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

Monday (1/4/10) 3:00pm - ... wherein Peter posts the latest improv update.

Micetro, 1/3/10
I tried doing another Micetro this past weekend, mainly because Bob was in town.

I doubt I'll ever get the hang of live performance, just because I can never get a feel for the audience.  What do they want?  What's working?  What isn't?  I never know, because usually I think of the audience as "that occasional braying noise that I'm trying to ignore."  I especially notice this with Micetro, which is usually a lot more interactive, and a lot more wall-to-wall funny, than other formats I've worked in.

That said, I did okay.  I hosted a 'word-at-a-time advice' sketch, and did alright.  The expert identified himself as "Horatio Horatio Johnson", which led to my giving him all sorts of monikers, including "Ho-Ho-Jo".  I could have given the 'expert' more crap about his more cryptic answers, but oh well.

I was in a 'family portrait' sketch.  In this setup, a family has to hold still with cheesy smiles for a glamor-shot photo session after something awful has happened.  For the 'awful thing', the audience suggested 'pancreatic cancer'.  What followed was the first (and only) funny improv sketch about cancer I've ever seen.

For my part, I sort of broke the game a bit.  The comedy in 'family portrait' comes from keeping a cheesy grin while your lines are all bitter/sad/angry/etc.  I had my character be the one person in the group was generally upbeat and sanguine about the fact that my brother had pancreatic cancer.  (One of my lines, "Stage two, bitches!", was immortalized on the 'best lines of 2010' thread.)

I torpedoed one scene later on.  Two guys on stage were messing with a weapon of some sort, and mentioning wanting to test it out.  I walked in front of them, figuring I would be their first innocent victim.  I then aimed my line of sight downstage, so I couldn't see them shooting me with it.  Then the scene became about the weapon being a dud, and then... well, it got weird.

Still, the show was pleasant.  I guess the audience had fun.  Generally I find Micetro to be a chance to hang out with improvisors while spending a few minutes here and there putting on a show.


One More Night
Progress on the Arabian Nights show continues apace.  My sultan costume arrived a few days ago.  (Maybe we could use it for Shahryar?)  We're starting to do run-throughs with costume elements.  Audrey is getting the press release ready and gearing up for set construction.  There's a lot of discussion online about the source material.[1]

Generally things are still looking good.  I think we've got the hang of the weird blend of storytelling styles -- pantomime, dance, song, poetry, narrative -- and we're starting to get the 'stories within stories' thing to take shape.  Audrey's been nailing down a bit more of the format, with the host emerging from a crowd scene at the start, and the performers never exiting to the wings, but simply disappearing into an onstage audience that's seated and attending to the latest story.

Lately, we had a bellydancing-specific rehearsal, a rehearsal that was all about storytelling through dance, and a couple of run-throughs.  So far, so good.


_________
[1] After some discussion of plot credibility, I suggested that the Rule of Adventure Stories might be, "If you have a choice between either doing something sensible or doing something awesome, always do something awesome."  (I suspect I stole this line from Danger Patrol.)

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From:zinereem
Date:Monday (1/4/10) 3:38pm
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"Two guys on stage were messing with a weapon of some sort, and mentioning wanting to test it out. I walked in front of them, figuring I would be their first innocent victim. I then aimed my line of sight downstage, so I couldn't see them shooting me with it. Then the scene became about the weapon being a dud"

I wasn't there, but honestly... it sounds like it's their fault for not making a noise of some sort when firing the weapon... or at the very least, saying "Oops forgot the safety" and trying again.

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From:hujhax
Date:Monday (1/4/10) 3:41pm
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Yeah, I was thinking along those lines, too -- though frankly, they may have said something like that and I just didn't catch it.  In my head, I'm filing the whole incident under 'collective SNAFUs'....
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