I went to an improv showcase in the city last night to get some reps in before a big audition next week. I took a fellow Salsation member with me and tried to prepare ourselves for a night of getting up on stage.
We schmoozed a bit with the teams there and with the event coordinator just to get a feel for what potential there was for getting up on stage as well as in what format. There were 5 teams for the evening each with roughly 15-20 minutes of time. That's plenty of time to do a showcase for improv, and I felt we could get lucky enough to maybe get our own set at the end.
Once the show started, I was in for a lot of surprises. I felt like I went back in time and was getting schooled all over again in the different ways of improvising and putting up mini long-form improv. Most of the people at this jam were from the Improv Olympic (I.O.) school of improvisation. I could totally tell just by the focus of what the material and style itself consisted of. I was introduced to the JTS Brown form, which actually was a form pioneered by an I.O. team of the same name helmed by Jason Sudeikis (Saturday Night Live), T.J. Jagodowski (T.J. & Dave), Peter Grosz (The Colbert Report), Ike Barinholtz (MADtv), Jack McBrayer (30 Rock), and John Lutz (television writer) (30 Rock). I had to look it up during the show just to understand what they were trying to do and what the charms were supposed to be of this form. I also saw a couple of two-man teams go up and do their thing which reminded me of just how hard it is to carry a show with a minimal amount of people and just how important it is to be on the same page both with skill and support.
As the night wore on, I notced that my already weakened voice was getting hoarser and softer. Shite! I was losing my voice! And I needed to go on stage in a bit. So, I laid off th evoice hoping that it would heal enough to get through our set. We ended up joining a ton of people on stage for an improv mixer, and I was thrust into the world of I.O. improv. With a jacked up voice and being a bit rusty, I went on to do the best I could for the night. I had one scene that I felt had a lot of potential to be a really good scene had we both taken the time to listen and support each other a bit more. Instead it fizzled out.
Overall, I am glad I got a chance to meet a ton of new people in the scene and will most likely return to play.