Welcome to the month of July and with the summer truly starting to come into action we thought it would be a great time to talk to an improv troupe that actually formed due to the improv community using the online world! Yes you heard that correctly!
Don’t Mess is a global all women and non-binary improv team and their shows explore the world of zoom meetings because who knew there could be so much fun that could be created from this world! The troupe are performing currently all throughout July and I couldn’t wait to find out more about them. Today we find out all about the team rehearsals, playing across different countries and bathrooms…
Tell us about the sort of rehearsals you do to get ready for a show?
Interestingly enough we don’t rehearse too often prior to our live shows. We do however have a tendency to attend improv workshops together to help hone our skills.
You are all in different countries, how do you plan to make sure they work for each time zone?
We are quite old school – a Facebook Messenger chat is usually all it takes to get us together!
We have just really gelled, and there is such positivity and collaboration. There is a lack of ego and a feel of working towards a common goal, which leaves so much space for creativity and experimentation.Don’t Mess Improv
When you first start performing shows, what is your key advice to new troupes to finding the stage time and getting key slots?
Just reach out, people have been really receptive to us – the opportunities are out there. Also spend time making the connections and supporting other groups and theatres.
Do you have any pre show rituals – if so what are they?
We tend to just check in and chat (our opening is a conversation, so we usually pull from pre show chat for that).
Describe the feeling you have when you host a show and people specifically turn up to see your troupe?
Tell us about some unusual suggestions that you have had?
The online bathroom séance zoom meeting was a particularly bizarre, terrifying and a great suggestion, as well as was the intervention meeting for wig wearers!
How do you rehearse a format such as your own?
We have a basic structure and rehearse with different scenarios, concentrating on relationships within scenes.
What are YOUR favourite sets you have done this year and why?
We really loved the ‘wig show’ – it was so silly and playful!
What is the best thing about being in Don’t Mess?
We have just really gelled, and there is such positivity and collaboration. There is a lack of ego and a feel of working towards a common goal, which leaves so much space for creativity and experimentation.
What is the most challenging?
Timezones! Plus we all do 8 billion other improv projects, or teach, or perform everywhere, so just time management really! We make it work because we’re super committed!
Recently the improv scene has been very different – how have you adapted to doing shows online?
We’ve really embraced it as an opportunity to forge new connections and try new things.
“We don’t rehearse too often prior to our live shows. We do however have a tendency to attend improv workshops together to help hone our skills. “Don’t Mess Improv
We all know that improv is not scripted but do you have some sort of ‘skeleton script ‘ or format in place that you work towards whilst getting ready for a show? Tell us about it?
Not really – other than planning how long the intros will be, and having a basic structure of when to go off camera at the start, we tend to make the rest up!
How do you warm up for a show?
Checking in and going over the format.
How do you wind down for a show?
We tend to have some form of post show group chat, maybe a wee beverage or two for some, and eventually watch the show back to enjoy it!
What has been some of the best advice you have ever been given about improv and comedy?
It’s all subjective
What would you like to see happen to comedy over the next ten years?
Diverse voices andd experiences being prioritised, and spaces made for all sorts of new ideas and approaches!