A Month of Pairs – INTERVIEW – James And I

It is duo’s month and so it is only right that we delve into the world of Twoprov this February. Over the next few weeks we are talking to a variation of improv acts up and down the country to find out the ins and outs of being part of a twoprov troupe. Today, I speak to a group where there are two James’ for the price of one. So to stop the confusion as to who are speaking from now on the James’ will be differentiated by being called JH and JI.

Hello tell us all about who you all are and a little bit about yourselves?

JH: We are James and I, a duo made up of James Haskin (me) and James Irving. We perform live and have a podcast, which you can hear at jamesimprov.com

 

What style of Improv do you do?

JH: Slow burn stories that combine the real and surreal.
What sort of suggestions do you ask the audience for in your show?

JH: At the moment, nothing. We explain roughly how the show works and then get on with it, but it’s something we would like to experiment with more.

 

 

What is the best thing about being in a twoprov?

JH: It’s all about connection and there’s nowhere to hide.

JI: Improvising in a far more intimate way with someone who’s brain takes a different route to reach the same conclusions.

 

 

What is the most challenging?

JH: It’s all about connection and there’s nowhere to hide.

JI: Seeing how far we can go to break the show without doing so. Also looking for any patterns that may be establishing between shows and breaking them.

 

 

What will makes you different to other twoprov acts out there?

JH: Our commitment to letting things get slowly weirder.

JI: We’re more theatrical, more like a surrealist theatre piece than conventional twoprov.

 

 

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

JH: Play with different people. See what clicks. You never really know what will work until you try it.

JI: Rehearse a lot. Mr Haskin and I rehearsed every week in my living room for about 3 months before we even did our first set.

What have been some of your specifically favourite scenes you have created so far in a show and why?

JH: An early one that I still remember was about two old friends drinking snakebite and black, which actually takes them back in time to being students and protesting, chained to a tree. There was something that felt a bit magic about the transition from bar to tree, plus it involved James climbing around on chairs, which is always entertaining.

JI: We did a set where it turned out there was a submarine and crew in small lake waging war with the sheep on the land. I knew we were in a some kind of armoured vehicle but it wasn’t until James moved around on stage that I realised we were in something bigger than a tank. That discovery added so much to what came after.

 

What other twoprov groups are you a fan of and why?

JH: The two groups I saw that really made me want to do a two person show were Beings and Ten Thousand Million Love Stories. They are both shows where I want to see those two people interact and the different worlds that they create.

JI: Breaking and Entering are fab I love their energy and joy. Beings because of the characters that they discover together.

 

 

Tell us about the sort of rehearsals you do to get ready for a show?

JH: We have a cut down version of our show format that we use to spot the point where the reality of a scene starts to come apart and then let it happen. Then we see where we are afterwards. The rest is about us building trust and feeling free to say how we feel.

JI: We did a lot of different ones when we first got started. Repetitions of the last thing said was a big one also some meisner exercises. All things to explore tempo and taking your time to develop discoveries.

 

 

Do you have any pre show rituals – if so what are they?

JH: Spending time together. Chatting about anything but improv. Trying to avoid James’ attempts to initiate a warm-up.

JI: Just checking in with each other. Maybe pretending I want to do a warm-up with James because it’s now become a “thing”.

 

 

What are your aims for your troupe for the improv in 2019?

JH: More shows, more podcast episodes featuring more guests. Just generally indoctrinating more people into the world of James and I.

JI: More shows with James. The work we do together is unlike any other improv I do and I love the gifts his brain offers.

 

 

It’s the month of looooovveeeee so what things do you love about improv and why?

JH: My favourite thing is getting lost in it. Making the other person and what you’re doing your entire world for a while.

JI: I love the unexpected and the ability of our subconscious to notice and voice stuff we are unprepared for.

 

 

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

facebook.com/jamesimprov

 

 

 

In three words why should people come and see you perform?

JH: Strange things happen.

JI: Gripping surreal occurrences.

 

 

DUO QUICK FIRE SPECIAL

 

If you could be any famous duo from TV, Film or Music what would your twoprov be and why?

JH: Somewhere between Mulder & Scully and Bert & Ernie. We’re looking for the truth, but we’re probably not the people most likely to find it.

JI: I can’t top james’ answer.

 

 

Who creates the craziest improv characters?

JH: James (but which one?)

JI: crazy is a strong word. I prefer alternative 🙂

 

 

 

What is your favourite thing about one another?

JH: James is always thoughtful and considerate. Also, there’s no-one I trust more on stage.

JI: I genuinely think James is a slow burn improv genius. He takes time with a scene like no one else I know and is cripplingly humble. Also, when we play mind meld we always come up with different names for the same thing. I love that. We are always so close to each other and yet miles a part.

 

 

What is the thing that the other would go viral for?

JH: James and Rhiannon Vivian recorded a series of really funny, brilliantly specific short videos, called Noir in Brief, which somehow don’t seem to have gone viral yet. Catch up world.

JI: Unexpected high concept fancy dress outfits made on a budget. This guy has skills

 

 

You have £50 in your pocket to buy the other a present – what would you get them and why?

JH: For some reason, we have done that improv exercise where you pretend to give a gift lots of times. What I have learnt from that is I can give James any old crap and he will make the most of it.

JI: I’ve given him so many imaginary gifts I am not sure what he would do with a real one. Maybe some sound gear. Or a mic. I feel like James bares all the hassle when we’re recording the podcast.

 

 

If you had to release a duet – what would the song be and why?

JH: I Got You Babe, because I just did a Groundhog Day Classic Andy show which heavily featured that song on the playlist and now I can’t remember what other songs sound like.

JI: Especially for You originally by Kylie and Jason because that’s what twoprov is.

 

 

The toughest question of all – last rolo – would you keep it or give it to your twoprov buddy?

JH: I don’t eat sweets, so it’s all yours James.

JI: James doesn’t do sweets so it’s mine!

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