This week was started off by having a reunion with some of my fellow improv chums up in the North East. I went back up to Newcastle to have a good ole catch up and to see some familiar faces. It was so great to reconnect with some of the gang and was really interesting to hear some of their stories about what they are learning. It was great to hear about what they are doing in Long Form as they are being trained in a different way to a lot of groups in the South and it sounded really good fun. Another thing that was great was having a catch up with Spontaneous Wrecks members as they are also a short form improv group and it was fun to hear about their stories of their shows and cross sharing games and fun things.
The next improv adventure this week took me to the Comedy Store in London. Last
minute I was asked to go in to do an overnight shift at work and had some time to spare before I went on shift when I came back from Newcastle, so I decided to do something I have been meaning to do for absolute years – I went to the Comedy Store. It was the most craziest feeling walking through it’s doors and knowing that comedy legend such as Rik Mayall had once walked on these floorboards. It is an incredible feeling and i was feeling amazed the whole time I was there. I managed to nab a seat right at the front of the stage which was great because I was there to see improv greats such as Josie Lawrence, Paul Merton and Lee Simpson do their thing but more about them later as they are this weeks case study.
This week in rehearsal, it was all about getting ready for this weeks show – Michael was hosting and we decided to try out lots of new games. We have come up with a few games we want to do and this week we were all about trying to amp up characters so that we start doing it more in shows. We have decided to try out a new game that we have invented whilst also bringing in an old game that we have played before – Pan Left. We are still in two minds whether we should have two or three games for 10 minute sets and we will more then likely decide on the day. It was a really fun rehearsal this week and it felt like everyone brought the A Game.
Case Study – Comedy Store Players
When I went to the Comedy Store on Sunday last week, I felt that I learnt so much from all of them about character and really getting the most out of your stage time. It was so great to see Lee Simpson again and even though I really enjoyed watching him at Suki Websters Guest Speaker i felt that he amped up the comedy even more in the bigger venue. I spent a lot of the show watching the way that he approached a character and how he opens a scene and interacts within a scene. The way that Lee interacts with a short form scene really makes me want to think about how I do and I found myself constantly thinking about the Players at this weeks rehearsal
It was amazing seeing Josie Lawrence again as she is one of those people that is just absolutely fascinating to watch. I love the way she approaches genre rollercoaster’s and even on genres where songs aren’t needed she will bring it in and it’s just great. Her approach to character is also something that is a huge learning curve as she uses all of her body to create a physicality of a creation. Her voice also plays a huge part – she will project it and use her physicality to change the style of her voice.
Another player that plays differently to the rest is the talented Paul Merton, he approaches a scene in a completely unique way to the others. The thing that was great about his scenes was that he made sure that the justifications made sense and if they didn’t he would make that part of the scene into a whole area of comedy in itself.
I learnt something new from each and everyone of the Comedy Store Players and I don’t think I stopped smiling all night. They were something I look up to and aspire to be. In a world where long form popularity is taking over, it is so nice and refreshing to see people that do short form with pride and do it so so well.