The Improv Diaries – part 28 – Daniel Simonsen

This week was the last lesson of improv for June and was in great improv tradition, a session dedicated completely to games.I love the lessons that are all games as its fun, makes you bond more with fellow improvisers and also helps you develop your skills and get you ready to perform in front of an audience.

This week we focussed on the games that are the classics that we tend to play a lot at Rat Race and also at Improv Club so it was good fun and a really relaxed environment. The first game that we played was DIE – now as I have mentioned so many times on this blog, i love this game as it is so fun to play. I haven’t played it since my last Rat Race in April so I was very excited to play it. I love it as it is such a creative on the spot game and you have to come up with story ideas without planning ahead.

The next game that we focussed on was Chain Murder where you have to pass down a location, occupation and murder weapon down the line using only gibberish to explain what each of these things are. We first did some focus exercises on this where we were put into pairs and Ian wold give us an occupation and then the other person would have to guess what it was. This was helpful as I am not a fan of this game – i don’t know why, i am just not. i hate playing it I hate watching it and I really do not know why i detest it so much as from yesterdays games I realised I am good at creating the motions for people to guess the list of things but i just really do not like it and it is one of my least favourite improv games to play.

The next set of games was mini rounds of other improv games that we play on stage one of them being one of my favorites, the Alphabet Game. I love this game and it is one that I feel extremely confident in doing. What I have learnt from playing it so many times that even if you know what the letter is you need to be using to make a conversation you don’t let the audience know straight away. If there is a moment where the narrative needs emotion you play to it and you deliberately put pauses in to it at certain times as the audience thinks you are struggling with the letter and to build up the atmosphere in the scene. This timing is essential into making the scene and can give you time to play on the fact that you haven’t said anything by adding expressions too. There is a comedian that does this fantastically and he had become a comedian I really like I remember when I first saw him at a ComComedy gig in London he instantly stuck in my mind because of his perfect comedic timing went so well with his persona and it is so obvious why he shines as a performer and has won awards.

Case Study – Daniel Simonsen

Daniel is a Norwegian comedian who has performed at the Fringe since 2009 and has even won the 2012 Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Newcomer. When I first saw Daniel perform at a ComComedy event at The Queen of Hoxton, i was automatically reeled in to his performance because of the way he approaches stand up – it is slowed down with gaps in between and this creates fantastic comedy and perfect comedic timing.

The one thing that I love about Daniel is that his Norwegian accent really does emphasize some of the points he is trying to make especially when he starts to make his voice higher or lower or different to create the joke punchline. I feel that Simonsen is a great case study for improv because he really knows how to work an audience into his hands with the way that he presents himself and really works on the gaps to create an ambiance and an atmosphere for the audience.

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