An Exhaustingly Grand Week
I knew last week was going to be wearing, I just didn’t realise how much. The day times were filled with running around answering questions, figuring stuff out and attempting to provide guidance for others. Oh, and screaming down the phone at those who repeatedly failed, misled and deceived us. Ho hum. I actually rather enjoy the frenzied business of it all. It’s a fabulous change from the months of mind and soul numbing agony of preparation. Of course I’ve also been getting to work for a bit after half eight each day and leaving after six, so that’s taken its toll.
The evenings though… oh gosh the evenings! We have been fortunate enough to have the lovely and quite bonkers Susan Messing over to train and perform with us – more down below. Suffice to say we were training Monday and Tuesday evening, Wednesday afternoon, performing in the evening and then jamming on Thursday. It should have been a full five days of improv but the Glee Club let us down with some catastrophic scheduling failure and we discovered at 5pm on Friday that we did not in fact have a show that night. Fuck.
|This Week’s Scribbles||Writing|
|My Thrilling Life||Events and Excitement|
|Lego Blog||Media Intake|
♥ This week’s scribbles
Tuesday Shankistine: Pure Poetry Rage If you can’t say it in prose, use verse.
Wednesday Lego Blog: Steampunk Squad Progress of sorts with my dapper gents.
Thursday The Desert Crystals Part 15 “Blood’s The Thing” Our heroic explorers get lucky, sort of…
Friday Film Review Round Up: Monsters University, Now You See Me, The World’s End (2013) Three decent films in a row? Great!
Updates on my thrilling life
Last week was a total failure and I am still rather unhappy about it. Getting to work early, leaving late and being out every night kinda killed my capacity to scribble. I desperately want to get back on track this week – although I had tonnes of fun there’s a lot of personal satisfaction in getting the writing done and I find my self-esteem and confidence take a hit when I let my imaginary audience down. I think it also kicks in a strand of anxiety about somehow dying creatively. Ah fuckit. I have to get it together this week! I’ve already penned this week’s Desert Crystals episode – part 15! I can’t believe it’s lasted so long without even hitting the expedition’s main objective yet.
Autofiction: An Unexpected Lament All sorts of things can make me sad.
I’ve been picking up a few odds and ends of Lego Friends this week. I still adore the colour scheme, but I need more bricks! I’ve also got to dismantle some stuff… aside from the minifigure collection I only have one shelf to fill with Lego glory and it’s pretty packed out at the moment. My birthday’s coming up though and with it I shall finally open and build the Lego Jabba’s Palace I’ve been hanging on to for the last six months. Now that’s will power ladies and gentlemen.
What a week! I’m no improv nerd, I don’t know the names and faces of the US improv scene. I’ve got a passing familiarity with the history and some of the major influences, but beyond that I don’t really care. I’ve got plenty of other stuff to geek out about in my life! What I like is adding something new to what I know and feel about improv. I have zero interest in just copying what someone else is doing and I don’t care how successful they are at it. That’s not the point – improv to me is not a formulaic exercise, it’s a continual learning experience of human synthesis. I don’t like being told what to do – it makes me walk away.
So Susan Messing was a blast of fresh air (much like the thunderstorms that accompanied her arrival). Monday and Tuesday were twin three-hour evening workshops on the themes of Joy and Specificity. A lot of it was listening to Susan expound on her feelings about improv and how she continually reinvests in the sheer joy that it gives her. She finds that joy by committing herself to the details and using them to generate and inform characters. It’s a fun approach and it certainly pays off. The organic way of beginning a scene, of discovery that leads to further and frequently more bizarre revelations certainly appeals to me. It’s great to hear someone else describe how you feel about something – hearing it from another’s lips makes it more real and concrete. Susan has numerous mantras that run through the workshops about being immersed in the reality of the scene, sticking to what you’ve established and milking the joy out of it.
I found it useful and I laughed an awful lot. It is always useful for someone else to confirm your experiences and feelings. We’ve had teachers before who have said much the same things about improv, but I’ve rarely encountered anyone who is so passionate about it and who believes so deeply in the art. That impressed me. We also spent a chunk of time with the Fisticuffs team, learning some new ways of playing and reinforcing the group. We talked quite a lot about our hopes for MissImp and what we could achieve together – it feels pretty good and hopeful for the future. Personally I shall take away the feeling of adding to a scene by participating in the world rather than trying to make an entrance funny or valuable as an end in itself, the value and fun of adding detail (something I already enjoy) and remembering and using it later, and of just how much I enjoy playing with my teammates.
We had a show on Wednesday, allowing Fisticuffs to play together and see if we’d picked anything up. It was a great deal of fun, though I felt we were affected by the usual problem of jamming our heads full of information and trying not to trip over it. So unusually it was our group scenes that were the best and funniest rather than our two player scenes. Cool! We were followed by the glorious Project 2 with Chris and Katy. That’s a sublimely entertaining science fiction longform show, exquisitely crafted out of accident, ingenious choice and raw geekery. Fucking brilliant. The final act was Susan’s UK edition of her long-running show Messing With A Friend, in this case our lad Lloydie. It’s lovely to see other people perform and produce a show unlike any other (hell, ain’t that the whole damn point of improv?) and I think we nailed that as a show – three completely different sets by individuals and groups working together beautifully. Now we should have world peace.
A bit weird – I’ve been crazily busy (as you may have detected above) so reading has been squeezed into that ten minutes of breakfast or waiting to fall asleep (these slots may coincide). I’ve read a very odd book, Bukkake Brawl – I’m not certain how to characterise it… oversexed cyber-punk perhaps? I haven’t read the other shorter stories in the collection yet, but I will eventually, It has a certainly relentless insanity that I could appreciate though I fear it did call out some measure of prudishness in me. You’ll really have to read it yourself to get the idea. Next I switched genre, age range and many other things including e-ink to paper for Holly Black’s White Cat. I knew her name from the fantastic kids’ books The Spiderwick Chronicles. This is the first in a series of novels about Curse Workers (dab hands – those with the power to change memories, luck, life by laying bare hands on another). It turned out to be a most intriguing tale. I highly recommend it to you.
Events and Excitement
Gorilla Burger – Thursday 8th August
7.30pm at The Corner, Nottingham.
Live improvised lunacy from anyone willing to get up on the stage. Bring your own booze!
Knickerbocker Glorious – Saturday 17th August
11-3 at The Fountain, Market Place, Derby.
MissImp will be appearing three times performing the unique excitements of Unspeakable Acts.
MissImp in Action – Friday 30th August
8.30pm at The Glee Club, Nottingham.
High energy improvised comedy show.