Willunga Almond Blossom Festival Debriefing

Posted on 30 July 2009

Last Sunday my TheatreSports improvisation class was asked to perform for the Almond Blossom Festival. This was a great way to farewell all the wonderful people with whom I’ve been developing my performing and improvising skills before moving to Melbourne.

The festival itself was charming. I watched open dog trials where little scruffy moppets up to proper sheep dogs jumped through hoops, walked over bridges, ran around gates, etc. They had two Scottish marching bands. For the first time ever I watched Morris dancing live. That was amazing. I’ve heard people joke about how twee Morris dancing is with its bells and ribbons, but if you take the bells and ribbons away, you’ve got healthy men practising hitting one another with swacking great poles. I think it’s a cunning way to disguise the fact you are learning a martial art. And of course lots of tasty flavoured almonds were available everywhere for munching.

The performance hall is a small space attached to a basketball court. A number of young dance and music groups were presenting their stuff all day there. While my impro group warmed up in the green room, I had the pleasure of watching a group of zombies and Michael Jacksons costume up and head onto stage.

Last year we had separate children’s and adult’s beginner impro classes. This year for the intermediate course, our instructor combined the two classes. Even so, the adults and the children tended to keep to separate groups, which I found a bit silly and therefore started mixing it up. Eventually, I was doing more with the children. For our performance the two kids who were participating and myself agreed we would all wear tie-dye t-shirts. We kind of became a team.

When our time came Kyle, Daniel, and I did such TheatreSports games as Genre Replay where we created a story, then did it over again in three different genre styles such as comedy, horror, and opera; Emotional Replay; and Stunt Doubles where any time two actors in a scene were about to perform an action, they would call out “stunt doubles!” and a couple of stunt doubles would do the action in as extreme and outrageous manner as possible, then call back the actors.

The one game I played exclusively with the adults was Slide Show. For several public performances of this I’ve been dobbed in as the person telling the funny story about the still image my compatriots form. It’s nice having your team say, “Can you do the storytelling, you do it so well.” Again I received laughs for my performance in this. I’m going to have to figure out how to do impro storytelling for a standup routine.

I feel I’m still having a tendency in my performances to go straight to the top of my emotional range and staying there, rather than varying things. I was pleased with how I made reasonable use of the performance space, finding good motivated reasons to move up, down, and side to side (forward and back was done, but a little problematic with that space). Overall the day was great fun and a success. Congratulations to the rest of our dedicated team of comic actors and a special thanks to Jeff and Anne Simmons of ImproNow!

I’m looking forward to learning and playing with a new TheatreSports group in Melbourne.

Peace and kindness,

Katherine


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