This week I went to Improv on a completely different day however still got to be trained by Carleen at the other lessons that they put on in the week for the advanced improvisers. I thought I would go on a Wednesday this week because I just couldn’t face going to London at the beginning this week what with the awful scenes that happened at London Bridge and very nearly didn’t go to improv at all this week as wasn’t in the mood. However, Tuesday afternoon came around and i thought against it and felt that doing improv is a good thing to do this week so thought would try a different day and a different look at Improv at a different location that wasn’t London Bridge.
This week was all about getting rid of the straight man in a comedy scene and seeing what happens when everyone in a scene is out there and crazy. Usually the straight man is there to justify what is happening and going on and when there isn’t one it can get a little bit crazy.
We started with the game that I have been having to play a lot recently – stretch and share. This time we had to share a really crazy superstition or belief that we have to the rest of the group whilst stretching. From playing this game a lot recently I knew that whatever was said we were going to turn into a scene so I decided to use an idea i had as a kid because they really are the most bizarre. My first idea was about a superstition I have that I must take Contact lens solution with me wherever I go because I worry that my lens will play up the day I don’t have it (and it usually does).
The next part of the game was to create a number of scenes about the stories that we had just shared with the group. The main skill involved in this was to make sure that there was no straight man and everyone had to believe the crazy that was presented to them.
To get us into the swing of being the crazy and to make sure that we justify everything around us we then played the game “everyone get in here” where you pretend you are going to protest something together that is really silly and everyone has to have the enthusiasm and agree with whatever is being said. So for example the first time I played it back in October at a drop in there was a scene of this game where people had to come up with new ways of the bees protecting their honey.
After playing this game we then went back to scene work to finish off the lesson. After doing this game it felt a bit easier doing the scene work as you realised that to make a scene work you have to justify everything so that it doesn’t feel weird to the audience. So for example we did a scene where the middle of donuts were much better to buy then actual donuts because they tasted so much better. To the audience if we didn’t spend time justifying why they were better and what made them so appealing they would be confused and would not understand why we didn’t just have a normal donut in the first place.
Case Study – Seth Rogan
When we did this weeks lesson the first name that came in mind for a case study was Seth Rogan – why is that? Because you can guarantee if any film is going to have a sense of crazy along the way it is Seth Rogan.
A lot of the films that Seth has written or appeared in will have a moment of absolute craziness as he has such a unique sense of humour. His humour has no holds on it and he is not afraid to create films that are out of their way insane, unbelievable or crazy – which makes his films hilarious to the audience.
Films such as This Is the End are really on the richter scale of insane stories as it is about him and his friends facing the end of the world. The film is part scripted and part improvised so it really gives a comedy factor that is relevant to the world of improv and can be liked at as a case study for improvising in crazy situations.
Some of the craziest moments of Seth Rogan comes when he is partnered up with his lifelong friend James Franco. If there are scenes that are going to be really crazy you can guarantee that both of these guys are going to be behind it.
This sort of comedy is very unique and not for everyone but this is why it is a great case study for Improv. Sometimes you will find yourself in a situation which is completely crazy and damn right bizarre and instead of just playing the predictable straight man, jump into the deep end and try and justify the reason for the crazy instead.