Proof Positive: Nearly 1 In 5 Drivers Unfit For the Road
“If you’re like me, you take great delight in complaining about other drivers. There’s a guilty pleasure waiting for those of us who snipe, snarl, and generally criticize and complain about the driving habits of others. Now, we may have empirical proof that our superior driving skills…”
Also, the set that Matt and I performed, Reset Button, has been folded in to a new ensemble. Despite these occurrences, for which I have limited culpability, I am happy.
Last Saturday was the fourth iteration of The Mixer, where the names of improvisers are placed in a bowl and drawn at random to participate in scenes; whether he or she is in an ensemble or merely takes classes, any improviser present in the audience may play. I have allowed too many days to pass, so I cannot remember the commentary that I wanted to make in regards to my goals for my improv.
The final name for that new ensemble is still being determined, but its first rehearsal followed Tuesday class, which thereby had an attendance twenty percent higher than usual limit; creative director in both title and nuisance John handled the situation with aplomb.
John accepts students as young as thirteen for his classes; such situation was helped by his directorial ability and the presence of the parents of the boys. While the Roving Imp did shows at the Great Mall of the Great Plains last summer, a family from Desoto was sometimes present; the son Chad now attends class. Kitty is a regular performer, and brought her twin sons Alex and Andrew.
Twelve people participated in class last night, which with John becomes thirteen on stage, and fifteen with the father of Chad and the visiting mother of Matt in the audience. I am making no complaint, only observing.
Ironically, I tend to be more candid in this public, electronic forum than I am in private with my friends. OK OK OK, dispensing with any further pretense, I sometimes find Chad to be annoying to aggravating; inspiring for his energy and ability to uninhibitedly quip; and entertaining in his Up-like tendency to mention squirrels, which he hunts with his father, who also home-schools him.
Spontaneous success irritates careful failure.
— Max McKeown (@MaxMckeown) February 22, 2012
After some exercises with everyone in a circle, John asked us to line ourselves up, according to the day of the month on which we were each born, along the back wall. After in place near the middle, David was pushed into me, but my perception was that two people had been violently shoved by Chad, and I said, “Hey, what the hell?!”
When another circle later knocked around David again, I concluded that no specific person was likely at fault for the earlier incident.We shall now dismiss further discussion for minutiae to which might actually be related to the title of this post.
Next, John had the westren half of the line (i.e., Frank, Alex, Kitty, Andrew, Steve B, and myself) go to the lobby for a circle of Two-Headed Monster; one person says a word, the next person speaks whatever word comes to mind, and the two words are rhythmically repeated by the circle. When that exercise was stopped, my group established a pattern with the second person saying, “Stein.”
John soon illustrated the point of the previous exercise with what he called previously, “Chicken wire,” but now calls, “Spider web,” a method of connecting a string of ideas so that one may think of the first line in a scene; this is perhaps to avoid using the suggestion in the first line. I cannot remember what the initial suggestion, but I do recall parts of the sequence:
“And that makes me think of lederhosen.”
“Which makes me think of varicose veins.”
“And that makes me think of old people.”
John ended with the idea of Hinduism, but was quick to say that going directly to someone speaking with an Indian does not logically follow that suggestion: we should only go two or three layers deep. He then had the western half give a suggestion to the eastern group, who were individually what word that suggestion brought to mind and a first line for a scene based on that.
Following some two-person scenes, we next did three-person scenes, of which I would choose the scene between Kitty, leaning against the wall; Steve A, sitting on a block; and Mary on a chair with casters, as the best. Initially, Kitty stepped away from the wall and addressed Steve A. John paused the scene to ask Kitty why she had moved when she had started the against wall.
“I don’t know, because I’m an unbalanced person,” Kitty replied.
“That’s your character. You, the actor, know why you made that choice.”
Okay, this perhaps the pace of this post should quicken, Kitty basically said that she was about to get to that, and continued with Steve, whose half hour on the mimed computer had expired. Steve replied that he had been waiting on an e-mail.
Mary mimed writing on a pad, “Patient is uncooperative.”
Then John called attention to the drop in the energy in the scene. Mary’s character noted that Steve’s character was always on the computer between 2:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., waiting for a message from his son. Kitty’s character just wanted to check her messages on Facespace before she ate her applesauce. John stated that everyone’s having a want helped them connect emotionally and advanced the scene.
Later, people did not want to let go of my obsession with My Little Pony. I should have taken out my example of Rarity and owned it. On being meta, John rightly called me out. Besides a canned personality, I admit, being meta on stage is a defense mechanism to avoid connecting emotionally, and I was not emoting well last night. Fortunately, the new ensemble and format worked really well in rehearsal, which followed class, so I am happy.