Long Form Entertainment (336th new thing).

September 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

On Day Three Hundred Thirty-Six I had attended a total of three entry-level improv classes with Automatic, and decided it was time to see their Tuesday night show. It was a different format than the short-form “games” oriented Friday night performance. The show featured a “special guest” who shared stories from his life and then the improvisers took ideas from what was said and created an impromtu show.  This form of improvisational comedy called “Long-Form,” where there may not be a punch line after a few minutes. It was the first time I had seen such a performance.

This Tuesday, the guest was a formerly featured “Worst Cook in America” from some TV reality show. He told a story of being bullied from his childhood and then paused to let the actors take the stage. I think I was expecting a more literal translation of the story, but in fact the actors only took bits and pieces of the narrative and created an entirely new scene. Bits and pieces like the name of the chef’s mom or how the bully of his youth taunted him.  Other events happened in the scene and by the end, it was not too similar to its inspiration.

The short narrator on stage read another excerpt from his papers and then with distress announced to the audience that he had just farted because of nerves. It was awkward, especially since we sat in the front row and I was highly worried the toot was going to be a stinker. Fortunately we all survived and the actors once again took the stage for their loose improvisational interpretation.

We sat through about four reading/performance sections of the show. It wasn’t until the end of the hour that I finally fell into the rhythm of the show. I guess I had walked into the theater expecting the usual improv games and short bursts of energy and it tainted my reception of this version of long form. Or maybe the show just wasn’t that riveting.

Either way, I can now say I have seen long form improv.

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