Improv comedy you should know

I play epic music when on deadline for assignments.

Trust me: it helps.

There’s something unmistakably intense about The Last Samurai soundtrack blaring in your ears as your fingers dance across the keyboard, an assignment coming together right before your eyes. This week started off deceptively slow and ended in a bit of a blur. It was a frantic finish, thanks to a couple of deadlines for Friday.

Nervy times too, on the performance side of things.

Nat Caf was back again last night. It was good to be back on the improv comedy vibe.

A small crowd had turned up at The Union five minutes before the start. We were due to kick things off at 8pm. People slowly trickled in and about 10 minutes later, Heather and I (tasked with being MCs for the night) ran out and started warming up the expectant crowd.

Heather Tyeon MC
Tyson and Heather introducing the show

The venue’s pale wooden floors and rickety benches were punctuated by a number of familiar faces and a few new ones. As is usually the case, it was dimly-lit and the far side of the wide room had Shane and his crew leaning against the bar counter and watching things unfold.

Not a bad scene.

Anyway, so Heather and I got things started and things were going alright. We started off with a game called questions – where the performers are allowed to speak only using questions. It landed decently.

The first game I was involved in was “Change”. How that one works is that it’s a normal scene and at any point that the MC feels, he/she shouts “change!” and the performer who was speaking or acting has to change whatever they did into something completely different. I ended up playing a 4-year old who found himself in a gun shop (blame the audience for that suggestion) and it turned out pretty… um…
interesting.

A scene from “Change”

If you’re a Rhodes student reading this, and you’ve NEVER been to a Nat Caf show… DO IT! It’s the only thing of its kind on campus and in Grahamstown. Also, the unpredictability and sheer nervous energy of it is so daunting – from a performance perspective.

Just come check it out, will ya? Give it a bash

If you’ve seen Whose Line Is It Anyway, then you have a basic idea of what improv comedy is. That’s pretty much what we do. Very similar (and sometimes identical) games.

It’s been a massive learning curve for all of us in the troupe and we’re finally holding auditions for new members to come in. That should be exciting.

Snapshots from “Translator”

Meanwhile, on the stand-up comedy side of things, it’s a bit quiet. I still write when I can but there aren’t any gigs lined up.

I’ve been asked to come through and MC a couple of events, starting with the Allan Webb Hall cocktail evening on the 12th of May. I’m hoping that environment will allow for me to squeeze in some material. The week after, I’ll be working at the International Week concert being held at the city hall.

Hopefully things work out great. I’m nervous already.

Stay tuned…

-Tyson

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