This month the Amsterdam Improv Marathon is being held on the 19th May and will run for 12 hours showcasing a whopping 40 acts that will perform improv in either English or Dutch! The event is held across two stages the ‘YES Stage’ which runs between the times 12-midnight with Six different blocks of shows and the ‘AND Stage’ which is open 2-22 and has 4 different blocks of shows. Over the next few weeks we will be interviewing some of the acts from the marathon to show you just some of the improv acts that are on offer.
We sat down with Groningen based Improv troupe Stranger Things Have Happened to find out more about the set that they are bringing to the Marathon.
STAGE: The ‘YES’ Stage
TIME SLOT: 20:00 – 22:00
Hello Stranger Things Have Happened! Tell us about your improv troupe!
Stranger Things Have Happened was founded in 2009 as a group of local student theatre actors wanted to expand into doing improv comedy. Since then we’ve grown to playing nearly a hundred comedy shows a year, ranging from small clubs to big theatres, both nationally and internationally.
How did you come up with the name of you troupe?
One of our founding members came up with the name. The idea being that no matter how crazy things get on stage, real life has surely beat you to the punch.
Tell us a little bit about your style of improv?
Our bread and butter is short-form – we’re often trying to find a balancing act between something a little crazy and something that somehow feels real, and it’s there we find most of our comedy. We’ve also recently been expanding our style with long form projects, including our recurring subgroup Grown Men (who are also playing the festival The ‘AND’ Stage, Block three).
What will your set be about?
It will feature our signature short-form style of improv comedy. What it’s about? That’ll be up to the audience.
What other acts are you looking forward to?
We have yet to familiarize ourselves with all the other acts that will be performing, but you can bet we’ll try to see as much of the marathon as possible. That being said, ‘Dangerous Play: Improvised Neil Simon’ looks pretty interesting!
Your from Groningen in The Netherlands – what is the improv scene like there?
The international scene mostly features Stranger Things as its sole regular improv group, although throughout the years we’ve had the pleasure of training and working with hundreds of new improvisers, who sometimes band together for projects as well.
Do you prefer doing improv in English or Dutch? What are the differences – is one harder than the other?
Stranger Things Have Happened only plays shows in English. With Groningen being the international student city that it is, it’s the best way for us to maximize our audience. English is just the language we’re all most comfortable with, especially in a group with members from different nationalities. Besides, Dutch people have amazing English for a country where it’s not the native language.
A lot of people at the moment are trying to transition improv into video to post on social media channels – do you think this works for improv or do you think the art form is lost in the transition?
We have a bunch of videos on our channel, and the answer is both. The exhilaration of watching things in the moment can never be translated, so you have to compensate. We shoot multicam and fully mic’d shows, so you can pick up on the smaller things – gestures, expressions, subtle dialogue delivery – that you’d miss when you’re further away from the stage. So you lose something, but you do get something in return.
What have been some of the most unique and different improv sets you have seen this year and why?
We went to Improv Festival Copenhagen this year and were particularly impressed with Vibesbilder. Those three ladies from Hamburg managed to spin what should be standard long form into something really unique, very characteristic. I’ve also never seen gender roles flipped that well on stage.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
Besides our website: www.strangerthings.nl, we’re active on
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
Oh, why not.