Welcome back to our Show of the Week interviews! We may of taken a break for a good few months due to lockdown and the pandemic but we are back! There is a slight change to the article though – we will be celebrating both Online shows as well as ones in theaters to accommodate the constantly changing way of the world at the moment which is great because there is so much talent and exciting shows happening in both worlds!
This week we are kicking things off with The Don’t Know The Half Of It who are performing the Dramatic Improv Festival of Chicago this week and then have future shows at The Compass Improv Festival and the Fliegende Funken Festival. It all sounded very exciting so I had to find out more.
Hello there tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hi! We’re Charlie and Rhiannon; Charlie directs and Rhiannon produces They Don’t Know the Half of It. Charlie has been improvising professionally for a decade and was a leading actor with the Australian Shakespeare Company before relocating to London to complete his Master’s in Classical Acting, and currently performs across the UK with Impromptu Shakespeare. Rhiannon has been performing professionally since leaving The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2017, and is currently performing in the UK with The Ol’ Bill, as well as directing The Love Circle at The Hideout Theatre.
Tell us all about the project that you are bringing to the online world at the moment?
They Don’t Know the Half of It is a London-based show; we take the classic format of pairing a scripted actor with an unscripted improviser; our scripted actor has learnt their scene, and cannot deviate from it. We aim for grounded, emotionally connected scenes and stories, and our cast is made up of professional actors, predominantly from the MA Acting programme at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Nursery Originals cast members from The Nursery Theatre, and West End Actors. It’s a show with a lot of heart, and some extraordinary acting talents.
What times does it run throughout the day?
We’ll be performing at the Dramatic Improv Festival at 9pm CDT / 2am BST on Sunday Sept 13th, The Compass Improv Festival 6.05 PM CDT / 12.05AM BST on Saturday Sept 26th, and (theoretically!) at Fliegende Funken Festival in Bremen, on Saturday 20th Nov; though we’re still holding our breath to see if we’ll be able to safely travel there.
How much does it cost , what platform etc?
The Dramatic Improv Festival will be taking place on the DIF Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dramaticimprovfest, and donations can be made here: https://dramaticimprovfest.com/schedule/.Details for tickets and streaming of the Compass Improv Festival will be posted here: https://www.compassimprov.org/The show schedule for Fliegende Funke Festival will be released here: https://fliegendefunken.de/en/shows-english/
How was the project formed?
Charlie had performed in a similar project with Stiff Company in Australia, and wanted to get something like that off the ground in the UK. Charlie then pulled together a cast from improvisers he’d worked with in They Don’t Know the Half of It at The Nursery, Impromptu Shakespeare, and his colleagues from RCSSD. We’ve been rehearsing weekly since and performing regularly since April 2019.
How has it been going so far?
Fantastically! We’ve had such a lovely time working together; it’s a spectacularly supportive cast, and every rehearsal and show is an absolute blast.
How do you rehearse for an online show?
We try to start off with exercises that foster emotional connection. We’re a very emotionally tuned-in group, and it’s important for us to try to maintain that, even online. Then we just run scenes until we’re too knackered to run any more! We’ve really enjoyed playing with camera work, and as we have so many supremely talented actors in the group, the ability to see their screen acting prowess has been a real gift.
With everything happening in the world at the moment, why is it so important to have activities like yours available?
We hadn’t originally planned to do anything online, until Rhiannon suggested trying it out after having done some online rehearsals with The Ol’ Bill. Once we got to doing it, we were all pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed getting back to playing together. Being able to feel that bond with each other as a team, even from miles apart, has been a huge comfort in these difficult times.
What are three things you have learnt about adapting to improv online?
1) It’s not as scary as we thought it might be
2) There’s a whole world of new things we can try online – props, backgrounds, set, camera work, proxemics, technical wizardry. It’s actually quite exciting to be diving into what is essentially a brand-new artform for us!
3) Being on camera is much more exposing than being on stage! That can be a great thing, because it means we can really indulge in grounded, naturalistic acting, but it means we have to be much more deliberate and reserved.
Even when shows are back in theatres in the future will you be considering doing any more online content?
We haven’t really made any decisions on that yet. It’s been really fun to work in a new space, but we’re definitely all itching to get back to doing things face to face. I think perhaps we’ll have the intention of doing online work, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we get overexcited about getting back in the “real world” and forget about online stuff for a little while!
What can people expect over the next few weeks from your project?
Our audiences can expect heartfelt, well-acted, grounded, playful scenes. We try to curate our shows to have a real sense of variety, with scenes that sway from dramatic to comedic, and cover a variety of genres and time periods.
If people want to find out more about you on social media where shall they visit?
@dontknowhalf on all social media (although we’re still in the process of getting our social media presence filled out!).
Finally why should people get involved?
It’s a fun and moving show, and we’ve had excellent feedback so far. All of our actors are at the top of their game, and we’re sure it’ll be an entertaining show! Show quoted text