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Make graceful and lasting change

Second City Improv All Stars

Cindy Tonkin - August 3, 2008

Took this photo today at the Lakeview Cemetery. I am particularly taken with the name Crescencia. Many of the head stones had a headline – “wife” or “mother” and once “brother”. Didn’t see “husband” or “father”. Don’t know why not!

Just caught the 8pm Second City Improv All Stars at the Apollo Theatre.

The audience was mostly 50+, in small groups (sometimes with late teens kids). Theatre holds about 400, maybe 50 seats were empty. Alcohol was available, but not served in the actual room (unlike main stage which I saw earlier in the week).

I was interested to see this show because it’s short form. All of the players are long form players as well. Three men, three women, four of whom I have seen in iO shows (so they all could be iO as well). Alex Fendrich, who taught week one of my course was in the show, and Steve Wietner who taught one day for us this week.

The show opened with a little self-promotion – “we have been around for 50 years and we created famous people like Ed Asner, Alan Alda, Mike Myers, Tina Fey, Steve Carell” etc etc.

Here’s the show they did.
– Conducted story (a shared story like we do the 2 minute challenge, but no elimination)
– Sing it – player outside the scene yells “freeze” and repeats the last line of dialogue spoken – this becomes the first line (or chorus) for a song. This game went on for 3-4m
– Character monologue (single player)
– Shift left (4 players, 4 scenes, they ONLy shifted left)
– the game where you have to change the last thing you said (don’t know its name) they used one of those bell hop bells for this
– a series of scenes – began as a slowish spontaneous combustion based on the audience suggestion of radish, and the fact it was misheard, then more generic – no scene was longer than a minute
– Oscar winning moment
– an Endowed Debate. They sent out the 2 debaters, and got an adjective, noun and verb from the audience. From that they formed the debate topic (whether mercurial tarantula should fornicate) their “campaign managers” had to mime the details, while they maintained a semblance of political debate (“I totally support x…”). It was a crowd pleaser which built quite nicely, and then it was over.

No host – players took it in turns to explain the game and oversee the play (to yell freeze for the singing or hit the bell for the new line game).

Exactly one hour. 8 “games”.

I am now at iO to give loaded bullet a second chance (wasn’t impressed last Saturday). We shall see.

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