Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: July 2012 (Page 2 of 3)

Melbourne Magic

I have been delighting in the combination of being a tourist, living in Patti Stiles‘ house and having her amazing generosity and insight about what we should do and see, and the whelmingly loving arms and cars and spirits of the Melbourne impro community. It makes reflection quite difficult because we are living so actively, and although I have a million thoughts and impressions pounding through my brain I can’t seem to concentrate for five minutes to put it all down. Enter iPad? (A different discussion)

Melbourne felt like a kind of home after just one day. Its sights are strangely familiar; I keep thinking of Australian Master Chef every time we go somewhere to eat, and I am often reminded of how much like Cape Town it is. It is winter green like home, with the real gum trees (as opposed to our Australian versions) and it sounds the same somehow, except for the birds.

Wow, the birds. I fed magpies yesterday. The female took meat covered with insect dust (Patti gets it from the vet specially) out of my fingers! This morning the white cheeks were waiting for their seed. Every time I see a Gallah with their perfect combination of pink and grey I am breathless. And a flock of the big white cockatoos is hilarious. Not to mention the bizarre sounding Kookaburra.

Melbourne is coffee city, starting at Patti’s house and then in every cafe and eatery. Big Friendly would be very, very happy with the standard and quality of it. Melbourne is also trendy, quaint, easy to learn, accessible, sexy and fashionable. Like Cape Town, only not.

Seeing a city with a group of newly made local friends and other visitors has been a great way to do it. We have moved like a pack in a very organic way, and this has meant mixing most meaningful improv workshops (thank you magnificent  Jill Bernard), a performance with cheeky young impro group Exploding Heads last night, getting to do must-see tourist stuff like the Great Ocean Road and Healesville Sanctuary (Koalas, Wombats, Tasmanian Devils, giant bats, Wallaby, bird show, Quokkas and more), shopping, eating and even being very silly at karaoke.

Tandi left in the early hours of this morning and I am a lone traveller briefly today, until I catch up with Candice again later. I am taking my time this morning, since we didn’t get much sleep, and then I will catch the train into the city. To be honest, that gives me the most joy; I get excited every time I use efficient, safe public transport. Melbourne this might be the beginning of a little love affair. Are you my Australian City? We fly to Sydney tomorrow, which is a whole new exciting thing to look forward to. In the meantime, thank you Melbourne friends.

Improvention conclusion

It’s a lot to digest, but at the moment we all feel like we have come to the end of school camp. My overwhelming sense is one of delight, and sadness that it is all over. We are all a little over inspired, filled with new ideas, passionate to come home and put some of the stuff into practice, and renew and regenerate our own improv scene. But right now we need to breathe, through the lack of sleep, flu and mild hanover. It’s onto Melbourne today; and suddenly we have a whole new group of friends to hang out with. How cool?

Impro Junkies

So last night I jumped from performing a Maestro (which I completely loved) straight into a wild, huge cast for an I Jump You Jump (which was insane and enormous Jill Bernard fun fest). Two chances to perform on the same night! I was so very, completely happy.

Jamie Robertson, who played with us in Cape Town in our early days, arrived from Melbourne yesterday, and it was great to see him, off stage and on. He had his appendix eaten out of him by a monkey puppet doctor. All in a day’s work.

Suddenly it feels like Improvention is hurtling towards its inevitable end and I am already starting to panic. This is what happens when you live, breathe sleep, speak and play impro for a week.

Today I am doing a Giving and Receiving Notes workshop with impro guru Patti Stiles. She really is the most loved woman in impro and people walk around with Patti Stiles smiles. Then, tonight I am going to be performing in Locker Room, a format that we explored in Glenn Hall’s workshop. I’ll probably write about how they were tomorrow.

We hold our final workshop tomorrow morning. I can’t believe it.

Words, Inspiration, Magic at Improvention

Yesterday was inspiration day. It started with me attending Tim Redmond’s workshop Words, Words, Beautiful Words. Essentially, it was an impro workshop using books and authors as inspiration and reference to create, colour, inform and even base scenes and formats on. It was pretty mind boggling for me and I was reminded of that crazy head opening feeling of a class at drama school. I loved the work; mainly watching others make interesting choices. I felt I had passionately over committed to my chosen book and author, which left me waging a war of honour on their behalf. I think I might have had more crazy fun if I had held them a little less preciously, and that’s what’s so hard about trying to fit all this stuff into a 3 hour workshop.

One of the best things about being in a workshop environment is watching others work, both at facilitating and participating. It’s a very levelling experience, and it reinforces all the philosophies of impro. Omigodz I’ve become an impro evangelist. Not like I wasn’t before, only now I have no idea who I am going to do all this stuff to, with and for when I get home.

Then, we saw two great formats of impro shows. First up was Sink or Swim, in which four pairs play out scenes. At the end of the first round of scenes the players pitch what could happen in a future scene and the audience votes to lose one of the pairs. So on, until the last pair’s resolution happens, with the help of the others. Last night’s swimmers were the Austenesque Matilda and Flora and the intimate details of their period lives (although I so badly wanted to see the stalked backpacker and her German friend in six different countries).

After interval we saw show from nothing. Exactly that; a few random scenes, some following on, some not, to build an evening of magnificent impro entertainment. I loved it. I loved the scenes with poor Martin, and his crazy wife, friend and boss. I loved the weird dance scene between the two French crazies. And I loved the relationship and marriage scenes that were played out by Sophia the messenger.

Once again this week I have been delighted, inspired, challenged and made so jealous. I love this shit.

Locker Room, Maestro and Crescendo

Today was the first day of us not running our own workshop, but attending one, and watching two shows, not to mention the obligatory socialising this evening. I am so feeling the love. Improvisers are a really special brand, and my main revelation is Oz male improvisers, who are just totally into the whole feelings, team work, receiving offers, non competitive, generous world of making it up. Quite different from the generalised perception of Oz men, I have to say.

Locker Room, run by Glenn Hall from Perth, was a revelation in theatrical improv, based on character and relationships, and it was delicious for two reasons; one was the participating in it and the other was watching Glenn take the workshop. I was mesmerised by him, and how he works, and the result of it too.

Maestro happens every night this week, where as many improvisers as possible get to play in one of the heats, and the winner of each evening will go on to perform in the grand finale. Tonight was fabulous; fun, funny and delightful. The way short form improv should be.

Then there was Crescendo, a completely new format; an improvised band/show song thing almost impossible to explain. In the first half we met the 10 man band at a rehearsal and we find out the ins and outs of whose doing what (and sometimes with whom). I confess I wasn’t certain about the first half. In the interval we were given forms to write 2 song titles and the title of the band. The second half was the gig; a series of improvised songs based on titles chosen from the audience. Amazing. I have to say that once again I was blown away; a combination of star struck, filled with awe and so jealous. I wanted to be there, up on stage, being in a band.

Hang over 1 at Improvention

It was bound to happen, and I’m pleased it took this long actually. But the three of us are all in stages of worse for wear after a releasing indulgence in Oz beer last night.

Yesterday we ran our second workshop; totally different from the first even though our content was the same.  Then, last night Tandi was asked to play in a “Whose line is It Anyway” style show at the Hellenic Club called Shnitz and Giggles and we went to watch. It’s quite a thing being thrown onto stage with a bunch of people you have never played with and whose references are totally different, but she was really awesome.

After that it was time to drink and socialise. And that is exactly what we did.

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