We’ll experience a lot of new things tonight. Somewhat lamentably, being the only people at a gig is not one of those things.
We’ve chosen to continue our improv education with Longform Fridays, a new night from the prolific folks at ComedySportz. The lesson will be a lot more intense than we bargained for.
As it’s just the two of us in attendance, the first few minutes are more of a polite conversation than anything else. Sean, one of four improvisers we’ve just prevented from clocking off early, chooses to leave the stage and sit with us to explain the running order.
This is our first new experience.
He asks us to tell him about something interesting that’s happened to us that week, which they’ll base the first game around. We then provide a selection of locations where scenes will be set.
Two improvisers begin a scene and, when it’s run out of steam, another improviser tags in and a new scene begins. This, we’re told, is a style called La Ronde. So there you go. Don’t say we never teach you anything.
We’re not going to lie. We feel a bit weird about being the only people there. This might in part explain why things take a while to warm up. Performing to two people can’t be ideal and the first couple of scenes don’t really land, but soon we’re all relaxed and the chuckles flow more freely.
Our quartet create a strange town where socks are made of cheese, a farmer has trouble naming his family members and a French woman frightens all the men.
Writing it down doesn’t really do it justice, so you’ll have to take our word for it that it was good fun. Watching this process unfold always is, regardless of the size of the room. And it’s all for us!
Now for another first, as we’re asked outright if we want a second half. We’re having a nice time, so it’s an easy yes, but even if we weren’t, rejecting that offer would be impossibly awkward.
As it turns out, the second half is our favourite. This time the game is called Scene Painting, where the performers take it in turns to add elements to their fictional location.
We end up in a student house beset by alien invaders, before checking in with a group who are addicted to ice cream. We even go to Johannesburg, purely so one performer is forced to continue with a questionable South African accent.
Just as we’ve forgotten to feel awkward about being the only audience members, half the performers to take their shirts off. That’s another first. In fact, it’s not been your average Friday evening. Not even close. Luckily, that’s exactly what we were after.
What’s your takeaway from all this? Well, it’s that ComedySportz are good at what they do and they deserve better than an audience of two when they try something new.
Shame on you for letting that happen! Please rectify this situation as soon as possible.
Check out the ComedySportz Facebook page for more info about their events. You’ll find Longform Fridays at The King’s Arms in Salford and it costs just £3. We can only speculate what happened to the £6 we forked over.