Box of Frogs Workshop: Improv and Storytelling
Saturday 17 November, 10:30am-5pm, Blue Orange Theatre, 118 Great Hampton Street Birmingham B18 6AD
In this workshop we will look at how you can use basic improv techniques like ‘accept and build’, ‘be obvious’ and ‘jump and justify’ to create instant stories, either on your own or as part of a group. We will also look at narrative tools like the ‘story spine’, which can be used to gently guide your improvised stories in the right direction. This workshop is suitable for all levels, including beginners, and will be led by Matt VW on behalf of Box of Frogs. £15 – pay on the day but please confirm attendance in advance. Contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details or to book.
Box of Frogs Workshop: Improv and Storytelling
Birmingham’s top comedy improv group is back on Thursday 25 October – and this time they’re taking on Hollywood. Movie Makeover is a new show from Foghorn Improv, which will feature completely improvised movie remakes based on audience members’ favourite films. Unlike Hollywood producers who spend years developing a project, Foghorn Improv’s performers will create movie magic at a moment’s notice on the night itself, with no scripts or rehearsal. It’s a daring proposition, but promises to be both fun and rewarding, as Kit Murdock, the group’s founder, explains:
“We’ve put on lots of shows, so we know we can make an audience laugh. There will plenty of laughs in this show too, but we also want to give our audience moments of suspense, drama, tragedy and triumph, just like you get in the movies. This format will also provide lots of opportunities for the audience to get involved, which is something we know from experience can turn a good show into a great one.”
Foghorn Improv is the resident improv group at the Old Joint Stock Pub and Theatre, where they perform on the last Thursday of each month. Each show features six to eight performers from a strong pool of local talent. Future shows will include a spoof on university life and a festive Christmas competition between improv teams from across the midlands.
Weekly thingies have been notably absent of late. I’m trying to do my 10,000 hours of improv, you see and it doesn’t half play havoc with your schedule.
One of the few improv events I didn’t manage to crowbar my way into recently was this little bit of magic – some videos of fellow Foghorn Improv performers doing what they do best (by which I mean improv).
Check it out! Foghorn on Film!
And while you’re at it, there’s still time to treat yourself to a ticket for Foghorn Improv’s Party Political Broadcast which is on TOMORROW NIGHT (Tuesday 9 October, 8pm, Old Joint Stock, £10).
Many of you will know the improv exercise ‘What happens next?’ It is a group storytelling exercise in which a room full of people shout out suggestions about what should happen next, which are acted out by one or more performers.
It feels like my life is turning into a version of ‘What happens next?’ – a deranged version in which all the suggestions are GIG! SHOW! WORKSHOP!
Yep, this is a long-winded way of saying that there is a MASSIVE amount of improv coming up in the next few months. Due to the sheer volume of stuff I have decided to create a new page to list it all.
What happens next? Well, I guess you head over to check out what’s on, that’s what.
An exciting new venture from Box of Frogs.
Bread and Circus is the ultimate DIY Improv night.
Come along, put you name in the hat, and when it gets drawn it’s your turn on stage! Games, scenes, sketches, you choose.
Completely free, and open to all levels of experience, including none.
OPEN MIC MEETS KARAOKE, WITH AN IMPROV TWIST!
Wednesday September 19th, at the Patrick Kavanagh pub in Moseley. Starts 8pm.
More details here
Box of Frogs is appearing at The Crescent Theatre this Sunday 9th as part of ArtsFest. 3pm till 3:30pm. Come and be ArtsFested!
Watch this space.
I’ve got a very short thingy for you this week (no gags please, we’re improvisers).
At the workshop I ran on Saturday we played a game which involved two people making a bold physical offer at the exact same time to start a scene. The results were amazing and hilarious. Every time we tried it the justifications leapt out at as. We didn’t let the scenes run on, but the beginnings we had were rich, bold and intriguing.
Afterwards, I realised that I’d seen this happen in a video from MissImp, our Nottingham friends. I don’t think they were attempting it – the two performers just happened to start with a physical offer. Anyhow, the scene is a great example of how this can add depth to scenes as they accept and build on the offers each of them has made.
So here it is – ‘The Albatross in the Room’
Well, it’s only week two and already I’m struggling to find time to write up my ‘Thingy of the Week’. It’s for want of time – certainly not want of thingys.
This week’s thingy is a veritable treasure trove of longform improv on film. Follow this link to watch 16 high-quality videos of US longform groups. These are much better quality videos than most of those on the web as they were filmed in a TV studio using multiple cameras and proper equipment. I don’t know the full story of how they got to be there but from what I can glean from this thread they stem from a project called Acid Test, which was set up in New York in 2006 and involved filming and broadcasting longform performances via the web. Sadly, it appears to be defunct.
I haven’t got around to watching many of these yet (three or four maybe) and to be honest, I’m not a massive fan of the style of humour. That said, a lot of it’s pretty funny and there’s masses to learn from in terms of approach and structure. Every single player in every single group is bigger and ballsier than me, for example. My favourite of those I’ve watched is the Hamptons, for their intriguing static opening and for the guy playing ‘second-base Brenda’.
Practice, gig, practice, workshop, gig. That’s not a formula for improv success: it’s just a description of the next week or two. It’s another improv-filled week including regular week-night commitments plus a trip over to Nottingham to see the debut performance by the recently-formed longform troupe ‘Fisticuffs’. On Saturday, I will be leading a one-day workshop at the Blue Orange Theatre. Called ‘Let’s Get Physical’, it will be a mixture of exercises and games based mostly round environment and working as a group. Places still available and more details here. Then next Thursday, I’ll be onstage at the Old Joint Stock as MC for our latest improv extravaganza, the Shakespeare-themed Improv Smackdown! See you on the other side!