Improv Diaries – Decisions, Characters and Hitchhikers [Case Study: Ian McLaughlin]

This week has been a really busy one in the world of improv – we are being coached by the every so talented Suki Webster on the weekend so we have spent a lot of the week getting ready for that. Also I have started a new eight week course but more about that later.


This week at Punders HQ it was all about starting to focus on the show that we have in a few weeks run through what games we want to play at main show – there is a big list of games that we have to choose from and the important choice we have to do now is to make sure that we chose the right games to perform at the show! We have managed to reduce the list and how we have a faint sort of idea in regards to what we want to perform in April.

Another reason why it was so important to choose games this week was because we needed to choose the games that we want to take into coaching with us because we are being coached by the gloriously talented Suki Webster this week and we couldn’t be more excited! We really wanted to get a coach that knew their stuff an Suki is so talented that we know that she will give us such a great direction in which to take the show in.

So this week we wanted to reflect on the musical short form games that we played last week and develop them more so that we can use them in the big show in April. This meant that we focussed on giving bigger and better offer in scenes and trying out new ideas to see if they work better on a spin in the games.  It was a fun rehearsal and i look forward to coaching and a fresh perspective.

Character Course

This week I had my first lesson of Susan Harrison’s Hoopla Character course. I decided to sign up to an eight week course all about character because I want to develop the personas that I bring on stage to a scene. Due to the fact that my group does short form, characters are really important to bring to a scene to up the anti and to create a really fun and immersive world in such a short time period. I have heard nothing but amazing things about Sue from Showstoppers so really wanted to be taught by a pro. It was such a fun lesson and cannot wait for the weeks ahead.

To get to know the people in the room that we will be playing with over the next 8 weeks we did a variety of warm up games – this included a game which sort of relies on the same rules as zip zap zop but you are passing a sound around the room instead of a motion. It was so fun.

The next warm up game we did was one that we do in Punders and that is someone goes into the middle of the circle and says that they are an object and then people build up around them to create a world that those items will live in. Then the last item will then be the first item in the new scenario.

We then started to focus on the world of character and played a game called hitchhiker. In this scene two people are in the car – the driver chooses a character and then the passenger that joins them in the car has to mimic the exact same movements, impressions etc and find a world within that world. It created some really funny scenes and sort of proved that you do not need a lot to create a very fun and lively world.

The next game that we did, which I found really useful and also very interesting was all about doing monologues. So, someone would get up on stage and then Sue would give them a character such as Father Christmas and then in that role of what they feel is a depiction of that persona they would talk about truth that has actually happened in their own lives. Bringing truth and character together worked really well and was really interesting exercise.

Case Study : Ian McLaughlin

Screen Shot 2019-03-16 at 21.42.53There was only one person that I wanted to talk about this week as their characters sort of inspired me to be the ones that I was in this weeks characters lesson. The one thing that I really like doing is weird and wacky characters and in the hitchhikers game I automatically thought of Ian.

I remember when I used to be taught by Ian, that he used to have this character that he would create with by using masks that was a creep. It was a fantastic character and there was a few movements he made that made the man come to life and I remember the way that he looked when he was doing it and the laughter that he made as well.

In the hitchhikers game I decided to use this character to see what it would be like in a mimicry type of game and it worked as well as I thought. Both myself and the person I was working with in the scene went all out with the creepiness and the weirdness that it worked really well.

Ian is a fantastic improviser and really comes up with the best ideas and that is why I always have him in the back of my mind when it comes to creating unique and quirky ideas.

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