Bryn Salisbury and Stuart Moses have combined their love of improv and Doctor Who to form twoprov group Doctor Twoprov. They recently made their debut as a two-piece at Hoopla’s Launch Pad night at The Miller. Bryn is also a member of Martian Love Affair and The Pothole People, while Stuart is presenter of the Improv London podcast.
Tell us about why you are called “Doctor Twoprov” and how did you form?
Bryn -We’re both fans of Doctor Who. We’d talked about doing something together after we completed Hoopla’s Improvised Musical course. We’d originally considered SIDRAT Stories as a name, as well as ‘Totally Actually Really Definitely Improvised Scenes’, before Katy Schutte suggested ‘Doctor Twoprov’ as a name.
Stuart – I was always rather fond of the name SIDRAT Stories, as ‘TARDIS Tales’ seemed too obvious, but Bryn persuaded me that that our audience would be a bit limited if our name referred to the ‘Space and Inter-time Dimensional Robot All-purpose Transporters’ last seen in Patrick Troughton-era Doctor Who story The War Games, broadcast in 1969. P.S. Yes, I am single. I can’t imagine why.
How long have you been together?
Bryn- It’s all a bit wibbly wobbly timey wimey, and depends on whether you have a linear view of time. We performed for the first time on 7th December 2016, but it’s been in the works for a few months.
Stuart – Time what? Time Wimey? I’ve no idea where he picks that stuff up.
What style of improv do you do and tell us about your show
Bryn – We play two guards on the night shift at the Matrix of the Timelords on Gallifrey. Since it’s late, and we’re bored, we look up the adventures of Gallifrey’s hero (and technically Lord President)… The Doctor. The ‘episodes’ we watch are taken from audience suggestions, and we tune in to see scenes from those episodes.
Stuart – It was Edmund Fargher of Giggle Loop fame who pointed out we’re essentially playing the short-form game ‘Scenes From A Hat’ but it’s wrapped up in a long-form format.
What are some of the best things about performing improv live and why
Bryn – I’ve spent far too much of my life stuck in my own head, getting in my own way. So for me, it’s really fun to be able to do something in the moment. To be able to take a suggestion and trust that between us, we can create something. I also enjoy the licence for big honest emotional reactions to things.
Stuart – It’s about working with other people to create a shared world. The audience is an essential part of this creation process, they provide energy – and tell you what they like. It’s then your job to give them what they need.
What do you have in store for 2017?
Bryn- I think more of this. We’ve got something we have great fun doing, so we’d like to keep doing it.
Stuart- Yes, I’d like to do more shows. Eventually I’d like to extend the ‘mythology’ of show, but that’s something for the future.
“Time Wimey? I’ve no idea where he picks that stuff up.” – stuart
Why do you think the improv scene has got bigger in recent years?
Bryn – Hard to say really, I only really got into it in the last year and a bit. Greater awareness of it as a form contributed, not to mention Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s books talked extensively about their experiences.
Stuart – I’ve seen actual real people reading Bossypants and Yes Please, which have built on the success of 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation.
“I’ve spent far too much of my life stuck in my own head, getting in my own way. So for me, it’s really fun to be able to do something in the moment. ” – Bryn
Who are your comedy influences and why
Bryn- I don’t really know how I’d describe my style for comedy to be able to pin a specific influence. I’ve followed and listened to a pretty wide range of comedians and comic acts. Anything from Abbott and Costello to Ross Noble. Paul F Tompkins was one of the ones that clued me into improvisation as a format, and I got to shake his hand this year when he came over to record “Comedy Bang! Bang! Live” in London this year. I started listening to Radio 4 comedies when I was quite young (stuff like “I’m sorry I’ll read that again” and “I’m sorry I haven’t a clue”), which started me into that world, and it went on from there into the usual suspects (Python etc…).
Stuart – Until now I hadn’t realised how much Bryn like Radio 4 comedies with apologies in the title. My influences are Sarah Millican – for her work ethic and Millican’s Law, Stewart Lee and Richard Herring (both together and apart), Chris Lackey and Chad Fifer (of ‘The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast’) and Pete The Retailer and Alex Robinson (of the ‘Star Wars Minute’ podcast) for the shared worlds they create, to which the audience is invited.
For anyone who wants to get into learning improv this year what do you suggest they do?
Bryn- What worked for me was starting with a beginners class, then throwing myself into it – getting stuck into jam nights and any chance to get stage time. The hardest thing for me to wrap my head around was that it’s okay to fail – it still sucks, but it’s okay. I’m still learning to hang on to what’s important from failure (the “why”, rather than any shame/embarrassment). The other thing is remembering it’s not a competition – your scene partner is your friend, and by making them look good, you both look good.
Stuart – Hoopla is the place to go. You need to be loved and cherished at the beginning, and that’s what you’ll get at Hoopla. It’s also a great chance to meet people, with whom you may wish to perform in the future. And you don’t have to do jams if you don’t want to. Get as much stage time as you can, but it makes sense to me to get it with people you know and trust. And don’t limit yourself to improv, I teach adults web design and I consider that as contributing to the 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” needed to become world-class in any field.
Bryn – The group can be found on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/doctortwoprov/. You can find my ramblings on twitter – @bryns.
Stuart – You can listen to the Improv London podcast here www.soundcloud.com/improvlondon, or visit www.facebook.com/improvlondon, or follow @improvlondon on Twitter.