This week was another week of practising for the show we have in April and this week was a great week and we seemed to acomplish quite a lot which is really rewarding. The one thing that I find fascinating about these practises that you would think after the many we have had since January and the short form lessons last year we would be always focussing on the same ideas and things but no – every week someone fascinates me with what they bring to the group. Each week a new idea is developed and a new spin on a game is produced and it’s so fun to see us develop as a group and as a troupe and whilst we have not performed our first show yet it is a promising look that hopefully it will go well.
This week we focussed on the games that we wanted to play for the show and from now until April the aim was to get them in a state where we felt confident to perform them, Again the emphasis needed to be on the character and really make sure that they are distinctive and unique. To warm up we used a game that has now become one of my firm favourites for getting into the swing of things and was introduced to us by our american troupe member. The game was based on rapping and you had to say two lines of rap and then the person after you would have to do one as well all based around a name and the same rhyming beat – similar to the Do Ron Ron game that the Suggestibles played on stage at all their shows.
We then focussed on games that we have planned to do in the set – these include games such as the ones I spoke about last week so I wont go over us playin group Alphabet etc again this week. However I will tellyou about another development we made tonight. The last few weeks we have been playing the accent game in many different forms to see which ones could and could not work in front of an audience and try and give them a different spin or a new fun way of playing it. Whilst they may not be new games to the world of Improv, they are new to us in the way that we are exploring ideas and conjuyring them up to fit into a gap in which we thought it could work in. This week we started playing a game where you don’t just change your accent when the person tells you or bell chimes but you chance your actions too and it worked really well and was fun to play.
Case Study – Rachel Bloom
This weeks case Study I felt should reflect on what new things we did this week whilst also embracing what it means to me as a person. Rachel Bloom I only came across recently from watching the television show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and whilst it’s on of the most bizarre and also notable shows on television at the moment it is in some ways relatable and inspiring as to what we did this week.
One thing we have learnt as a troupe is that we love to rhyme and one thing that you can take from the songs in CEG is the songs. A lot of the music in the show is very random and makes you laugh as they are songs that you wouldn’t normally thing to see or hear being performed but however they are in keeping with the show. The lyrics are inspiring to rhyming improv though because of the rhyming that is used and created through the songs.
The show is co created by Rachel Bloom and her style is unique and different – songs rhyme in a way that we are all familiar with but are shocked and amused when certain words are rhymed in a song. That’s what I love about musical and rhyming improv – the rhyming patterns and the expectations vs the reality from the Audience.
Sometimes the audience is expecting a rude word to finish or end a sentence of a rhyme however if you deliberately u turn a rhythm and change it you are using the music technique to change the direction but also create the humour.
Take the song “Tapped that” from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend as a focus point for an example. The whole song is in the lead character Rebecca’s, head about two guys she dated and throughout the song it deliberately turns the lyrics on its head to direct the audience on a different way as to what is expected whilst also creating the rude undertones as well.
From practising rhyming improv this is becoming a skill that we are trying to use as it’s strongly effective and really is great. Rachel Bloom is a fantastic case Study for improv because she had appeared on shows such as Whose Line Is it Anyway performing music based improv and her husband is part of a comedy improv troupe. So whilst you may not be a fan of her show, take some time to check out the skills of this comedic genius. (Also a few improv players end up appearing as characters on her show – one of the examples being Paul Welsh from the Upright Citizens Brigade)