Comedy in the Absurd and Class Show Prep

Throughout the last eight weeks, there has been a series of highs and lows. There were moments where I felt a click and thought, “Aha! I get it!” Then, the next week, I found it difficult to think of anything interesting and thought that I hadn’t made much progress at all. After last week’s click during the monologue deconstructions, this week’s class felt easier the whole time. As always, there were better and worse scenes, but on the whole, I felt more comfortable and that my ideas were better than they have been in the past.

There’s so much that goes into making a great scene; sometimes you can’t quite put your finger on what happened, but you know that it was something brilliant. In some scenes, it’s as simple as “poop.” To me, a poop joke is the quickest way to my comedic heart. However, this week I think we overused poop just a turd—oh, excuse me—a tad. And here, I continue to do it! In other scenes, for most of the dialogue, the situation seems relatively normal; then the last line turns everything on its head, leading to hilarity. These twists and turns often elicit raucous laughter. In some scenes, the story line that’s happening is so absurd that you can’t help but laugh. In these kinds of scenes, even if the players are doing something completely normal, their acting normal in the context of absurdity is funny.

I’m nervous about the class show, but also excited. It’s a strange experience to try to prepare yourself mentally for a performance that you can’t prepare for in any other way. I guess one solution is to watch a lot of improv or to practice with your team. But in terms of personal preparation, as in accepting the fact that in a week’s time you will walk onto a stage with absolutely no idea of what you’re going to do once you get there, it’s a trickier task. I have no idea how I will react under the new condition of having an audience present. Will our team dynamic change? What if I’m on stage and absolutely nothing comes into my head? From what I’ve learned throughout this class, improv isn’t ultimately about any one person’s performance, at least when you’re part of a team. It’s about communicating and supporting each other. However, that’s an easy thing to forget when you’re faced with the performance anxiety of improvising in front of an audience.

Whether the show goes well or not so well, at least there’s a team margarita with my name on it afterwards.

-Jillian McCarthy

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