Improv Diaries – Improv In Socks [Case Study – Shaun The Sheep and Timmy Time]

Music Improv Lesson

This week was a really fun lesson and definitely one of my favourites on this course so far! This weeks room was an odd one as it was a dance room which meant that we had to take our shoes off and do improv in socks – one of the most random experiences yet – it was fine but at the same time the whole night had a smelly hint of feet about it (and luckily I didn’t wear odd socks this week!!)

This week was all about using the animal to bring melody to a song and verse but more about that later. We warmed up with the Eastenders version of the Zip Zap Zop game which was fun as I haven’t played it for ages! Once we had done a few rounds of this we then went onto making our ones up to do with anything so that was fun.

This lesson was all about letting the melody lead the song instead of the lyrics lead it. Yes that sounds very complex but once you break it down it is a really interesting and fun concept. The easiest way for this to be explained was to make it a world of animals. So, we went up in pairs and was given an animal by the audience that we had to be and then we had to sing how they would sing. So for example – an elephant would talk slow and heavy and with its trunk, an owl would produce long notes to connote the hooting noise that they create etc. The animal Eric and I were given was the Turtle which was really fun – it meant a lot of slow movements and singing slow and creating slow moving characters.

After a few goes as the animal characters we then brought these skills and dynamics into a real scene scenario. The idea was to start a song with a saying that the audience pick up from the scene and repeat it in the style of a chorus so that both of you get used to the melody that you are creating with the words and then you sing in this style throughout. Carsten and I did a song about new sparkly towels that were in the shop that we worked in and it wasfun to perform and worked really well.

The final thing we did was by using the same concept we tried to do a song with four of us to see what the outcome would be. This time round however we were to focus on having a B section as well – this is when you do a few verses and choruses in the same format and then completely move away from it and do a different melody and type of verse before coming back to it at the end. This week was such a fun lesson and the smile really didn’t leave my face.

Punder rehearsal

This week in rehearsal it was about focussing on the show that we have in May and defining what games we are interested in doing for our big show in May. We spent the first hour of the practise going through the big show and defining what we wanted it to be.

We had a few games on the list that we haven’t played before so we decided to spend time focussing on them tonight as we are going to try a few of them at our set next week. We tried each of these games and some of them we decided to mould together to make into a game that had both features which seemed to work really well for some of the games that we decided to use it as the actual game.

Case Study: Shaun The Sheep and Timmy Time

This week there was only case study that came to mind and that was the animal stop animation characters by Aardman Animations. This week in Musical Improv lesson it was all about channeling your inner animal for learning melodies in singing. These two shows came instantly to mind because the only dialogue that they rely on is the animal noises of the characters and it is still a really entertaining show. By thinking of these characters and both the sounds and the movements that are created in stop animation, it made me think more about each of the animals people were given.

Stop animation and children’s shows in general are actually a good place to gather ideas for improv because it is all about the ideology of play. Improv is all about creativity and playing around and that is why children’s television is really good to watch as it is obviously basic and simplistic and aimed at teaching children whilst also having simple fun.

Shaun the Sheep and Timmy Time are fantastic television shows especially when relating to all improv because they have such imagination and creativity in them that they really show that, just like improv, anything is possible. They create really interesting storylines that are summed up in ten minutes with a lot of fun and laughs along the way. That is sort of what Improv aims to do as well – create a fun and unique audience experience in ten minutes.

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