This week’s guest is Pippa Evans. She had a successful Edinburgh Fringe Festival where her debut solo show, “Pippa Evans and Other Lonely People“, was nominated for the if.comedy Best Newcomer Award. Pippa regularly guests with Grand Theft Impro and is a core member of Scratch, the improvisation team behind the Fringe favourite “The Reduced Edinburgh Impro Show“. She has filmed sketches for “The Wrong Door” on BBC 3, appeared as a guest on the BBC Scotland improvisational radio show, “Coming Up Next”, and is currently writing her first pilot for BBC Radio 4.
Hello. I am Pippa and I have been promising to write this blog entry for about three months. I got busy. I was tired. I went to the gym. I ate fried chicken. I googled myself. I made lots of other things more important. And I suppose that is why impro is not so successful in the UK, because it is never as important as other things. As boyfriends or stand-up or making a nice dinner. Because you feel like you can do it, so why work at it? You can get away with it most nights, even if it is a bit of a shabby show, so why rehearse? Why talk about it? Why waste precious chocolate-spread-eating-out-of-the-jar-with-a-spoon time sat in a room with your troupe discussing the finer points of “Yes and…”?
Surely if you know that, you know it all!
Well, well, it is time we gave ourselves a wake up call. We need to work even harder. We need to hone our skills. It is all very well knowing how to play “Endless Box” but if you don’t play it regularly, even if it is by yourself each morning, your brain will get stuck in a rut. I found that. I got all Impro-cocky and just turned up to shows and then found that actually, it is not about Me knowing the rules to the games, it is about Us working together and finding new rules to new games. Impro is the ultimate team sport, and sitting in a backroom eating chicken on your own isn’t going to make a great improviser. Thinking that other performance mediums are “better” or “need more work” will only push impro to the back of the comedy performance genres when it should be at the front. Nothing can beat a stonking impro show –a group of pals working together to create a unique performance experience. And yet we favour a man with a bow tie telling jokes about his mother-in-law. Stoopid us. But then we do it to ourselves. Impro is, at its best, the most adrenaline-fuelled ride you can give an audience and, at its worst, the longest drawn-out hour of cringe that you can muster. You cannot guarantee what will happen in the auditorium but I can guarantee this: if we give it the respect it deserves, we might get the results we crave.
Until next time, this is Pippa of the UK signing off!