Imagine waking up one morning and going online and seeing a semi-naked-sprawled-out-on-the-bed-alongside-your-Improv-friend picture of yourself circling the internet…
Cause for panic, right? You’d think so, unless the picture was this one:
Which i woke up to a week or so ago and was like ‘Holy Crapamole, what’s my wife going to think?’
Fortunately tbV was awake and laughing at it in the other room and so we just jumped on the banned wagon and helped spread it around.
WE GOT YOU, BABE
The purpose of the poster i had previously been aware of and that was the oncoming event [which started last night] of a week of Imprompt2 shows where FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, the incredible Megan Furniss [who imported Improv to Cape Town and began TheatreSports, now Improguise, Cape Town’s longest running show and apparently best kept secret] is going to do a night of two person Improv with a different person every night from Tues to Saturday.
The shows are each going to be slightly longer than that last sentence, at 55 minutes, and will be played with the incredible Anne Hirsch, Ryan Jales, Carolyn Lewis and finished off by Tandi Buchan. aka this beautiful bunch:
55 minutes on stage doing Improv with no other backup, no members waiting on the side of the stage to jump in and save, no muso to provide background music or the base for a song, and two settings of light: mostly on and mostly off. This is Improv almost at its dangerous best [it’s absolute dangerous best would be last year when Megan performed a one-woman Improv show].
Was i nervous? Absolutely. But more that i would be too similiar characters throughout the show [didn’t happen] or that the 5 people we had booked by late afternoon would be it [wasn’t – we had a delightful audience] but for the show itself i was excited anticipationary, adrenalin-filled and just so ready to Go Go Go!
Let’s get this right out there. You had to be there. And so if you weren’t, whatever words follow are largely just for me and possibly to help you become really sad that you missed it and that besides our generous loving invested audience, no-one else will ever see what happened ever again. But i can try give you a glimpse…
We literally had NO IDEA what we were going to do. We had one light ‘rule’ that we were going to try and use, or not, which was that one way of changing scene would be to take a word, phrase or sentence that the other actor had spoken and repeat it as a way to start a brand new scene.
So we interviewed the audience. “What did any of you expect to see tonight? Or hope you would see? Or want to see?” They stared back at us. Nothing.
“Okay, so let’s bring it down a notch. Does anyone have a favourite colour?” Red.
“What does red make you think of?” Roses. [We’re getting somewhere, slooooowly]
“And what do roses make you think of?” Love. Thorns. “Ah, so we have the optimistic romantic side of the audience over here and the cynical bunch over there.” [nervous laugh]
So then Megan got bold with, “So can anyone share a story they have which involves a rose?”
No lies. From right at the back, someone [who, let’s be honest is a friend of mine] speaks out, “I once smelled a rose.”
We look at each other. Maybe we should just start.
And so we did. And without having a clue where anything would go, and with not a single accent, character or idea i’d been practising in front of my mirror all day emerging at any point [yay for that] we produced some magic and the majority of it was really pretty amazing, and some was really odd, and a whole lot of the really odd stuff was pretty amazing.
One of the oddest moments, and personal highlights of the show was an interaction between Megan and i where she from the left of the stage called out to me, sitting on a chair at the right and eventually came over to join me, clearly climbing over rows of things to get to me.
“Where’d you get all the sticks?”
“I bought them… at the hardware store.”
[pause] “Why do they have all those fingers on them?”
“To keep the badgers away.”
[pause] “But there are no badgers here?”
“Yes, they’re really effective.”
You can. not. make. that. stuff. up.
Oh, but we did, and more. [And if you heard the creepy accents we were using for that scene, just imagine it 1000 times better]
But from Megan’s Energiser Bunny skills demonstration for a secretary job interview, to pulling a Spanish guy out of the audience to interrogate him [who only said “Que?” and who i thought was taking the piss, but turned out to be really just a Spanish guy and so completely Fawlty Towers moment right there], to King of the Ice Throne [which you can’t lick!] whose bird Gabriel had to be eaten when he ran out of snacks, to the waitress at the French Cafe who offered ‘Cafe de Mime’ which is a coffee and mime combo, to being asked to dictate a 13 word poem, where each word rhymed, had three syllables and ended with X [which technically i pulled off, even if the ‘X’ was silent] to a weird strange alien creature who spoke in garbled sounds interaction, to telepathic CV’s, an on the spot song called ‘There’s a Fish in my Wine Glass’, a funeral where the roses had been made out of paper mache [by the woman, whose mom had died,’s husband’s ex] and finishing off with a Captain Jack counselling session featuring some Pilates of the Caribbean which you couldn’t really observe because it was all core.
And probably more – it was incredible to see what we fit into 55 minutes – but it was dangerous [pulling an audience member on stage] and delightful and risky and fun and brilliant and when i walked off the stage i was instantly disappointed that Anne, Ryan, Carolyn and Tandi were playing the next four nights and not Brett, Brett, Brett and Brett. Except that they will be great and there will be a slightly different format per show and i really wish i could watch them all.
This is addictive stuff people. Be warned.
And so Big Huge Giant Tremendous thanks to Megan for trusting me and letting me go first and kick the week off. And for just absolutely diving in with everything and being so generous in both taking and receiving offers. i look forward to Impromt2 II
If you’re in Cape Town, GO AND WATCH A SHOW – Tuesday to Thursday. Do it!