Day 11: NO (Improv Gladiator Competition Night 1)

9MAh3Last night Switch Committee did a show at the Cornservatory. Unlike other shows, this one was a competition. The format was that each team gets 8 minutes to do a long form set. After every team does their set, they pick from a hat and choose different short form games to play. Members from each team face off against members of the Cornservatory team known as the Improv Gladiators. Our set that we did was so much fun. It had to do with doppelgangers and past/future selves. For example, going into the future and saying hello to yourself. There were 2 people on stage (David and Alan) and Collin was walking around in the background. Turns out that Collin was actually David from the past, but it scared Alan. Alan got so scared he overreacted (as his character) and killed Collin. This would lead to a quick game where Collin would keep coming back to life and Alan would keep shooting him. It was hilarious. I would walk-in towards the end of the scene to reveal that I was actually Alan from another time.  The scene following that was pretty grounded, but the content was very funny. It was between a father (David) and son (me) who went fishing trying to make up for lost time and a lost childhood. We would find out within this scene that my father was a gambler who spent 22 years sitting in an isolated room as punishment for his debts. He had also whittled me a toothbrush out of wood that would cause splinters, which would lead to a quick scene at the dentist. Ridiculous. I really enjoyed one scene in particular, which revolved around me saying NO. One of the so-called golden rules of improv is YES AND. However, you can use NO at times as long as it helps to progress the scene. We were all in a scene at a fast food sandwich place and Alan simply asked if he could order something. My immediate answer was NO. The game of questions and No’s was quickly established. Somewhat of a NO AND instead. It was not a transaction scene because we would end up becoming the time-traveling future/past selves again within this scene at the very end as a nice wrap-up. At the end of the set, we were judged and I was very pleased with their feedback. They said they really enjoyed it and commented positively on things like our listening with one another and the ability to use NO in a way that progresses the scene.

As for the games…even though I did short form for 2 years in college, I completely forgot what the hell was going on in the scene and was focusing on how to play the game. A few stammering seconds went by. Needless to say, the whistle was blown and I was OUT before I even said a word. Thank God for my other team members picking up the slack on this one. Short form is not my forte. However, my friends were able to stick it out and win points for both beating the gladiators and surviving the total time period. At the end of the night, we ended up winning the competition. I was absolutely thrilled because we were in second place going into the final short form portion of the show. Each week they decide a winner and you continue to progress until you have a final face-off (not the one with John Travolta and Nicholas Cage) between the others teams. The finale winner gets a 4 week run of shows at the Cornservatory.

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