Sunday November 10th filled me with pride. My 301 Patterns & Games class performed their showcase. And it was great.
Their energy was high. Their support, unwavering. And their commitment to building collaborative patterns using the rubrics’ guidance led to hilarious moments.
Those rubrics? The One Person Scene. To The Ether games. Help Desk games. Hey Everybody games. They’re narrowly focused on different ways for a group to build a pattern together. A group doesn’t need to be narrowly focused on them to be successful; as I hope this site makes abundantly clear, a “good” game is whatever a group builds together.
But, uh, oh man, when a group keeps it simple with a quick, clear progression, it’s easier to keep the mechanics tight and more likely the game will heighten to a satisfying punch.
First we have a “classic” Help Desk game. Victor literally sets up the scene with an “It’s a good day to sell…” initiation straight out of the first class in which the game-style was introduced. Emma makes an emotional choice the moment she steps on stage. And when the two interact their dialogue is deliberate and crisp, making it easier to remember. Victor takes his time with his mime while Emma ramps up her urgency. And they keep their interaction brief.
All Katherine and Tyler (and Nick) have to do is heighten the urgency of the situation. And Victor just has to do what he’s done. And they do.
Next is another Help Desk setup. Morgan establishes a Kissing Booth and Molly transacts with him. Tyler diverges from the “classic” version (where Morgan would have transacted for more kissing) with a crystal clear Set move – he’s manning a Handshake booth and adapting Morgan’s lines to this new context is easy. Emma delivers a knockout Cement move – an Eye Contact booth! Simple. Satisfying. Funny.
This next game? So clean. So good.
It’s a To The Ether. Offer: An astronaut and stars. Set: A pilot and clouds.
The progression is leading us to earth and Emma lands there; she’s a farmer loving the soil. And now it could have Reset there, juxtaposing the farmer and the fly boys but Katherine follows and heightens the progressing simplification of professions and chooses to be unemployed.
Now it Resets. And, as is ideal, Nick sets Katherine up to “touch” success. Nick and Victor can’t be touched. Emma can touch the soil. And Katherine, in her underwear on the couch, can touch whatever she wants.
A little taste of Poles. A little twist with employment and the elements. All still very simple and clear. The audience embraces it, follows it, and loves it.
Lastly? Is it a Help Desk? Is it a To The Ether? It leverages aspects of both. What it is for sure is a beautiful example of support, trust and simplicity culminating in a laugh fueled by collaboration.
Six players quickly take and share the stage. Their base is emotion. Their lines are crisp. And the pattern is clear.
So funny. So simple.
Getting up in front of a live audience to make something out of nothing with a group of people in-the-moment is complicated enough. Why work harder for less satisfying results when you can keep it simple and do Improv As Improv Does Best together?
This 301 class gets it.
Performers are Morgan Allen, Emma Bailey, Molly Burke, Kristyn Nazaruk Canfield, Victor Haskins, Katherine Koussis, Robert Torrence, Nicholas Waddell, and Tyler Webb
And here’s their FULL Show –