Sunday, February 01, 2009

IC Spring Opener 1/30/09

The order:

1) Some More Things I Feel You Should know About Me - Penny
2) Paper Back Rhino
3) Responsibility Fail - Katy Baggs
4) A Series of Tubes - Josh M. And Jack L.
5) Periwinkle Stardust - James S. Roth
6) PBR
7) No I David -Mirri
8) The Bus Stop - David Philips
9) Luke's Got a Funny Bone in his Insomnia - Luke Christensen
10)Put the You-Know-What in the You-Know-Who -by Harry Nilsson Schmilson and his One-Chord Orchestra
11) PBR
12) What if you Woke up and Suddenly you had always been a Frog - Mirri
13) Bear Grifting - Evan Schenck
14) Rural Working Class While Man Speak: A Translational Guide - Dick Roberts
15) Yesterday's News Today as read by Aunt Margie and her bearded Son/Nephew/Great Nephew/ and lover - Chicken A. Biscuit x3 (Maybe with some gravy)
16) Not the Book of Boj - John Bates

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6 Comments:

Blogger Eli Wilkinson said...

I guess I'll start reviewing pieces since I am bored. *Please note that all comments are constructive criticism and not a personal attack*


1) Some More Things I Feel You Should know About Me - Penny

-This piece was alright. I do wish Eric's delivery would've been better. There were too many awkward pauses between jokes. Faster= Funnier with this piece. Don't wait for the laugh. Hit them with the jokes and don't give them a moment to rest.

2) Paper Back Rhino

I think I'll review all of these at once. Now I will preface this by saying that I prefer scripts over improv and some of the stuff PBR did worked very well. Other parts were lacking. I felt that at times the group was not feeding off each other well. Leaving awkward pauses. I also think one of them should've been timing because that 1 to 5 5 to 1 game ran long. Not to say there weren't any hilarious parts, there were, but I think a bit more practice and maybe small explanations as to what the improv game is would help. Hope to see them back soon!

3) Responsibility Fail - Katy Baggs

-Funny but not amazing. I think the piece itself needed more energy.

4) A Series of Tubes - Josh M. And Jack L.

-At first I was worried about this piece after the first few lines about "pussy" but the piece really went somewhere that I liked. A guy looking for the internet and holding people up was a great mix up. I also appreciated that these guys had a script but improv'd and paraphrased a lot of the dialogue. They worked well in the group and their energy was high and hilarious. The dude bleeding to death stole the piece. I really hope these guys come back for more.

5) Periwinkle Stardust - James S. Roth

-Okay James. This is me being honest. My advice: Editing. With this piece I would've cut anywhere from 1/4 to a half of your speech. I have your script in hand now and there is some great stuff in here. But you need to trim the excess. Ask yourself: Do I really need this line? For EVERY line. You may lose some small jokes in the process BUT your more important ones will be appreciated more because the piece is smoother and faster. I also would not have stayed still for this piece. Move around. Build energy. If you need some idea on what I mean try to find a video of Timm Sitzman or Paul Rust performing. But keep at it. I have faith in you.

6) PBR

-See above

7) No I Don't -Mirri

-Mirri's songs are always good.

Oh and Evan you TOTALLY wrote "No I David" on the order.

8) The Bus Stop - David Philips

-I loved this piece. It was mostly improv but with structure. Running lights, I knew how it would end but it was the journey that I appreciated. And the energy. Plus any time you can perform without a script really helps the audience connect with you.

9) Luke's Got a Funny Bone in his Insomnia - Luke Christensen

-Tee hee. This piece had it all. Energy, dancing, Lukes weird ground-hump-crawl. And people got M&M's. Gifts for the audience are always great.

10)Put the You-Know-What in the You-Know-Who -by Harry Nilsson Schmilson and his One-Chord Orchestra

-I give Eric 60% of the writing credit for this one. lol. The repetition was just a smidgen too much but acceptable. In all I thought this was a good piece.

11) PBR

-See above. This one ran too long.

12) What if you Woke up and Suddenly you had always been a Frog - Mirri

-Would this count as a .5? Belches were a bit weak.

13) Bear Grifting - Evan Schenck

-I was happy to see Evan writing because I love Evan scripts. I do kinda wish they would've moved away from the table at some point. But I don't know where in the script to do so. Other than that, great.

14) Rural Working Class While Man Speak: A Translational Guide - Dick Roberts

-This was actually one of my favorite Dick Roberts pieces. It was easy to relate too and really freed Dick's off script chatter to work well and blend with the piece.

15) Yesterday's News Today as read by Aunt Margie and her bearded Son/Nephew/Great Nephew/ and lover - Chicken A. Biscuit x3 (Maybe with some gravy)

-I wish I would've gone with the monologue. This one just did not get the laughs I was expecting it to. Which is sad. I think this is the end of Aunt Margie and her very inbred family.

