Posts tagged: comedy nest
I like it when audiences line up for a show. We bring in well-behaved people. Also, enough people to, you know, form a line as opposed to say, a dot.
The show felt good in many of the sames ways as last show. It had a similar feel and pacing to it, though this show’s audience was bigger and more responsive. Unlike short-form where pauses between scenes oblige the audience to clap for the performers no matter what (clap for crap), the quick transitions in this format don’t force the audience to clap at all. There really are no cues to clap in our show. I don’t assume a show is going downhill if there’s no clapping because I just don’t expect it. (There are other clues like that feeling of dread in the bottom of my stomach.) But, yeah, there was clapping galore, so that was fun!
Our monologues need a bit of fine tuning. I want us to be able to take any word, breathe 5 seconds, and deliver coherently. We were ok, but capable of better. We’re doing very well at short scenes, but I’d also like us to try exploring some longer scenes.
The first monologue was Marc’s on graduation. We began with a scene about a doctor signing out a spleen from a patient. There was a scene about a guy graduating first in class (alphabetically), and another about mathletes at a foot race followed by a status fight at a book club meeting of pompous jerks. I gotta say, I like book-club as a set-up. The less I know about the book, the better.
My monologue was about monsters and all the things I worried about going to bed at night. I feel like I could have jumped from topic to topic less and gone into more details about certain things. From the monologue, we got a scene about god convincing a man to marry a really ugly woman (and likely transsexual) in order to father the second coming of Jesus. It led to a so-so scene about rats in the wall of a dude’s house. (We had trouble with projecting and listening. It was short, though, and mostly harmless.) There was also a short, fun newscast in there where the newscaster and reporter were incredibly condescending to the boy they were interviewing. Thankfully and purposefully (or instinctively?), we stayed clear of all the Whose Line is it Anyway newscast clichés.
Vinny’s monologue was about the word “heroic”. We began with the Lord of the Onion Rings restaurant (as wonderful as it sounds) where Golum got fired. I think there was a neighbourhood meeting scene in there about someone’s undisciplined kids, which led to a great one-word story about a time machine and bringing all the big shoulder-padded women from the 80s to the present day. We ended the show on a gibberish scene where Marc tried to force-feed drinks from the audience to Nikki and me.
As Combo would say, thanks for coming out!
Last Friday’s show went swimmingly. A good show gives you a nice 24-hour glow, but it’s been a few days, so I’m ready to soberly postmortemize the show.
Leading up to this show, we practiced a few technical changes to our show:
- After each monologue, begin with a scene that draws heavily from the monologue so that the audience gets the connection. (You’d be surprised, yo.)
- In subsequent scenes, start with a nugget of an idea from the last scene or the monologue.
- Go back to inserting the occasional short-form game into the set to break things up.
- Do the odd Harold full-troupe group game. In the Harold format, there are periodic scenes that involve the entire troupe on-stage. One person is usually in charge (e.g. the coach, the boss, the general) while the others are the underlings. These scenes are good for changing the energy after a long scene and for generating lots of ideas. It’s usually an easy stepping off point for a new scene.
We began the show with Marc’s monologue about phones, and more specifically, the recent purchase of his first cell phone. This led to a scene about an XBox-for-Child-for-iPhone swap. I thought Sean played a wonderfully precocious and sympathetic child. It was almost heartbreaking how his father would let go of such a wide-eyed lovable child… almost. We then did a scene about an office worker whose mom (and uncle) was having an affair with one of his co-workers. The mother wore bunny ears for no apparent reason. The next scene was about bunny farmers. (See what we did just there?) The bunny farmers went to the big city to try and pay off a debt in what might have been the weakest scene of the night. It had funny moments, but it just didn’t hold together very well.
Sean’s monologue was about handcuffs and a train trip through Poland. We began with one of my favourite scenes: the train trip where the locals taunted the foreigner in a mixture of gibberish, broken English, broken French, and broken Styx. Marc and I did a very well-received one-word story about a priest with gambling problems and role-playing abilities. Another scene I really liked was the date-from-hell at McDonalds in which Vinny played my inner monologue.
My monologue was about cats but it turned into a monologue about my spotty knowledge of Felix Domesticus. I really thought Marsupilami was a cat because of his coloration. Turns out he’s a, uh, marsupial. He looks more like a cat than a kangaroo, I’ll tell you that much.
This monologue resulted in a great Haroldesque (see pt. 4 above) GI-Joe scene, where Shipwreck, Lady Jaye and Sergeant Slaughter brainstormed on how best to infiltrate Cobra’s lair. It turned into a game of bad advice, worse advice, worst advice. It ended with a boisterous “Yo Joe!” as all agreed to rip Cobra’s eyes out and feed them to their children.
We also did a disjointed scene about a guy who kept lots of strange animals in his apartment and fed his guests wispy cat shit disguised as chocolate. We can’t always be high-brow.
Marc and I did a Hesitations game about a speech writer and a politician. This is the game where one player completes the other’s sentences and vice versa; it really keeps you out of your head because the scene can change on a dime. I think it was technically well executed, but it didn’t close in a very interesting way.
We ended on a scene which was done almost entirely in French. Vinny kicked it off, perhaps as a trial balloon for a concept we have of doing some kind of bilingual improv show with French improvisers. I felt our English audience was feelin’ it, but what if we weren’t playing incredibly bad stereotypes…?
In conclusion, I’d say we hit the 4 points we were working on, and it led to a better result.
We’ll be back at the Nest on January 12.