Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rehearsal #1: Dancing and Group Scenes

We had our first rehearsal for Let It Snow! 2009 last night. We’ve done this show three times previously (2004, 2005, and 2007) making it our first quadruple threat show! (I think we did only did You Bet Your Improvisor and The Short and the Long of It three times each, but the complete list of all Un-Scripted shows seems to have not survived the new web redesign. Hopefully it will be reappearing soon.) But we’ve never done Let It Snow! like this before. For the first time ever, someone other than Tara is directing it.

Tara developed the show based largely on her experiences growing up in a small town in Maine. In fact, she was so committed to her vision of the show that she has moved back to a small town in Maine. This regrettably makes her unavailable to direct the show. This year the show is being directed by Mandy with a healthy dose of assisting from Susan. Now, while audience members frequently confuse Mandy for Tara or Susan for Tara, technically speaking Mandy & Susan are not Tara. Rather than wondering “What Would Tara Do?” Mandy & Susan are going to just going to do what they would do within the same framework. Thus the show will inherently be different, because, as previously stated Mandy & Susan are not Tara.

This show marks a number of other firsts. It will be the first time ensemble member Clay has ever performed in Let It Snow! It will also be the first show Trish performs in as an ensemble member. We also have a nice mix of returning and new cast members. The full list is:

Bryce Byerley - ensemble
Dave Dyson - ensemble
Michael Fleming – previously in Shakespeare the Musical
Alan Goy - ensemble
Merrill Gruver – previously in Shakespeare the Musical
Alyssa Harvey – previously in Fear
Karen Hirst – previously in Theater the Musical and Let It Snow!
Scott Keck – previously in… many shows.
Mandy Khoshnevisan - ensemble
Clay Robeson - ensemble
Jodi Skeris – new!
Susan Snyder - ensemble
Trish Tillman - ensemble
Christian Utzman - ensemble
Lisa Wang – new!

And we got off to a fine start last night. We opened with some ice-breaking exercises so we could all get to know each other and then launched right into dancing. Mandy ran us through a series of moves and then made everyone lead the group in some dancing to different styles. It was a workout, fortunately I’ve been hitting the gym in recent months to prepare.

We capped off the day with some improv! We worked on group scenes where several characters ganged up on another for some reason. Why? Because those scenes generally give the audience the sense that the characters all know each other very well. As Keith Johnstone says (paraphrased) “friends play with each other’s status while strangers leave each other’s status alone.” But these scenes are often difficult to improvise, as they can easily devolve into everyone talking over each other.

All-in-all we did a reasonably good job. We learned to focus on nuance and relationships as opposed to activities. I was in one scene the set up for which was a group of people waiting outside for the fishing license shop to open for the season. Quickly it became endowed as ice-fishing season and Scott and Karen launched in with Northern Minnesotan “Fargo” accents. I was amazed at how much fun I had doing the Fargo accent and how easily I was able to do it. Within the scene I was actually aware of how I wasn’t thinking about the accent at all. It was just coming out. I love doing accents and I’d forgotten how much I love doing Fargo.

Mostly though we all did a good job of talking over each other just enough to look like friends, while still being able to hear what was going on. A promising start!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fear 2004

This poster was framed and at the bottom of the stairs leading into La Val's when we did Fear in 2004

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Let It Snow! - Auditions

Improvisors Wanted!

The Un-Scripted Theater Company is holding auditions for its next show, Let It Snow!, an improvised musical for the holidays, filled with good old-fashioned Broadway singing and dancing. (Think The Music Man.) The show is set every night in the hometown of an audience member, and over the three seasons that we've performed the show, we've visited small towns from North Pole AK to Manunka Chunk NJ to Wailua HI, and lots of places in between. It's a really fun show to perform, and always an audience (and improvisor) favorite.

We're looking for improvisors who ideally have longform experience as well as an enthusiasm for singing/dance.

** Auditions will be in the evening, on Monday, Sept. 14th, and Tuesday, Sept. 15th.
Rehearsals will be on Tuesdays, starting Sept. 29th; the show runs
Nov. 19th - Dec. 19th.
All of the above in downtown SF near Union Square.

If you're interested in auditioning, email Susan (click here) for more information or to reserve yourself a slot -- make sure to mention which date you'd prefer. Our auditions are conducted more like a rehearsal or class, so be prepared to stay for at least an hour. If you're wondering whether you should audition, the answer is almost always yes! We pride ourselves on our fun, low-pressure auditions, and we always love meeting improvisors, so come on down and give it a shot!