|Is it safe?
||[Jun. 29th, 2009|11:15 am]
The 40 Hour Improv Marathon was definitely a success. |
Brief list of highlights and observations:
- The fact that it happened at all. We had talked about doing it, and I wasn't too keen on the idea of holding out our hands for a business we just bought. But then we basically decided to make it happen, set the date, organized and promoted the thing in a month or maybe 5 weeks. Crouch is largely responsible for it happening.
- I only lost my shit once. It consisted of telling Michael Thomas to fuck off after he found me with his video camera on the catwalk after a Shakespeare show I was particularly angry about.
- I never slept. I only laid down once, for about 10 seconds during Shakespeare, and that was because I was frustrated with myself for not finding a way to be in the show. Not lying down may have been the secret to my success.
- The Bat! Oh man, this show was so fun. Took me 15 minutes to contribute, but once I did, we all fell into a great group mind. Group of 12 all taking the same path through crazy town.
- Starting to blow my voice after Start Trekkin'
- More English at the end of Maestro #2. Fun! I think I went a little crazy in that maestro.
- Dubbed Indemnity. We dubbed over famous movie clips. Thanks to my blown voice, I was in perfect vocal health to provide the gravely voice of Quint during the famous lower-deck scene from Jaws. This was seriously one of my favorite moments of the marathon.
- There were *packed* houses for the second to last and last shows of the marathon. 7am and 8am on a Sunday. That is pure madness.
- My theory that staying up for 40 hours would force me to do some serious work and not be funny was...completely wrong. Turned out that lack of sleep just made me stop censoring myself. I was definitely in the moment, but my exhaustion made me spew anything that came to mind, even if it was a gag.
- We were all going pretty meta by the end. I found myself sometimes commenting on improv, or the marathon experience, but just for a brief moment. I was pretty determined to not let it go off the rails, and I felt an incredible responsibility to keep whatever the scene was about on task.
- Troy, Jeremy and Curtis all had incredible moments of verbal flubs as the time wore on. I think Troy gets the award for the line "He's waid laste to the city" during KaBaam.
- Curtis in the wings, burying his head in my shoulder and pleading "Oh God, not again" after Erika May said "Looks like that baby's got a penis and a vajayjay" on stage during the second to last show. For us, this was a callback to the Look Cookie Slumber Party show from hour 15.
- Running bit of someone walking on stage as a waiter. It was just a repition of an exchanse Beeler had with Jeremy in the first show. Beeler as waitress: "Gin and Tonic, Amstel Light." Jeremy:"Thanks...for telling me what I ordered." It came up again in hour 39.
- Looking over at Curtis during...some show (the soap opera?) and seeing his eyes glazed, mouth agape, and the thousand-mile stare of Private Pile from Full Metal Jacket on his face.
- By the end, I was very meta. And mugging to the audience terribly. I felt like I was cohesive (I was probably totally out of it) and knew what was going on and couldn't help but look at the audience whenever anyone on stage would say something that made absolutely no sense.
- I am proud of myself for biting my tongue and not telling off a completely rude and obnoxious audience member who pounded on the bathroom door before the second maestro. When I opened the door to see if someone had tripped and fallen into it, she was standing there and said "I've been *waiting* for you to finish." I had been performing for 30 hours and was using the 5 minutes before the show to brush my teeth and attempt to make myself remotely presentable. I hope she felt like an ass when the show started and she saw me walk on stage.
- The marathon is a blur of delirious joy.
- I think maybe part of the reason the audience laughed and applauded at so much questionable-at-best improv is that we never let the weirdness of any show bother us. Since we looked completely fine with it, the audience went along with it.
- As it wore on, we all started to do more scenes that were little more than quibbling, involving twisted delirious logic.
Stuff that really worked:
- using large cards/programs as tickets for the shows. Brilliant.
- bringing in guest troupes with their own shows really kept me on my toes and stopped me from fatiguing mentally. I think 40 hours of montage shows would have turned my brain into mush.
Things to improve:
- set the date and schedule, and promote earlier. Promotions materials (posters and postcards) were seriously completey *just* in time for the marathon.
- Clearer list of who is volunteering to do what and when.
- Clearer instructions for volunteers
- Double/triple check ticket sales so we don't oversell.
- Schedule a show that uses the projector (no theater lights) for 1 in 4 shows? After the dubbing and Bat shows, the theater was noticeably cooler.
Overall, the experience was really interesting. I never quite lost it like I thought I would. Apart from being pretty giggly at times, I was mostly coherent, and I did a good job of not getting angry of frustrated. I think if I hadn't had a different show/format to mentally prepare for and focus on every hour, I wouldn't have lasted nearly as long. Having to figure out and focus on a new format made my brain wake up every hour. There were only two times I felt myself glazing over and almost nodding off, and they were during shows that I wasn't actively part of very much.
I don't know what else to say, except that this incredibly supportive improv community made that remarkably stupid idea possible. We're all insane.
Last but not least, a letter I wrote the Archduke Franz Ferdinand during the brilliantly surreal Your Terrific Neighbors sketch/improv set:
Dear Mr. Ferdinand,
Don't go to Croatia. they really don't like you there. If you do go, you will get shot in the head and cause The Great War. That's Great as in very big, not as in really good. Many millions of innocent people will die.
If you do have to go to Croatia, please get pope mobile before you go. Do they have Popes where you are from? Do you know what a pope mobile is? It's a car, with a bubble on it, that will protect you from the relatively primitive bullets of your time.
P.S. Tell Mrs. Ferdinand I say hi.
P.P.S. Crap, you don't speak English.
I'm told my delivery of this letter made it funny. Guess I had to be there.