough, but I always forget at least one part of it.

Next, we played a game that was easy on my throat and voice. Kimmy brought a bunch of CDs, and she had us go up on stage in pairs with character suggestions thrown out by the audience. She’d play a random track and off we’d go, miming out the scene. Alex and Jade had a brilliantly funny act as garbage collectors; in another scene, Alex and Brad were fishermen on a boat. At first, Alex mimed getting a hook caught up in his shirt, but Brad evidently hadn’t a clue what Alex was doing, and mimed instead getting all over him. But he quickly caught on to that and the both of them managed to eke out their characters – Alex the fisherman who was oblivious to Brad’s advances, and who, when he finally figures it out, try to jump out of the boat. Brad then quickly reeled him back in. Jesse had a funny scene too, as a gas attendant. Then there was Bridget and Santi’s boss and secretary scene, with a slow moving jazz soundtrack as the background. It was a scream. I did three scenes – one in a morgue with Monica (our music had a happy, lively beat, so we had a ball of a time pulling out different drawers to make fun of what lay inside); one at the little league game with Laura where we were parents of opposing competitors (of course, things got increasingly nasty and almost evolved into a fist fight); and one at the supermarket with Maddy.

Afterwards, we returned to more talking scene work. My first act was with Bridget, and I was Pinocchio. Somehow, I was a naughty Pinocchio because I read porn magazines, and played with wooden toys. But I wanted to be a real boy, and questioned whether I was because my nose, not ahem, got bigger when I lied. Bridget ended the scene brilliantly by sitting me down to tell me all about wood. My other scene was with Lauren, and we were birdwatchers on a trip. I think we both were a little out of it on that one – neither of us had any idea on how to take the scene forward, and we ended up struggling behind our improv binos. At the end of it, Kimmy suggested that we could have gone back to build up on our characters and not stick so valiantly to the theme of hiking and bird watching. Instead, use the binoculars as props and not be afraid to jump onto a different story line. E.g. miming looking through the binos and saying, “Is there something you want to tell me?” and taking it from there.

So that’s that. The end of a chapter. I’m glad I went for class, even if I didn’t get to go out with the others for a couple beers after that. But we’ve a week break next week, and then most of us will be back for Level B. I’m definitely happy I took the plunge and signed up for Improv. 🙂

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