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 Ed to talk about the improv jam in the daytime that you can get involved in!
NAME OF SET: Yes Land Improv Jame
TIME SLOT: 3:45pm Saturday
Hello Ed ! Tell us about Yes Land!
Yes Land is an Improv Jam open to everyone where we combine fun short form games and two person scenes. Normally we have 45 minutes, but for the Marathon we have a quick-fire 30mins to get people on stage and having fun.
How did you come up with the name of your show?
I was sitting in the Miller and absent-mindedly looking at the words “Yes And” in lights, as they are at Hoopla. The Words are pretty close together, and the name just occurred to me. I also thought that I loved what the name implied. As if there was a landscape where Yes And were just imbued into reality, and I thought Hoopla would definitely be home to that. So I sent a message to Steve that it was the perfect name for a jam at Hoopla! Now Hoopla and I have hosting fortnightly Yes Land Jams for almost a year!
Tell us a little bit about your style of improv?
It very much depends on who is jamming, but I have noticed that the short form games definitely feed in to balanced, scenes. They’ll be pretty quick fire though. There’s a lot of shows on at the Marathon and we must keep to our time slot.
What will your set be about?
It’s be about having fun. That’s kind of our mantra. “No experience required. Maximum fun encouraged”
What other acts are you looking forward to?
Hoopla Teacher Liam Brennan is hosting an improvised Crystal Maze. I’m really not sure what it entails, but with that concept, and Liam hosting it, I’d bet good money it’s going to be really fun!
What have been some of your favourite shows you have been in the audience of to date and why?
Favourite shows ever?
TJ and Dave spring to mind as I saw them at the Soho theatre last year and was simply blown away at how carefully and simply they played and how enjoyable that became. I think that’s the reason that Steve had the idea of having Yes Land be half games and half scenes. The games are essentially exercises to drill good technique, and then applying this to open scenes can be very effective.
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 don’t think the art form is lost at all on camera! I first fell in love with improv on TV with Whose Line is it Anyway and then being a notable feature in a lot of American comedy films. However, I think it is dependent on a number of factors. Is your style presentational or representational, for instance? Presentational styles and formats naturally work because they acknowledge the façade, especially on social media. And I think representational improv works really well on screen, but not on social media, because it would be undermined by the lack of production value.
And I think it does lose something when the production value doesn’t do justice to the improv. If you can’t see it or hear it properly, how likely are the audience to appreciate it? It’s like when you find out a viral video is actually a branded stunt that has a huge lighting rig and radio mics in every collar. These “spontaneous” things have scripts and budgets to make sure they look good, and I don’t think improv presented on social media has yet found that way of being spontaneous, of high production value and high quality, compelling improv. Doesn’t mean it can’t be done, though.
What have been some of the most unique and different improv sets you have seen this year and why?
I loved Bark and B in Edinburgh, they really put on a unique and charming show. And Jack Left Town have really nailed their stage show, not just with the quality of the improv, but really selling the bells and whistles around it as well.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
@YesLandImprov on Facebook and Twitter!
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
Maximum fun encouraged!