The Next Step – part 7 – Miranda Hart and James Dreyfus

This week was the second week of the Advanced Short Form course and this week was another week full of lots and fun and games (and coldness but that was the room that was nothing to do with the group!).

We started off the evening with a name game warm up, the same one as we did last week and then we did one called Rabbit Rabbit Tooky Tooky (probably spelling that wrong so sorry if i have ) This game someone starts off saying Rabbit Rabbit whilst making a hand movement towards themselves and then away from them and when that happens they forward it onto someone else and then it passes round the circles and whilst this happen the people either side of the rabbit person ump left to right saying Tooky Tooky and then the rest of the group make a drum beat saying something like tonga tonga.

Once we were nice and warmed up we then went on to focus on this weeks games which were all about story and who what where. We started by doing a similar short form game that we did in Carleens lesson a few weeks ago where we split the group in two and faced each others then do a three line scene of who what and where we are.

Once we did a few goes of this we then went onto a game that I haven’t had a chance to play a lot in improv and was fun to have a proper go this week, New Choice. This is a game where you play a scene and someone with a bell will keep asking you to redo a certain line or action in a different way or say a different thing. This game creates a lot of energy and laughter to the audience. The first time we did it, we played it in groups of three which like all three person scenes one person always looked like they were getting less of a turn then the others. We then did a round of doing it with two people and some of the scenes were really funny to watch.

The scene that I was in was about a teddy bear shop and helping out a customer which lead to the customer asking for my number and then one of my new choices was to make up new numbers on the spot. I am not sure if its because i work in a creative job but I find new Choice really easy to make up new things very easily and don’t always find it that much of a challenge but it makes the audience laugh so thats a great thing.

The last thing of the night is a game i only played for the first time in my apartment back in Newcastle in my last week when I had a group of fellow improvisers in my living room practicing. The game requires scripts of a play and then one person in the scenes lines can only be lines from the book. This creates a challenge for the other improviser and humor to the audience because sometimes the conversation can go really really well and create so much humor and sometimes it can go really really bad and make no sense.

When I played the scene i got chosen to read lines from the play and randomly opened the book on a page that started with a really hilarious sexual innuendo which instantly created laughs but ironically went with the scene suggestion. The theme of the scene was that Kevin had to get a sword from me so it ended up sounding like a scene of dirty innuendos about the sword but created some really high laughs from the audience which was great to hear .Also because of some of the lines that I had to read in the scene I couldn’t help but break character and laugh at what was being said / what i had to read.

Case Study – Miranda Hart


The first case study of this week is Miranda Hart and the reason is because this week i felt i was channeling her a little bit in my performances. In the second New Choice game that I did about the Teddy Bears the scene ended with the other improviser pretending to propose to me and Stephan who was in charge of the bell kept saying new choice to make me change my expression so the third time i decided to go all out and just pass out. For some reason i was thinking of the Television show Miranda at the time and just thought ‘do what Miranda would do’ and thats what i did and i made it a big faint so much so that i got carpet burn when i hit the floor.

Another part of the night where we did the lines from a play game, i felt like i was having a Miranda moment as well. It is a common structure of the Miranda television show that she finds rude words about ‘sssssheexxx’ (a miranda quote there watch the show to understand it more) hard to say or hilarious. Reading some of the lines I got in the play i ended up finding so hilarious that i laughed before i said the first one which i think created a big laugh to the audience when they heard it and broke down laughing before saying a line that didn’t even have a sexual reference but could be an innuendo. i try very hard not to break character when i do improv but this made me laugh so much i broke down in fits of laughter.

If you look at Miranda from a technical view, she is a good case study to look at for improv. Her style of comedy is basic silliness and sometimes so silly that you wouldn’t even think of it originally (fruit friends). This is sort of the fun with improv you never know what is going to happen and sometimes it can be really silly. New choice is a great game for this because you can’t guard what you are saying you just have to wait and see what comes out of your mouth. Miranda also challenges the style of women in comedy and again a great inspiration for improv and that you shouldn’t be afiras to be outrageous.

Case Study 2 – James Dreyfus 


Our second case study is James Dreyfus as this week I felt he sort of went hand in hand with the way people were performing in class. James was very well known in the nineties and noughties for comedies such as The Thin Blue Line, Gimme Gimme Gimme and My Hero.

there were many times some people were performing a scene and I was thinking that reminds me very much of Dreyfus. His style of comedy is funny, silly, dramatic and expressive with the whole body and that’s what some people in class were doing.

if you look at the character that James plays in these sitcoms they are very jazzy and what I mean by that is a lot of the time he isn’t standing still he is constantly expressive with his emotions physically.

a few people were being like this in their scenes and it really really works in improv it creates another level of comedy and also makes the audience automatically adore that improviser, just like james characters do.

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