All this week we have exclusive interviews with just some of the acts that are performing at the Hoopla Impro Marathon in London Bridge between 7pm Friday – 11pm Saturday night. I caught up with Sam from improv troupe Other People’s Children to find out all about their set.
Other People’s Children
NAME OF SET: Four Wise Monkeys
TIME SLOT: 11:55pm Friday Night
Hello Sam ! Tell us about Other People’s Children and the name of your set!
Other People’s Children are a group comprising myself, Lance Fuller, Riley Madincea and Aspen Reiss. We bring a whole wealth of experience in improv, both on the London scene and from the US and Scotland. The show we are doing at the Hoopla Marathon is called “Four Wise Monkeys”.
How did you come up with the name of your show?
“Other People’s Children” comes from the name of an education book on my living room bookcase – my girlfriend is a primary school teacher and it seemed like a good team name. The “Four Wise Monkeys” show name comes from the concept of the Three Wise Monkeys – see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil, but there are four of us in the team so we had to shake things up a little bit.
Tell us a little bit about your style of improv?
What I love about this team is we bring a whole mix of different styles and throw them together to see what sticks. We do longform, usually loosely narrative (I have a very solid background in genre narrative), but we all approach it from a different angle; some of us are grounded and slow burn, some quick and game-y, we will transition from a real emotional scene to absolute nonsense and it’s a blast.
What will your set be about?
We will be doing a ten minute monoscene where one of us is blindfolded, one with noise cancelling headphones on, one gagged and one with our arms taped to our sides. Which of us gets which is drawn from a hat by the audience, and honestly I don’t know which one is the shortest straw.
What other acts are you looking forward to?
I’m a big fan of Do Not Adjust Your Stage and Dreamweaver Quartet, and Phil Lunn’s solo sets are always a treat. I’m also going to watch and get involved with as much late night weird stuff as possible!
What have been some of your favourite shows to date and why?
That’s like asking me to pick a favourite child! I love any show where I get to play a big, silly character, and we did a show a few months ago where I played Poseidon, God of the Sea. The whole show was crazy, the US was being reclaimed by the ocean and everything was governed by maritime law. We had conspiracy theories and sovereign citizens, underwater court cases and so much more. I also enjoyed one of our most recent sets in which Lance and Riley had to play all 17 of my brothers and sisters – watching them squirm is always a treat!
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?
I think it is possible, but tough to do well. Improv thrives on the electric energy of a live audience, and I think that is very easily lost when transitioning to video or even audio recordings. Those recorded in front of a live audience tend to do better, but that’s not to say it’s the only way to do it. In the age of Facebook viral videos, Patreon and the like it’s becoming more and more key to have tangible online presence to gain an audience so if you can do it well I think it’s a great move!
What have been some of the most unique and different improv sets you have seen this year and why?
I saw a fantastic twoprov set from Awkwardly Quiet, Lizzy Mace and Andreas Sodermark, which balanced emotional realism with humour so beautifully it was like watching a masterclass. They did a full five minute scene which built tension between a father and daughter including one-sided phonecalls to an off-stage mother character, all without playing for laughs once, which meant when they finished on a big punchline it had so much impact I was doubled over laughing. I also saw the Diehards do a set where they were talking about skinning puppies and an actual dog walked on stage at the perfect moment which brought the house down.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
Other People’s Children – Improv on Facebook, and @otherchilds on Twitter
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
It’ll get WEIRD.