Improv Diaries – Physicality, Broccoli and Lots of Laughter… [Case Study: Pixar]

This week it has been a very busy one again for improv as there has been lots to prepare for our main show that we have in a few weeks. The main thing for this week was to make sure that we knew what games that we were going to play at Improv Towers and from a Doodle Poll we now have a list of games that we want to put in the show. Statistically, the games that we are playing are a mix of old and new so that means that we can bring back some old favourites as well as playing lots of new ones as well.

In rehearsal this week the main aim was to run through the list of games and start playing them so that we have them up to scratch for when we play them in the show. The first game that we played this week that we haven’t played in ages is Lines From A Hat. It is such an old school Improv game that we know that audience members enjoy writing the sayings and that it gets laughs which is great. The one thing I love about Lines From a Hat that a lot of the time the lines weirdly match what you are talking about. It is really interesting to see at play and also uber fun.

The other games that we looked at were the games that we have been trying to finesse over the last few weeks which include Nursery Rhyme Chat Show, Musical Monologues and Greatest Hits. It was a really fun rehearsal and it was full of so many laughs that it was so enjoyable. I really enjoy Punders rehearsals as they are so silly!

Character Workshop 

This week in the Character Course with Sue it as all about Physicality and using that to create characters. This is something I do quite a lot as I have done it in many lessons and it is also something that we do at Punders to try and incorporate more characters.

After all the warm ups had been completed (there was a few new ones but nothing notable to write about) we ent straight into the action and delved into the world of Physicality. We started this off by doing an exercise I have done alot both through Improv workshops and as a Punder – you lead with different parts of your body

Walking around the room leading with body parts is a great way to get used to naturally building up characters. If you lead with your nose you automatically become snooty or nosey, if you lead with your groin you can become cocky and egotistical. We did this a few times to get used to the ways in which characters can make you feel.

The next thing we did with these characters that we had created with different body parts was to put them into a scene together watching a speaker in the distance. It was all about watching how these five characters that were lead by different body parts interacted with each other as well as how they reacted with parts of the speech that was supposedly happening.

The next exercise we did was all about the world of animals – we had to pretend we were at a party and then take on the personalities of puppies but as humans. It was interesting to see the playful sides of puppies played out as people. We also did the exercise again with the persona of cats and there were so many different characters it was really interesting to watch.

The last exercise we did this week was putting physical characters to objects that do not move. We did a variety of scenes such as toys, vegetables and antiques to see how they would react with each other and what sorts of emotions and characteristics they would have. It was fun to see how they would move and interact with each other. We then did the exercise again but when half of us had set up the scene the other half would then replace the originals and then play the scene on.

Case Study – Pixar

When looking at this weeks lesson with Character the first thing that came to mind was Toy Story – it was the only example I could think of originally when objects come to life. Pixar are fantastic on putting a spin on objects that you would not necessarily humanize and they have created some of the best characters because of this.

Think of a Pixarr film and just think about how they have brought those characters to life – the toys in Toy Story, the ants in a Bugs Life, the lead in Cars –  they make them have really interesting personas and that is where the comedy lies. This is wha I learnt this week – playing a object in a more straight person way it can create really high comedy.

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