16) Not the Book of Boj - John Bates

John Bates improv is always good. I just wish more non-performers would get up on stage. Nothing against those who enjoy doing it (the Eric's) but I feel if mostly regulars get up there then No Shame feels more clique-esc. If non regulars get up there then the show is more relatable to the audience. They feel more included. They feel they can perform themselves if they want. Now as for the piece itself. It was all good. The two who made the conjoined twins was a great mix up. I just wish there would've been a way to separate them.

All in all it was an okay first show. I had a couple ideas so take them or leave them. Doesn't matter.

1) Clipboards. Everyone used to have clipboards and I think they should come back. That way you have something to hold your scripts against and help everyone get their eyes out of the page and up (since it is easier to lift your script if it has a backing.)

2) More energy. I feel like PSO kinda sapped our energy. Use the space. Move. Invest more in the piece instead of reading it casually. Its that kind of energy that made No Shame what it is. If no shame was just sitting or standing around casually do you think it would've survived the first few years?

3) This show had a weird mostly improv/ sketch comedy mix. Which is cool. I hope more people show up with monologues and songs to balance everything out.

4) This is a challenge to some writers but it helped me so it might help you: Cast other people in your pieces. Just because you wrote a funny monologue or something doesn't mean you have to perform it. Other people might have give you a better delivery.
_______________________________
Also on a happy note. This was the first show in recent history of us in Theatre B (other than Best Of's) that we have made a profit! So invite all your friends. Cast them in your pieces. The bus is started we just need some passengers.

2/01/2009 3:51 PM  
Blogger luke said...

1) delivery was slow. pauses between jokes were long. I also thought it didn't really work to a climax at all. I got a little warmed up. Then I cooled down, then I was indifferent.

2) PBR's talent usually lies in their games and not their longer form improv, and it kind of showed. It seems the people weren't quite jiving 100%.

3) I liked this a bunch. I don't know about the energy thing. I wished it had more punch bang.

4) This was fun. I was worried about the possibility of running out of words to call women (pussy, tang, kool-aid, etc), but when I saw the contrast in the guy's attitude after he got shot in the leg it was nice.

5) I enjoy a good fluffing joke. Mostly because I know what that is and some people don't and it's like a joke that's meant only for me. I agree with Eli's "fluff cut" note. Theatre should be hightened reality. To me this was just Bj's and Hj's. A harsh reality, but not heightened. I'd like to see this reworked and taken further. What else can be fluffed? what challenges are there in the fluffing world?
7) I forgot about Mirri's CD. I'd like to hear it
9) What I was going for didn't get across to some people. So. I took some notes.
10) This was really fun.
12) I can't burp either

I'll finish later I gotta to theatre stuff :(

2/02/2009 5:57 PM  
Blogger ERIC L. said...

I am also trying to be constructive with my comments; I hope people can take something useful from them.

1) Some More Things I Feel You Should know About Me - Penny
A mixed bag overall. The delivery needed more energy and some of the jokes fell flat, but there were some really funny lines in here. My favorite was "make kids go down the slide when they don't want to go down it." The Renaissance porn line was good too.

2) Paper Back Rhino
I was disappointed that three Rhinos never joined the scene and the other two did nothing to invite them in. Improv needs interaction, and this scene had one person doing almost all the talking. The dialogue at the table produced one or two funny lines, but it went on too long and never built into a larger story. Getting more people involved would have added more energy and ideas.

3) Responsibility Fail - Katy Baggs
I am drawing a blank on this piece. My apologies.

4) A Series of Tubes - Josh M. And Jack L.
I loved the "trying to steal the internet" idea. It was a really fun changeup from the familiar "office guys talking sex" premise that kept the scene from getting too predictable. These guys brought a lot of energy, especially the one who got shot. I hope they all come back again.

5) Periwinkle Stardust - James S. Roth
I think this piece worked as a satire people who are so desperately self-important that they try to get accolades for anything, even if the only one who takes them seriously is themself. I liked how delusional Periwinkle was; good character development. That said, the piece could have used some trimming. It's almost too easy to make fun of the porn industry, so the humor has to be tight when you do try to joke about it. A little more refining would have made this good piece great.

6) PBR
Note for improv performers: Don't ask questions. Asking another performer a question shifts the creative burden of advancing the scene onto them, and if everyone keeps asking each other questions, no one really develops the scene. There are ways to involve other performers without simply asking questions.

7) No I David -Mirri
I remember Mirri performing this song in an earlier form, and I think it's not a bad idea for performers to bring back pieces they've revised for a second go-round. This way they can get more specific feedback to help them hone their writing and performing skills.

8) The Bus Stop - David Philips
I felt this piece was trying too hard. I don't think it works to bring up something weird (in this case, pantomiming everyday activites) and then do nothing more than blatantly point out how weird it is. Also, when I saw the one guy (I'm sorry, I don't know his name) look at his wrist, I just accepted it as a simulation of a real watch because No Shame (and improv in general) often uses pantomime to simulate props we don't have. To have this gesture get called out for being false after I had already accepted it felt jarring because then I didn't know what I was supposed to accept as "real" within the world of the scene. Not being able to create a very good picture of that world in my mind made it hard to enjoy this piece.

