Big in Japan had a great set of improv at Harold Night last Monday. Maybe not because it was the funniest or best improv we’ve ever done, but because we accomplished a goal for our performances that’s eluded us for the last couple of months. We’ve been working on evolving the Harold format, which is normally quite a strict structure, based on the suggestion. It’s difficult because we’ve been drilled in the the Harold format for so many years. To spontaneously spin it into something new is something that we’ve had trouble doing. We’ve worked on it in rehearsal, but that’s easy because you have time to stop and discuss it, or freeze it and try it a different way. Once we hit the stage, we usually end up falling back into the structure and playing it out like we can do in our sleep.The audience gave us a gift on Monday night. The suggestion was “anarchy.” It was just what we needed. We tore the Harold format to bits and threw it to the wind. We shattered the fourth wall, bolting into the audience, the tech booth, and backstage to perform our scenes. We dragged an audience member onstage and improvised with him. We included a plastic plant that I found backstage in the cast. We turned the lights out on our own set and did a bit of a Bat in the dark. When we felt we’d had enough chaotic fun, we stormed off the stage and declared our set over. We loved it. The audience loved it. The venue… not so much. Apparently we got charged for the damage we did to the theatre. The charges are ridiculous and fabricated, because we didn’t break anything other than a tabletop plastic card holder that they probably got for free from a brewery, and the Harold format, which is easily repaired. We certainly didn’t throw a chair at an audience member like they claimed we did. Anyway, we feel like rock stars now that we’ve been fined for destroying things. We can thank them for that.
The rest of the week was pretty uneventful, actually. I worked in Montreal, as usual, and then made it home safely this morning. I managed to get my hands on tickets for the Arctic Monkeys on May 12. They were one of my favorite bands of 2006, so it’ll be loads of fun to see them play.
Oh I know what else happened… I started renting an apartment in Montreal. I’m sharing a two bedroom place with a co-worker. It’s about a 20 minute walk to work from there, which isn’t bad in the summer. It’s a huge change from the place across the street where I’ve been staying up until now, though. I haven’t moved in yet, but I will when I return to Montreal on May 8. I’ll be spending the week here in Hamilton to take care of a few things. I have some photo shoots, a couple of meetings, and a doctor’s appointment to go over the results of my MRI.
And finally, I did a shoot tonight with a new model named Mel. We took some photos to continue my Rebirth series. Here are a couple.
They’re very different from each other. I was playing with different visual and emotional “textures.” Not sure how to explain it better than that. I guess that’s why I have a camera.
Man that sounds like a lot of bullshit, paying for that? You’d think that troupes that give the audience such a blast would be let off the hook easier.
You better show some pics of the apartment, yo. And that 20 minute walk might be killer in winter! Hope the public transportation is good 😮
The pictures don’t really make me think of rebirth, though. Actually, a bit of the opposite. The second one does make me think a bit about rebirth, but I think it’s because I’m trying to associate them with the theme. It does make me think of rebirth but not the precise moment, but the prelude of it instead. Like “well im chilling now but I’m about to rebirth, w00t!”
Then again, one could argue that rebirth isnt always envigorating and full of energy.
What other formats are there other than the Harold?
hope your knee is better…
and about the fractional lear jeT ownership…where was your sense of houmor eh?? I guess that one flew over heads like that chair! hehehe!!
lol bro i was pretty wiped out when i talked to you and didn’t really understand what you were talking about, then you got all offended because i didn’t get the joke! anyway, yes, fractional lear jet ownership is hilarious 😛
diny, there are lots of formats… many are based on the harold. there’s a pretty good description of the harold in wikipedia. there’s the bat, which is a harold performed entirely in the dark. there’s the armando (named after NYC’s armando diaz), which is a series of scenes inspired by monologues given by a guest monologist. there’s the commando, which is like an armando, but where the improvisers provide their own monologues. there’s a montage, which is just a series of scenes that examine a theme taken from the audience suggestion. there’s the sybil, which is a solo longform piece. there’s code duello, which uses improv to discover the reason why aaron burr and alexander hamilton ended up in a duel to the death. there’s crazy eights, which i invented 😛 and consists of a card game punctuated by scenes from each player’s life… new forms are constantly being invented and performed. you should come to toronto to see the improv festival in august. you’ll see tons of different forms 😛
can’t wait to see what you guys come up with tonight. you rock stars you 🙂
you should do a bit on what comes to mind ie: fractional lear jet ownership” eh??!!
interesting to see what comes up!