This week was the 6th week of musical improv and only have two left which is sad! Today we started with Warm ups such as 8 things and then we went onto the song Do Ron Ron which I always love playing as it always brings a bit of nostalgia about Newcastle back.
Today was all about focusing on scene work – this was just playing normal scenes and then a some point they lead into a musical number. We did this a quite a few times to get used to it. Someone in the audience would stop the scene when they heard something that sounded like a song title.
The first one I was in ended up being about a dinosaur having to become vegetarian because of the pterodactyls were going extinct and then Zennith and I sung a song about hating vegetarians and wanting to only eat meat. The next scene i did which I think was a better scene was with Helen when we were on a Geography degree trip to the Lake District. We had to sing a song about loving geography and the outdoors.
Carsten made a good point at one point in the lesson that when you were given suggestions it was easier to create a song when it wasn’t a crazy scenario. So for example, the vegetarian dinosaur scene i didn’t feel I could associate with that well as it was a very creative suggestion (or as Carleen from C3? would describe it as the “crazy” ) meaning that bringing truth and having a fluid song out of it was pretty difficult. I only thought of pterodactyls feet as part of the scene a song because two things came to mind when I thought of dinosaurs, improv troupe Spontaneous Wrecks and their logo and an interview Tom hiddleston did that I came across recently where he started walking around the stage as a pterodactyl.
I found the geography trip a lot easier to do as I can associate with it and bring truth to the scene and my opinion of loving rocks and earthquakes because you get to use the Richter scale is a very high exaggeration of a real life scenario ( more about that in a minute).
The last part of the lesson was focussed on creating opening songs for the audience. This was again very fun to do and learn as there is fun tactics to make it look striking to the audience. You get given a location and then everyone comes on stage and acts like they are part of that location – painting a scene. Someone will come out of character and start singing a verse and then once they finished will start acting like they are part of the scene. The next person will make up a chorus with some sort of movement they will sing this once and then all of the “cast” will then come out of character and sing the chorus and do the same actions. Once the chorus is over, everyone goes back into acting like they are part of the scene and then the next verse happens etc. It worked really well and was fun to do. Another fun week of all things musical!
Case study 1 – Daniel Newland
The first case study is Daniel Newland. No, he is not a fellow improviser or a comedian, instead he is one of my good friends I have known since I was 12. We are still really good friends and we keep in contact on a regular basis and also meet up from time to time as a trio with our other good friend from school Phil, but since we all live hundreds of miles away from each other in different directions we tend to talk regularly through social media channels.
Anyway, back in college we both did Geography as A Level and had to go on a field trip to the Yorkshire Dales to measure the depths of rivers and walk around on a lot of rocks in a place called Malham Tarn. I didn’t really enjoy the trip but I remember Daniel did and I tried to channel his enthusiasm in the musical number we did called Geography is Amazing which had a chorus about “Rocks Rocks lots of Rocks”.
Sometimes non improv friends can create inspiration for a character that you play in scenes and that was definitely one of those examples.
Case Study 2 Music box
Last week I did tech for a show at The Miller and got to watch the musical Improv Troupe, Music Box. They were fantastic and I learnt a lot from them. I watched them very closely as to how they set up scenes and how they get to the musical numbers.
They were great, I enjoyed watching how they heightened a scene with emotions to get to the musical number and when they did get to the musical part of a scene the improvisers who were not the main singers still made a backing chorus. I hope to see them again as I feel there is so much to learn from them as a group. I felt from watching them last week and then going into a musical improv lesson really did make a huge difference and made me look at a scene differently to how i probably did before.