9) Luke's Got a Funny Bone in his Insomnia - Luke Christensen
I love Luke's physicality, but I love his commitment to performance even more. He puts so much energy into everything he does, and he owns the stage when he's on it. Good job, Luke.

10)Put the You-Know-What in the You-Know-What and You-Know-What It up - by Harry Nilsson Schmilson and his One-Chord Orchestra
I was listening to this song a while back and found myself imagining how the scenarios it describes might actually happen. I did use the lyrics for dialogue as much as possible (Note: there are even more "lime in the coconut" lines in the actual song that I didn't use). I figured it would either be really funny or really annoying (and I think it ended up being both).

11) PBR
This game had the most participation and some of the funniest lines ("You're adopted. And you're Asian." "I just want to be God.") but it needed more focus. It's tough to build five separate storylines and shift between them, but ideally, each one can work as a self-contained piece. I felt like things rambled on a bit too much, especially with the Grandpa scene.
I did enjoy having Paperback Rhino at the show this week and I hope they come back again and keep getting better each time.

12) What if you Woke up and Suddenly you had always been a Frog - Mirri
I didn't really get this one. It reminded me a little of "Rigga The Fart Machine" (for those who are curious about this, check out the reviews for Fall 2006.)

13) Bear Grifting - Evan Schenck
A funny premise with good writing by Evan. It resonated with me because I've actually eaten a giant steak (54oz) and won a T-shirt (and I did it without the help of a bear).

14) Rural Working Class While Man Speak: A Translational Guide - Dick Roberts
Sort of a sister piece to the "You Might Be A Redneck" routine. I have encountered this kind of person before, so it was funny to me.

15) Yesterday's News Today as read by Aunt Margie and her bearded Son/Nephew/Great Nephew/ and lover - Chicken A. Biscuit x3 (Maybe with some gravy)
This piece dragged a bit. The Top 10 News Stories list almost seemed like a different sketch that had been grafted onto the incestuous hillbilly premise with mixed results. I do like how they used the space though (it's nice to have catwalks again).

16) Not the Book of Boj - John Bates
This one also rambled a bit, though it was pretty fun. I think having that many people to involve made it harder to direct the flow of action, but it was nice to see that kind of enthusiasm from people.

A pretty good show, and here's hoping things keep getting better.

2/02/2009 11:28 PM  
Blogger Katy Baggs said...

3) Responsibility Fail - Katy Baggs
This was not that great and I don't think we acted it that well, either.

Also, I really liked Paperback Rhino's improv - and this is a high compliment from me because improv isn't really my thing - but one of their pieces, the one with five different situations, was looooooong. We don't really enforce the time limit, but it's still there as an honor thing.

I am someone who is guilty of not casting other people in my pieces and I will try to amend this.

I'm not sure how I feel about the new two-foot rise in the Theater Bldg. I liked being on the same level as the audience! Oh well.

2/03/2009 6:17 PM  
Blogger evan schenck said...

I'm not going to write a review 'cos I don't feel it. But:

7) No I David -Mirri

Yes I did write "No I David" on the order. No, I don't know why that happened.

Eric wrote
To have this gesture get called out for being false after I had already accepted it felt jarring because then I didn't know what I was supposed to accept as "real" within the world of the scene.

I actually wrote a piece some time ago that was entirely about this. I liked it.

2/03/2009 6:27 PM  
Blogger luke said...

Luke's Review Continued!

I forgot Bus Stop!

8) I thought this was entirely improv and I thought "wow! what a great ending." Now I'm kinda disappointed. Only a little though, because the ending was still good. The whole thing could have been smoother. There was some dead air, and pantomimes weren't always clear. It was also confusing whether I was supposed to know it was a person pantomiming or if I was supposed to suspend my disbelief. I wish there was some clarification or overt use of mime skills.

13) One of the ones that made me happier during the night. I did think it was a bit long, but not terribly so. Evan and Eric played it well.

14) This has been my favorite of Dick Robert's pieces. Probably because the statements made accurately describe my entire home town. It was a bit like the redneck jokes, but with more of a biting truth to it. The reality behind those statements made it a little hard for me to laugh a time or two. Good Job Dick.

15) I didn't listen to this at all because I was busy being ceiling child. Watching you masturbate.

16) This is the second time I've seen John stump his improvers by trying to get them to spell. Also there were a lot of people on stage. It kinda was like JB was doing all the work and we weren't really contributing a ton...so uh. Sorry about that. I'll try to be a better improver next time.

Overall I was happy to see new performers and PBR was a nice change. As well as Theatre B. I like that when I stand on the stage I feel closer to the audience, but I don't like the big step down. It makes me feel less safe.

2/04/2009 12:01 AM  

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