August 07, 2016

Bout Time, Paper Street Studio Sessions, Victoria

Paper Street Studios do a variety of things in improvisational acting space... lessons, shows, team building and studio sessions.  The latter are smaller sessions in their studio space on Fort. I assume they are moving sometime as the Black/White development takes over on that corner of Fort and Cook.  They are also a great way to see very talented performers, up close, for not much money.

Bout Time is compered by Brooke Cameron, based on a format she developed in Ontario, and has shipped it up into British Columbia for our enjoyment.  It's a competitive format, with two teams of three duking it out to build scenes for the crowd's approval; but with a twist in the rules.  if you've done theatre games or improv sessions, you'll recognize the rough concepts.  But Brooke's imagination seems to take them to evil, twisted places to make it harder for the players.  Watching the verbal and acting gymnastics as they struggle to keep up is all the fun.

Last night, I saw one team attempt to keep a scene about playing jazz in line while Brooke forced them to play the scene backwards and forwards at her whims.  Watching them try to recall the order they had added and removed new elements was as much fun as watching the story line they tried to create unfold.  The best piece was by the female team of '3 Cigs' that made a musical number about living in the South, and turned into a piece about feminism....  taking down the 'father' of the nuclear family for singing over the mother and daughter was an absolute brilliant move.  The discovery of moments like this out of chaos is what makes improv both fun, but also thoughtful and interesting.

The best improv is all about the collaboration between the parts, with each person supporting and building with others to create something... often something that's only seen by the observers.  With the offer of a word or a movement being taken and built on, there's no one person with control.  But the whole team is in some sort of control, all steering and pushing forward to create.

So there was laughter, no-one taking anything too seriously.  But it's not flippant.  The energy of compere kept the audience engaged, while the music from  Matt Cowlrick added to the atmosphere.  3 Cigs won the bout, and will be back again to defend their crown.

Well worth checking out the next one, with the fringe coming up next month it might be a little delayed.

No comments:

Post a Comment