Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Corpsing

I have to confess to being a terrible corpser. Now before all non-theatre people have a heart attack (or alternatively, imagine visions of me being a serial killer) let me explain that corpsing is laughing on stage. You can either corpse someone or be corpsed by someone or the worst, corpse yourself.

Corpsing has a bit of a bad rep. It is considered to be not very professional and it’s supposed to be quite rude to fellow actors. Certain actors have a reputation for corpsing on purpose to get laughs, and that is considered the lowest of the low. They often show corpsing in the out takes or bloopers of movies and TV shows, with the best ones I’ve seen from the Australian sitcom Kath and Kim. Carol Burnett and the late Harvey Korman were terrible corpsers with whole scenes coming to a standstill for minutes while they laughed. The second anyone tried to continue they would collapse. It is totally infectious and audiences love it.

Now in TheatreSports it is really difficult to avoid the occasional corpse because everything is made up on the spot, so you can’t be prepared for what comes next. Most often, someone I am playing with will do something and I will be surprised by it and then I’ll get a fit of giggles. That’s what happened on Monday night when Tandi had to play the horrible character I had created in a scene. When I saw her interpretation of me I found it scary and totally hilarious. Naturally I broke down in giggles and the audience found this even more funny. DSCF0921

Last night’s show at The Kalk Bay Theatre was a different kettle of fish, or anal probe actually. It was a truly bizarre scene in which I was the doctor testing a man (played by Nicholas) in a medical farce (like Green Wing). Naturally, the anal probe was brought in, and I have no idea why I didn’t just shelve the idea, but I felt compelled to use it. The thought crossed my mind that it would be terribly unfair to put Nicholas through the indignity of the anal probe, so instead, I gave him one end to hold and reversed myself onto it backwards. I don’t know who was more gob smacked; me, the audience, the rest of the players or Nicholas, who was left holding an imaginary end of the stick! Obviously I was doubled up in a fit of hysteria. I thought at least that the lights would come down, but they didn’t! I suppose you had to be there to get the full picture, but when Candice came on to clean up we all broke down.

And that’s where TheatreSports can feel a lot like laughter therapy. Whoo Hoo!!!!

Previous

crits!

Next

smoking

3 Comments

  1. Sarah Hansmann

    I’m laughing away to myself just thinking of all the times you’ve made me corpse! I love your descriptions of the scenes, makes me feel like I was there.

  2. megan

    We miss YOU, funny bones!

  3. Ho, Korman – I miss him already!

    Often actors corpose when they become aware of the strangeness of the situation they (and their colleagues) find themselves in. That, arguably, was one of Korman’s greatest gifts to Comedy, he was able to time his corpsing so perfectly and “freeze-smile” while the audience, and his colleagues, got progressively hysterical.

    One of Korman’s best — and longest “freeze smiles” was a scene in which Carol Burnett had a case of echolalia (a disorder resulting in one repeating everything s/he hears.) Korman delayed, repeated and ‘froze-smiled’ with Burnett doing a remarkable impersonation of his shticks. He then ‘smile froze’ for 30 or even 40 seconds (this is USA primetime!!) while Burnett and the audience died laughing.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén