On Wednesday, I waited patiently to meet my new Beginner Improvisers at the Evolution Arts building. I have lost count of how many courses I have taught in the main studio, how many unsuspecting people have become addicted to improv here or met great friends in this space. Indeed, later in July of this year the first Maydays-related wedding will take place. Now, for a course that condones listening, saying yes and committing, you can’t get much more committed than that!
Once the formalities were over (i.e. me gabbing on about shows and course content) we got down to the serious business of trying to remember each other’s names as latecomers arrived and had to be incorporated into the alliterative name game (Andy Arab, Melly Belly…see it works!). After a few group warm ups and John Cremer’s favourite, 3-line scenes, I introduced them to Spelling machines and Park Bench. Maydays afficionado’s will grin knowingly at this point but for the rest of you, you’ll have to come and do the next Beginners course to find out more…..!
A good night, lots of laughing and creativity, followed by pub discussions. A great group and I’m looking forward to more of the same next week.
Meanwhile in Mayday land, the company got together today to iron out a few bits of our new show, Confessions! The format revolves around scenes and songs inspired by audience members. Discussions ensued about how we persuade the audience to share their sins with us, how to open the show and, of course, how to close it. This may sound a bit un-improv-y to the un-initiated but essentially it’s nigh on impossible to have NO structure to your improv show. I think Katie and Rach is probably the improv show with the least formalised structure but even they have time constraints. I subscribe to ‘limitation is stimulation’, i.e. it’s easier to be creative within a structure – even if the cast know when a show should end, it doesn’t mean the tech does, or the audience – so best to signal these things so everyone knows where they stand.
Anyway, we came out of rehearsal with an opening and closing structure and, even more exciting, a new song style soon to be unveiled at this years Brighton May Festival. It now feels like we’re ready to take on the sins of Brighton and, with the power of improv, absolve them.
Posted by: Jen Rowe