With the Milwaukee Comedy Festival starting this week, we thought what better way to welcome it then by interviewing some of the top talent that is performing at the festival! Today we talk to an Improv troupe who was part of our Choice of acts to see whilst at the festival. We sat down with Last Action Movie to talk all things improv!
When: 5th August
Where: Underground Collective
Price: $15 online
Hello Lastion Action Movie! Tell us a little bit about yourselves!
Last Action Movie is an improvisational troupe from Minneapolis, MN. We specialize in genre based narrative. We create an improvised action movie, with performances ranging from 20-90 minutes in length. We have several forms we have been performing, Boon (Coen brothers film); 007 (improvised Bond); Heist (improvised heist); TARDIS (improvised Dr. Who); and the QUEST (promenade style improvised Hero’s Journey). Stage Combat, chase sequences, and archetypes are only part of the tools we use. For over 6 years we have been training in Minneapolis and performing in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Fargo, Atlanta, and Toronto.
How did you all get into improv comedy?
We all personally got into improvisation differently, but we have been trained by ComedySportz, HUGE theatre, Second City, Brave New Workshop, and other various training here and there.
How did you come up with the name Last Action Movie?
We all came out of a class at Brave New Workshop, focused on using stage combat in an improvised format. One of our early members came up with Last Action Movie, and it just stuck with all of us. We feel our name is a promise we give the audience as to what the expectation is when you arrive to one of our shows.
Tell us about the show that you are bringing to the Milwaukee Comedy Festival?
We have performed at Milwaukee Comedy Festival before, where we performed our original form. This time around we are performing our newest form that we debuted at a previous festival and has become a favorite amongst the cast and audiences. We will be performing, The Heist. We are a crew of criminals stealing a precious artifact, from which we receive from the audience. This form is especially fun, because we play with time, allowing us to have a non-linear narrative. As in all our other forms, we use underscoring to help bring the audience into the story we are telling.
What are your favourite things about performing to an audience and why?
We love telling stories. Being able to create something on the stage that not only makes audiences laugh, but also gasp and react emotionally.
What have been highlights of any shows you have performed previously?
We had the opportunity to perform for a Dr Who convention.
What other improv groups do you find inspiring and why?
We have had many performers in our cast so inspiration comes from a variety of places. But universally, UCB; Second City; Tj and Dave; Whose line is it anyway. We find these groups inspiring because they’ve given us different viewpoints to bring into our world of play. These specific places not only inspire us, but also have an impact worldwide.
Who else are you looking forward to seeing at Milwaukee Comedy Festival and Why?
We love performing at the Milwaukee comedy festival, because of the variety of that are available. Honestly, we will see as many of the acts as we can. We are excited to be part of it, and always try and support every show available. We look forward to seeing performers we haven’t seen.
You hold workshops on different areas of improvisation – tell us a little bit about what you teach and why?
We do run several; we teach one called Death In Improv(taught by Blake Wanger), which teaches improvisers and performers to use death (their own and others) as a tool rather than a hinderance. Another workshop we teach is Background Characters (taught by Michael Krefting) which shows performers how to create a full world in each scene. If you are not the lead character in that scene, how can you add to the scene, and how your role in the background is just as important.
The other two workshops, Scene Painting and The Ritual (taught by Matthew Kelly) teach a technique that we employ (scene painting) as a way to edit scenes and give your team a full picture as well as the audience. The Ritual teaches teamwork with physicality to create creatures and worlds to play in. Every workshop we teach is a tool we use in our performances.
What is the improv scene like in Minneapolis? How could people get into it if they wanted to give improv a try?
The scene in Minneapolis is bigger than most people expect, we don’t have many theaters dedicated to just improv, but performers and troupes number high. You can find improv shows all over town. If you are new to the area, for training I would recommend HUGE theatre. Brave New Workshop still carries classes but with a different focus than long form. We also have ComedySportz where training is also available. Beyond these places with education programs, there are individual workshops happening all the time. There are several online forums dedicated to comedy and improv in Minneapolis.
And Finally, in three words why should people come and see you at the Milwaukee Comedy Festival?
“Unpredictable. Unstoppable. Unscripted.”
* * To find out more about Last Action Movie check out Facebook, visit the website, www.lastactionmovie.com and on Twitter @LastActionMovie. *