Friday, March 30, 2007

Puppets!


We had rehearsal on Wednesday night for the Puppet Musical. It’s so much fun! I can’t wait for this show.

We did a lot of “protagonist” work. At Un-Scripted we talk a lot about “protagonists”. Who’s the scene about? Who’s the story about? Especially in a 2-hour long form, we’ve found life is sooooo much easier of we establish a likable protagonist with a strong want/need in the first 2 scenes of the show.

I have become a master at NOT being the protagonist. I can pimp my fellow performers to be the protagonist with the greatest of ease, and I can deflect any attempts to make me the protagonist without even thinking about it. It’s actually a problem, because half the time I’m not even aware that I’m doing it.

I’m trying to change that. I’m trying to learn how to accept that protagonist role and how to grab it myself if I want it. I want to become more comfortable wearing that hat.

I suspect the reason I’m so good at deflecting it is because, in general, I don’t like being the center of attention. I realize that may sound ridiculous considering that I’m a performer and it doesn’t really make sense considering how much I like hosting and MCing shows. But there it is. Being the protagonist makes me uncomfortable.

I suspect that performing a puppet as the protagonist will be easier for me and help me get more used to the role. After all, as the puppet, it’s no longer me who’s the center of attention. It’s the puppet.

I can’t wait to try it out!

Monday, March 26, 2007

What's in a name?


Welcome to my improv blog!

I suppose you’re wondering about the title “Something Like a Chicken Sandwich”. You may recognize it as a reference to the book “Something Like a Drug: An Unauthorized Oral History of Theatresports”, but why am I referencing that book and why a “chicken sandwich”?

While I first did improv in college with a group called Recess, I really cut my teeth as an improviser at Bay Area Theatresports, now BATS Improv. I owe the roots of my improv knowledge to Theatresports and Johnstonian theory. I’ve even had the pleasure of meeting the crazy cat, Keith Johnstone himself a few times.

So even though I’ve never actually read that book, I enjoy the reference to a chronicle of the origins of the improv theory that shaped me so.

As for “chicken sandwich”, when those of us that founded Un-Scripted first started meeting to form the organization, we didn’t have a name. We didn’t want to choose a name until we had a better sense of who were as an organization, so in the meantime we used the working title of “Chicken Sandwich”.

Why?

My sister and I have long used the term “Chicken Sandwich” to refer to anything we don’t want to name directly for fear of jinxing it. Sort of a superstitious place holder of sorts. For instance: when watching a baseball game, if the pitcher is throwing a no-hitter, you would say “the pitcher is throwing a chicken sandwich”, because as soon as you say the words “no-hitter” aloud, the pitcher will invariably give up a hit. Baseball is a superstitious sport, almost as superstitious as the world of theatre.

So we called ourselves Chicken Sandwich with the understanding that the name could not, under any circumstance, become the name of the company. Where did the name Un-Scripted eventually come from?

Well that’s a story for another posting.

But if we ever write a book about the origins of Un-Scripted and “Un-Scriptonian Improv Theory”, I’d like to call it “Something Like a Chicken Sandwich.”