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Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Monday (5/25/09) 6:22pm - ... wherein Peter does the improv-Shakespeare show.

This past Saturday, I performed in the Hideout's "Improvised Shakespeare" show.  I figured I'd let folks know how that went.

Rehearsal this past Wednesday was a bit iffy, but we felt confident that the show would go okay.  I myself was nervous.  I'd never done the Shakespeare show before.  In fact, I'd never done any improvised Shakespeare *or* any long-form improv[1] for a paying audience.  I'd missed several rehearsals, owing to a cold, then bronchitis, then a near-terminal case of "I have to go watch the LOST finale."  Plus, we had a small cast this time around, so I had absolutely no room to slack off.

Eep.

It didn't help that I was especially absent-minded that day.  On the way to the theater, I realized I hadn't shaved.  I checked the mirror, concluded that I didn't look horrible, and wondered idly if I could pick up a razor at a drugstore downtown.  Then I parked, opened up my backpack, and realized I had no costume.

Earlier that day, I'd found the only vaguely-period shirt in my wardrobe and set it aside.  Then, instead of putting it in my backpack, I left it there in my apartment.  (Grr.)  If I drove home and drove back, I would arrive after the show started.

So I arrived with no costume.

The rest of the cast cobbled something together for me at the last minute.  Curtis got out the show's costume-accessories box, and I fished out a large square of crushed red velvet with a head-hole cut out of the center.  Between that and a wool scarf that I was just thin enough to use as a belt (hooray for freakish ectomorphism), I had a makeshift period shirt.  bellatrixamici loaned me a cloak I could wear over it -- which was useful as my 'shirt' was open at the sides.

With that squared away, we warmed up a bit -- mostly just babbling away in iambic pentameter.  This week the cast was me, zinereem, bellatrixamici, Troy, and Curtis.

Then the show got started.  I suppose I'll cover the show itself in hail-of-bullets format:

So that's how that went.  I do the show again the Saturday after next (June 6) -- the other cast members will be acrouch, zinereem, museofchaos, majcher, and Troy.  This coming Saturday, I'm doing tech for the show with Troy, so I guess I need to re-learn my way around the booth.


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[1] I'm not counting 2002's "Slumber Party Slaughter," which was less about narrative and more about cheesy-horror-movie stage effects.

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From:jefpeanutbutter
Date:Monday (5/25/09) 7:32pm
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You're awesome, Peter. And I loved in Maestro how you took that one scene to a sincere and heartfelt place about the mother and the pregnancy. That's the kind of stuff I long for in Maestros in general. Great work, man. I'd like to do some improv with you some time.
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From:hujhax
Date:Tuesday (5/26/09) 12:43pm
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You're awesome, Peter.

Thanks!

That's the kind of stuff I long for in Maestros in general.

*nods*  IMHO, the best Maestros I've been involved in were the ones where everyone was fighting to do scenework even though all the setups were v. gamey....

I'd like to do some improv with you some time.

Michael Thomas and I have a standing bet regarding the next time either of us does a scene with you in Maestro.  Sadly, I cannot divulge the nature of this bet until the bet has been settled.
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From:phylomath
Date:Monday (5/25/09) 9:06pm
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From:zinereem
Date:Monday (5/25/09) 11:53pm

Re: no, seriously, your cake is war

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agreed!
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From:zinereem
Date:Tuesday (5/26/09) 12:03am
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As I watched scenes from the wings, I had lots of ideas popping into my head of what the next scene ought to be. This is probably bad form; I suspect an improvisor is better off ignoring such thoughts, focusing solely on watching the current scene, and trusting the next scene to take care of itself: plan nothing, step out on the stage and do whatever feels right.

For me, I work exactly the same way. You can't help but think of what the next scene should be. I think it's absolutely fine, and even a good thing in a narrative. You're inspired and know immediately "what comes next" in your brain. As long as you continue to pay attention to the scene at hand, you're golden, I say.
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From:hujhax
Date:Tuesday (5/26/09) 1:19pm

Thanks!

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Neat -- I was wondering about that....
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From:majcher
Date:Tuesday (5/26/09) 9:01am
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I believe that I will also be in the "all dude" Shakespeare show on the 6th. (Which strikes me as a little strange - specifically casting an all-male improv show seems a lot like planning an all-meat barbecue, but I'll take it.)

Also, I only caught the last minute or so of the show, but I thought the timing on the ending was just fine. And Maestro was, indeed a blast - come on down any time.
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From:hujhax
Date:Tuesday (5/26/09) 12:54pm
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I believe that I will also be in the "all dude" Shakespeare show on the 6th.

Ah right -- *fixes cast list*

Also, I only caught the last minute or so of the show, but I thought the timing on the ending was just fine.

~ w00t! ~

And Maestro was, indeed a blast - come on down any time.

~ cool ~
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