With the difficult times we are facing at the moment, it is the perfect time to try something new whilst you are forced to stay indoors and over the next couple of weeks we are interviewing acts that are putting on everything from projects to lessons. Today, we are talking to an improv troupe that sold out every night at their first Edinburgh Fringe last year. Well now, they are taking this show online during lockdown, I caught up with the Banana Hut Gang To Find Out All about it.
Hello there tell us a little bit about yourself!
Laura – The Banana Hut Gang is a group of good friends who met through Sedos, London’s premiere amateur theatre company. Before lockdown we ran a weekly drop in class and when life returns to normal we will be taking our sell out improv show back to Edinburgh Fringe in 2021. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @bananahutgang. www.bananahutgang.com
Tell us all about the project that you are bringing to the online world at the moment?
Laura – Last year we took our show ‘Choose Your Own…Improv’ to Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the first time and we sold out, which was amazing. We were due to be taking the show up to Edinburgh again this year, so when the fringe got cancelled we decided to brush up on our Zoom knowledge and reform the show as a virtual experience. ‘Zoom Your Own…Improv!’ retains all the elements of our Ed Fringe show, but now it can be watched live from anywhere in the world!
What times does it run throughout the day?
Laura – It’s on every Wednesday during lockdown at 8.30pm. It’s a 45 minute show.
How much does it cost , what platform etc?
Laura – At the moment it’s completely free. You can watch on Zoom or on Facebook live. Follow us on Facebook to get the link to the Zoom show: https://www.facebook.com/bananahutgang/
How was the project formed?
Laura – We decided to carry on rehearsing together remotely while lockdown was on and we realised that we could actually put on a show like that too. It took a while to work out how exactly we were going to do it, was it Instagram Live, Facebook Live or Zoom? Eventually we worked out that Zoom worked best for our format as we need immediate feedback from the audience. We tried it out on a group of invited guests and then we went for it!
How has it been going so far?
Chris – We’ve had some excellent feedback from audiences who have watched our first two official shows and arguably some of our biggest audiences (including audiences who live abroad and would never have been able to come to our London or Edinburgh shows). It’s obviously never going to replace live performance, and we’re not pretending it does – but it’s a great alternative for these times. It’s quite interesting that it’s also brought some new dimensions to the show – e.g. that the audience can sort of ‘talk’ to each other during the show using the chat function of Zoom, or that we can have sound effects (like someone talking to another player without them actually being seen on the screen. It’s been fun to discover those new elements and then explore them!
With everything happening in the world at the moment, why is it so important to have activities like yours available?
Laura – The world is pretty depressing and scary right now and we wanted to provide something that would bring joy, laughter and a bit of a distraction for people. Our show is primarily a comedy show but it also invites the audience to get involved in the choices so the audience are actually interacting and involved with the performance as it goes on. We see it as a way for people to distract themselves for 45 minutes from everything else that’s going on and just relax and have a laugh!
What can people expect over the next few weeks from your project?
Laura – People can expect to be distracted from their lockdown blues and cheered up by our silliness! Our stories are completely dependent on our audiences so whatever expectations the audience brings can transmit to suggestions and that will appear in our show. Bring expectations and see them on screen!
If people want to find out more about you on social media where shall they visit?
We’re on all the socials:
Finally why should people get involved?
Laura – It’s a fun way to watch Theatre in the current world we live in, plus you get to chat with other people watching the show during the show, which you can’t normally do in the theatre! (Well you can but it’s frowned on!) So take advantage now and get involved!