The Fictionals Tonight


Here's what I mean about creating moments.
A few weeks ago, I filmed an improv set in front of a live audience with The Fictionals. We've called it "The Fictionals Tonight" and I'm pleased to share it here. The best part of the show is when we work together to create singular moments of focus.

The show was originally 30 minutes long, and we cut it down to 15 minutes to showcase the long-form piece that we performed. We started with some games in the taping, but the long-form really allowed us to create a few special moments. Watch as the scenes unfold and we work together and actively listen as a group. We can feel when the scenes need to change, when we need to support each other, how it can all connect, and most importantly - when we can create singular moments.

Enjoy!

 ~ Catch the fictionals every Tuesday night at Cafe Deux Soleils and the third Wednesday of each month in Improv Against Humanity.
Our troupe link is in my links section (to the right if viewing on the web).

How I plan an improv show & show warm up

Hi improv lovers,

When I hosted QueerProv last week, I set the theme - Telling Our Stories - and I set a goal to have the players bring themselves and their stories to the show. I had a theory it would loosen them up to play in the moment and relieve the pressure to be funny or to perform. It worked. We had a slam dunk show with hilarious and true moments that we all beamed about for three days.


My mission was to encourage true and confident moments on stage. Once I had this mission, I put games together in an order that asked each player a question to inspire the scenes in the games.

Here's the set list I assembled for the show and a detailed explanation of the warm up game. 

Dan


Telling Our Stories 
Intro
Welcome: Acknowledge audience. First timers? Where from?
Introduce Actors, ask for their full names.
Warm up: Home town impressions. Ask Actors for their Home towns. Prompt Home-town monologues as a character.
Games
Game: Space Jump 1234321 - Suggestion: What happened to you this week? 
Game: Act Harder – Suggestion: Someone’s real job?
Game: Prompter Date – Suggestion: Real date story
Game: Scene three ways – Suggestion: Been on a trip? + Errand this week?
Game: Madrigal – Suggestion: Each actor share a goal you have.
Intermission
Long Form: The actors ask me any question, I respond with a minute monologue. Taps and Sweeps for 10-15 minutes. 

Game: Innuendo
Wrap up show - Thank everyone, reintroduce cast, ask for donations, bow.


Here's the explanation of the warm up game that I played that you can use for workshops: 

Home town impressions

I used this to teach the workshop the day after using it in the show. Having the actors do impressions at the start of the show warmed them up to play characters in the show. 
It's also a great tool for workshops because participants get to anchor their characters in the safety of an impression - impersonating someone who actually exists. 

1. Instructions: Ask Actors for their Home towns. Get them to identify a person who was iconic or important to them in their home town. Ask them to think of 3 things that person might say. 
2. Activity: One at a time, actors turn away from the group/audience. They turn back around and adopt the physical and vocal traits of the character they chose. They do an impression of that person and share three ideas or points. They turn back away from the audience. 
3. Wrap: You can then transition and use these characters in a game like space jump or freeze tag. Emphasize that IMPRESSIONS MAKE IMPRESSIONS.... grounded characters can be born in impersonation. 




QueerProv: Why We Tell Our Stories


Tonight, I'm heading to 1181 Davie Street in the "Gay Village"  for a show at 8pm. Odd on a Monday, I know. On the night when most theatres are dark - the queer improvisors come out to play.

It's on Monday nights that we perform QueerProv, our LGBTQ improv show thats been entertaining a dedicated audience in (and out) of Vancouver's west end (in various forms and formats) for more than 6 years. The current format of QueerProv has been running for over a year now.

QueerProv is important for many reasons - the biggest being the community that it has built in the actors and loyal audience.  Our troupe of all queer-identified actors is like a family. We are a community built around telling our stories. Sharing our moments.

QueerProv has taught me that our stories are important. Our unique experiences are important. For us as performers to portray enthralling characters AND for the audience to relate to them.

Monday nights have been our long standing date - where some of us get up on the stage and tell our stories, and the rest watch and delightfully identify with the magical truthful moments. Improv scenes about parent-teacher interviews with two moms or gay bears out on their first date after meeting on grindr. It's a show where we sometimes go deeper with stereotypes and play with characters and stories from the queer perspective. And we laugh. God, do we ever laugh.


Queer Improv was my first introduction to improv in Vancouver... by joining a hit improv show called Tops & Bottoms that REQUIRED me to be queer. Queer in front of an audience. This is a huge requirement when you've spent a great deal of your life pretending not to be queer. Covering. The show demands authenticity and vulnerability. The show demands us to tell our stories.

In my next post, I'll share a warm up game that I used to host last week's QueerProv show, which I themed "Telling Our Stories", and then used in the improv workshop I taught the next day at Qmunity. It's a quick way to create and share a grounded character - equipped to tell stories.

Of course we owe everything to the pioneers who paved the road. What is now QueerProv was originally envisioned and founded by Vancouver TheatreSports League alum David C Jones and Pearce Visser, who taught most of us in the troupe how to improvise. We will be forever in their debt for the community of storytellers they dreamed to build.

No Cover Queer Comedy on Monday Nights. Straights welcome and encouraged.
Our rolling FaceBook Event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/446059948861830/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular&source=1







Wait, A Moment! The blog.

Hello Blog Universe,

Last night, I performed in my 150th paid professional improv show on the mainstage at Vancouver TheatreSports League on Granville Island.


Today I begin my blog.

It was a thrill. I played CANDY, the narrator of our hit show, The Christmas Queen (tickets at www.vtsl.com ... shameless plug, I know...  but GOD I love that place). So, I'm still using my cane as I recover from a disc injury in my back - therefore, my name was CANDY (motion to my cane).

That was one of my first laughs of the night. It was a lovely moment. That's what this blog is all about.

In this blog, I'm inviting you to walk with me as I prepare to move to New York City. Here's the sitch: I'm taking what I know about improv, the amazing training that I've received and that I now teach - and I'm jetting across the continent to live on the Atlantic side of things for 2 years. My wonderful husband Jon will be doing a medical fellowship in Neurology and I'll be doing an improv fellowship of sorts. So, as Neil Degrasse Tyson says in Cosmos.... come with me.

Here's my deal:
I believe that good improv happens when the players work together to showcase singular moments on stage. 
Being "in the now" and "present" contribute to this idea.

As I share my thoughts on improv with you around the workshops that I teach, the shows that I perform in, and the hosting I lead...  they will all be a reflection on creating wonderful moments.

Dan

Blog

My goal is to "be in the now" when I perform on stage, when I teach, and in the biggest moments of my life. These are the lessons I've learned along the way.

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