Improv Diaries – Summer Flings and Catapults! [Case Study: Chester Bennington]

This week we had our last show of the Summer which was at Swipe Rights Summer Fling at Hoopla Impro at the Miller. For this show we wanted to test out a few new games as we are going into our September show with a lot of new ideas and wanted to test some of them out.

The good thing about testing new material out at bigger sets like this is that you get to see from a broad audience what works and what doesn’t work. We opened the set with a brand new game that we were all really nervous about but the response to the game was fantastic. It got so many laughs and it went better then any time we have played it in rehearsal. It was such a great accomplishment seeing the response. Another new game we played I wasn’t sure it went well, mainly because I was presenting and because I was so exhausted from crazy hours at work that I felt I couldn’t give it my best. However, after the show we got fantastic feedback yet again for this game which made me proud for the others but I still know that I performed weakly.

We did the greatest hits game again and for the second time we got the heavy metal song and I was able to scream and do my best Post-Hardcore voice which I love doing as it really takes the audience by surprise and that is why it is so fun. I didn’t realise though that improv would lead me to keep having a soar throat from screaming so much haha. It was a really fun show even though I felt like I was in a tired blur the whole time.

Rehearsals this week was focussed on running through the games that we are playing in our September Birthday show – we like making things different so we are mixing it up with about 5 new games so the main aim is to make sure we all know what we are doing and to try and find the best way for things to work. This week was also the grand return of James who had an amazing debut at Edinburgh Fringe with Banana Hut Gang as they sold out every night so it is great to have the energy that is him as an improviser back in the room! I am looking forward to the weeks ahead.

Case Study: Chester Bennington 

When I was a teenager I loved pop music ( i think that is evident for the fact that I write a Forgotten Pop / Forgotten Songs article) but when I turned 13 I changed over to a grunger due to one band – Linkin’ Park. I remember the very first time I heard them, our school had a bike shelter just outside the front doors to the school and in the morning me and the group of girls I used to hand out with used to meet there before the bell to listen to new music we were playing on our cds or cassette players and catch up as we were all in different form groups it was really the only proper time we could apart form breaks. I remember one morning my friend being really excited by a new bands albums she was listening to and let me listen and it was the first time I heard In The End and that was my descent into becoming a grunger.

I say a grunger, I didn’t really enjoy bands like Nirvana and was more into punk rock like Green Day, Blink-182 and the odd Marilyn Manson song. It just meant I wore tee-shirts with bands names, baggy jeans and more eyeliner. All those years of listening to Linkin’ Park, other rock bands and a completely different band I cannot mention anymore due to the atrocious acts by the frontman and many more meant I really got a huge understanding on how to scream in rock songs.

I still listen to a lot of rock music to this day and some of them have the person that screams or shouts halfway through and this is actually funnily enough starting to become really handy for Improv. We have added more songs to our Royalty Free playlist that we use for Greatest Hits and one of them is very Heavy Rock themed that I feel it requires this style of shouting. We have had to perform this twice in front of audiences and both times I have done the heavy screaming and it has got a really great response from the audience.

It is really sad that Chester is no longer with us as he was and still is such an inspiration – he was one of the leaders on this style of music and listening to his style and how he approaches a song is really interesting from a music perspective. I like to bring this level to a performance because people do not expect it and I like the shake up in the music style.

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