Welcome to a brand new season of Show of the Week Interviews!!! We are starting off the season with a Charity show based in Reading. The McClanes show this week is raising money for local charity Read College Student Hardship Fund. I caught up with one half of the twoprov, Seamus, To find out all about it.
The McClanes September Charity Show!
Date: Friday 6th September
Location: Brewdog, Reading
Ticket Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/387886381862831/
Hello Seamus tell us all about who you all are and three unknown facts about your troupe!
Hi there, I’m Seamus Allen, artistic director of “What’s the Game?! Improv” and one third of the Reading based twoprov group “The McClanes”. Three unknown facts about us? 1: Our technician John twitter stalked Smashmouth for years. 2: Alex Mcwilliam is a dancing Waiter Gif in Denmark. 3: I played a horror clown in a well known CBBC children’s programme.
How did your troupe form?
Alex and I had been working together for a few years and he had shadowed my teaching for a long time. We were both wanting to push ourselves to do more long-form. We had a venue that were really open to new shows and so after my regular Wednesday night class we started playing around.
How did you come up with the name of your troupe? Was it difficult?
Originally we used the name “Monkey Game” as an amalgamation of our two companies (Mad Monkey and What’s the Game?!). However our show is quite physical and our first venue lacked air conditioning, so as a basic costume we started playing in vests. Our first Christmas show our technician John made a gag about us trying to look like John Mcclane from “Die-Hard” and the name stuck.
How did the show come about?
The format came from a deep love of physical theatre and a joy in dramatic underscore. I teach with music a lot and we both wanted a way to explore a long-form style that would allow us to stop talking and tale stories physically.
How did you get into improv?
I trained in Ireland as an actor, and there Improv is an integral part of the rehearsal process. I also was involved in a majority of devised shows there, writing the script in the room. When I moved to England I was lucky enough to do a show with the genious that is Adam Meggido, and he invited me to work and train with Ken Campbell. That got me involved with the “School of night” and the annual London 50 hour Improvathon which I’ve been performing in for 12 years now.
Tell us a little bit about the show that are happening this week?
The first half of the show we invite a local team to do a short form set, which we jump in on at the end. During the interval we get the audience to create a playlist of songs that they’d love to hear in an Indie movie. For the show, we get a basic starting premise from the audience, strip down to our vests and start. Each scene is influenced by whatever song is being played, chosen by our technician, John.
It is a new season of improv what are you most looking forward to seeing?
I’m really looking forward to seeing what “The free Radicals” and “Mad Monkey” have got going on. I’ve also got a few students eager to start their own companies and develop some new venues in Reading. There’s some interesting things coming up after a recent Harold focused group of workshops
It is the month of September – what were some of the best shows that you saw at festivals over summer and why?
Unfortunately I couldn’t get to the festivals this year, but I know that Austentatious and Bumber Blighton would have killed it. Also Bryony Redman, Lauren Shearing and Charlotte Gittins had an amazing show at Edinburgh this year which is absolutely worth a watch “Anxiety Club”
How do you warm up before a show?
We’re usually just getting the house ready. I may have a beer. Alex and I check in with each other. We also warm the audience up which get’s us going.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
DEATH DEFYING COMEDY.
QUICK FIRE ROUND
What makes your smile?
Genuinely. My kids make me smile. And “Hot ones” the Youtube show
What is your biggest strength as an improviser?
I really love playing with other people. I feel privileged to share the stage with anyone. I revel in the fact that everyone else is probably more imaginative than me
Dream venue to perform at and why?
The globe theatre. Or The Watermill theatre in Newbury.
Are you a dog or cat person?
Dog….but cats are slowly burrowing their way into my heart.
What is the most delightful suggestion for a scene you can think of?
I once had to play a potato in “Party quirks” and weirdly, It gave me tonnes of eclectic material to work with
If you had to have a tattoo to represent improv what would you have and why?
K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid)
Who is your improv hero and why?
Ken Campbell was the greatest artistic influence for me as a performer. A recent hero to watch and play with (I have lots of heros) is Patti Stiles.
What is the last thing you liked on social media?
An amazing video on Twitter of Trump being totally sidelined by Brigette Macron so she could shake hands with Melania First.
Something on your bucket list ?
Write a play about Freerunning.