Wednesday, July 1, 2009

On the spot

Elizabeth! Angry!

You make a chicken burger?! You don't even know how to open a bread roll, let alone produce something worthy for that customer! You're the most useless employee and ....

Elizabeth! Sad!

... and it used to be a CHICKEN! A cute, feathery bundle of clucky joy and now look at it! LOOK AT IT! It's crushed and covered with breadcrumbs! Oh the pain!

Improv. comedy is, I have to say, decidedly harder than it looks. Someone feeds you a line and you literally have to say the first thing that comes into your head. Well, heaven help us all! I suppose I should just be grateful it was clean and moderately good English.

To be a good improviser, your response in a game to an outside prompt (like above) or to another actor needs to (1) "accept" (the said line by using it), (2) "advance" (the story line) and (3) "charm" (your audience. Ideally, at least three people should drop dead from asphyxiation due to laughter). In this, my first attempt during a workshop, I aimed for words in a recognisable language. Failure to do so fulfilled number 3, but lost points on numbers 1 & 2.

I should add the desired language was English, not Japanese. The glassy eyed stare while internal translation occurs lacks .... punch. Especially if it is indefinite.

Now say that again, but in the style of George W. Bush

I want to make it clear that we speak only English. No foreign language is allowed at this Tokyo event. The time delay to allow translation into English is so long that the words are no longer a WOMD. If the words never appear in English, then they do not mean anything to anyone. I emphasize: only native English speakers. No Europeans allowed.

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