Show Of the Week – INTERVIEW – Yes Land, Hoopla Impro, London

Are you in the mood to do some improv this week but not part of an improv troupe? Or you are part of a group that does predominantly Long Form and you want to mix it up and do some short form? Well fortnightly at Hoopla Impro, you can! This week we talk to the man behind the show Ed, to find out all about Yes Land.

Hello Ed tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Ed Fargher, you can see me improvising in The Ed & Bryn Festival with Bryn Salisbury, Dudes with Julia Eckhoff and I run Yes Land – The Improv Jam in association with Hoopla Impro.

Tell us a little bit about the show that is happening this week, Yes Land?

Yes Land is an improv jam that happens on fortnightly Wednesday’s at The Miller. It’s a 45 minute show that is divided neatly between 20 or so minutes of short form games and roughly 20 minutes of two-person scenes. So volunteers sign up and get the chance to perform some short form games and then let that warm them up for some open one-on-one scenes.

How do people get involved with the show if they are interested?

If people are interested, whether they have experience in improv or not, jammers can sign up before the show, and then I call their name for some scenes and games. That’s it! The Jam starts at 7pm, and jammers can sign up from 6:45pm. Anyone can play.

With the Festival season just finished – what have been some of the best acts you have seen this summer and why?

oh man, I saw improv groups that come to Edinburgh every year (Showstopper, Austentatious, Baby Wants Candy) and came away from their shows saying “they really are the best”, but the show that really stood out to me was Bark & B! It was their first year at the Edinburgh Fringe, and they just smashed it. Their show was so heartfelt, so charming, and funny as hell. I was talking about it all Festival. That at Charlie V Martin’s 24/7 Club. That was great. #flyplanes!

What advice would you give for people thinking about starting an improv troupe?

Be professional, but be playful! I think professionalism can sound like a bit of a buzzkill because it sounds like we have to behave like we are in the office. However, all professionalism asks for is respect for the other person, whoever they are. You respect their time enough to make sure you’re not late and you’re not keeping them waiting, you respect their feelings enough to be nice and not behave like an ass-hat, you respect their boundaries and make sure they are comfortable, and you respect their opinion and listen to each other. Doesn’t professionalism sound like a decent friendship, when you think about it that way?

That being said, policing yourself the whole time is a good way to drain the fun, so make sure you are doing things that are fun to you. Even if that just means your warm up involves climbing on that climbing frame outside the Miller and whooping like a gibbon! Enjoy who you are on stage with and have playful fun. I sometimes go on stage with the intention of causing my scene partner to laugh in the scene. That means we are both having fun and it puts my brain in a position to be of greatest service to my scene partner.

What is the best thing about a night at Yes Land for the audience?

I think the best thing about Yes Land for the audience is that they can feel part of the fun whether they are on stage or not. We regularly have first-time improvisers performing, so we try and create as warm and friendly safe-space as we can, whilst still providing production value. Julia Eckhoff is our Tech Improviser that helps paint the scene and underscore sometimes, so the jammers also get a chance to be part of a show with all the bells and whistles without necessarily being part of a group or even being committed to this whole improv thing, and that includes just sitting in the audience and thinking “well, I *could* join in. This is fun”. We try and make it low stakes and high fun so that they feel safe enough to do that.

If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?

@YesLandImprov on Facebook and Twitter. And also, if any newcomers have questions, they can reach us at mail@yeslandimprov.com

What is YOUR favourite Yes Land show you have done this year and why?

At the risk of sounding cheesy, my favourite Yes Land Show is always the next one, because there’s always something new, always someONE new *and* I’m always looking forward to seeing the increasing number of regulars and seeing them develop as they come back again and again! It’s a joyful show to do and I’m so grateful that Hoopla are so supportive of us!

And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?

Welcoming, goofy playtime!

QUICK FIRE ROUND

If you could be any animal what would it be and why?
A bear. Big, strong, cuddly and sleeps for half the year.

Who is your favourite super hero and why?
John Constantine. Hardly a hero, but for my money he’s the most complex and compelling character written by some of the best ever. And he’s got a sense of humour.

If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?
I think it would be a postmodern slacker comedy in the vein of Knocked Up or Spaced. Something where everyone speaks in pop culture references. In that vein, probably Seth Rogan or Simon Pegg.

If you could go any where in the world where would you go and why?
On stage with an improv team. I know that’s not the point of the question, but it is very much my happy place!

What would you do with your “15 minutes” of fame?
Campaign to stop Brexit, try to elect someone compassionate to the White House, and try and get free food at restaurants because that stuff is expensive! 

What is one item you could NEVER live without?
My phone. Hate to admit it, but I’m addicted to it. It’s my Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Last time you laughed very hard out loud?
Rehearsing Once Upon a Rhyme for the Hoopla Marathon with Katy Schutte and Harry Turnbull. At one point I laughed so hard I literally fell over.

What is your favourite movie quote?
I’m tempered to recite Batty’s last words from Blade Runner, but to spare the verbiage, I’ll just say “The Dude abides”

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