Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ensemble Rehearsal #7: Genre Combo

This week we multitasked by having a business meeting first and then rehearsal. Fortunately we were able to plow through our meeting agenda fairly quickly and still have time for a reasonable rehearsal.

As per usual, we sang some Verse/Chorus songs. Then we practiced the format we’ve accidentally performed at our last two shows (the SF Theater Fest and the Temporary Improv Fest). That being getting 3-4 genres from the audience and doing them all at the same time. Let’s see if I can remember what we did:

70’s Detective TV Show, Jane Austen, Brecht
Slasher, Mark Twain, Shakespeare
80’s B-Movie Sci-Fi, Caveman, Checkov

It’s really impossible to process all of them at once. Generally you have to use one genre mostly as setting and another for character or plot elements. At any given time your just focusing on one or two hoping someone else is picking up the others. It works fairly well. We also think they work better when at least one of the genres is more general (like “tragedy” or “horror”).

That was pretty much it. Again, a short rehearsal.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Toiletries That Ate San Francisco

In 2006, the Un-Scripted Theater Company did a show called the Impossible Film Project. The show worked something like this:

A team of improvisors and a director wih a camera get a suggestion from a live audience and then take to the streets of San Francisco to shoot a movie guerrilla style. As they finish a tape, it's run back to the theater where the audience sees it almost live.

I was fortunate enough to be in a few of these and serve as the director/camera man on a few as well. This was one of my favorites. We had a lot of fun making it and I have never actually seen the entire thing before. (The nature of the show meant you didn't get to see the film you were shooting screened.) Now it's all up on YouTube and I can present to you The Toiletries That Ate San Francisco!

For this film the suggestion was an actual object, a bag of toiletries an audience member had with them. The improvisors had no pre-planned script. All they knew was the style of the movie: 1950's B-Movie.

Kimberley MacLean as Buffy
Maggie Farril as Bambi
Christian Utzman as Dick Moondoggie
and in an uncredited role:
Brian McBride as The Mad Scientist

and countless extras from the streets of San Francisco

Directed by Alan Goy

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ensemble Rehearsal #6: Steady Going

I don’t have too too much to report about Tuesday’s ensemble rehearsal. We leapt right into more of the Verse Chorus Verse songs I mentioned in Rehearsal 4 with similarly strong results. Then we went back to the exercises we did in Rehearsal 2 that resulted in the inadvertent one-acts. Again they were really solid.

We told a story about some distracted bank robbers that turned into a game of “torture Bryce’s character”. There was an epic futuristic war story that veered too cinematic in style and didn’t feel as much like a play. Then we had Pinter meets Albee meets Becket in a story about gambling and rent payments. That one was fun. Finally we told an upper British love tragedy about a butler pining for his mistress.

We experimented with ways to make the characters more diverse while still style matching with some success. In the “gambling” one I consciously tried to style match while playing a completely different pace than the other characters. It was hard, but I think it worked.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Improv For Everyone

Susan's teaching a class in the East Bay in September:

Improv for Everyone
with Susan Snyder
Enjoy exploring the world of improvisation in a low pressure, playful environment. Increase your confidence, improve your public speaking skills, and enjoy the experience along the way. This class is for people wanting their first taste of improv, and those returning to deepen their range of improvisational expression. Shy people welcome.

Dates: Sunday, Sept 13th & Sunday Sept 26th
Time: 12:30-3:30pm
Location: Temescal Arts Center, Oakland, CA
(street parking, walking distance from MacArthur BART)
Cost: $40 single class or sign up for both for $60

Contact Susan