Most compelling?

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Most compelling?

Postby Asaf » December 16th, 2012, 4:03 pm

With so much going on in the improv community, show-wise, it can be tricky to stand out. I'm curious what gets on people's radar these days.

Is it particular groups or performers that compel you? Is it a certain genre or format? Are you more compelled by innovation like what is happening at Free Fringe?

I know it is often anyone of these things at any given time for each of us. But I'm wondering what you find the most compelling.

Personally, I'm at a place where innovation takes precedence. I love seeing new approaches and applications of improv. That's why I do This American Live, that's why I love seeing Austin Secrets doing so well on a regular basis.

What is most compelling for you?
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Postby Spots » December 16th, 2012, 7:24 pm

Commitment. I can be drawn in by a fascinating hook but if performers are lacking in commitment I check out.


Belief behind the eyes. Instinctual gut humor.


In many ways commitment IS an innovation in improv and a reason why many audience members refuse to take a 2nd chance to see a show. They saw a show where performers didn't commit and nothing happened for them emotionally as viewers.
Last edited by Spots on December 16th, 2012, 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby sara farr » December 16th, 2012, 8:18 pm

I'm interested in checking out shows with a strong sense of "Heart" -- as in "intellect, compassion, courage and ardor".

Since I don't know ALL the shows going on around town, it comes down to my either knowing the people involved, or that the show does a good job of pitching these qualities in their "blurb".
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » December 17th, 2012, 12:07 am

strong concept and cast.
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Postby kaci_beeler » December 17th, 2012, 12:43 am

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:strong concept and cast.


Definitely. Also, word-of-mouth buzz and editorial reviews. If someone I trust tells me something is amazing, I'm more likely to go see it.
Sometimes, though, that sets my expectations too high, and I have a hard time enjoying certain shows.

If the cast is clearly having a blast and being playful, committed, and open, that really goes a long way for me. I'd rather see people having fun with a simple format than losing their way in a complicated one.
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Postby Asaf » December 17th, 2012, 1:24 am

I understand commitment and all that stuff, but I want it to be clear what I'm asking.

What compels you to check out a show that you haven't seen before?
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Postby Mike » December 17th, 2012, 1:54 am

Is it a new format, or just "Improvised XX?" Have they tried to really experiment with a genre and improv, or is it a show based on some pop culture topic which is big at the moment? I'd rather see something new than a bunch of people playing archetypes and sticking to a movie/book format for 8 to 10 shows.

I found that P-Graph's traveling Medicine show was one of the mos compelling things I had seen in a long time. It was a topic that nobody had touched before, they put great detail into research, character development, and even the minute stuff like pretending to steal stuff from the audience. Each character was unique, had their own quirks and flaws, and fit with each of the other three very well. I was able to suspend disbelief for that hour or so and not see four of my friends on the stage but four con artists trying to eke out a living in the early 1900's.

I also found IfE's "The Barons" very compelling. It was the way the show was developed; we weren't really doing improvised Terry Gilliam, but Gilliam like characters who are telling stories. Each Baron had his/her own personality and storytelling style which made the show interesting to perform, as we'd try to outdo each other in a bragging contest and we'd never know which one of our "tales" we would be telling next. I wish we could have done more with that show.
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Postby Spots » December 17th, 2012, 2:23 am

Why Us. Why Now.


1.) The people element.


"Do I know the folks putting on this show? Do I admire their work?"


2.) Confidence that this is their baby. That they aren't phoning it in. (all the stuff Mike said)


3.) Then comes the hook. Is there some new element that raises the stakes or gets me engaged.
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Postby PyroDan » December 17th, 2012, 9:28 am

I like to see something risky. Something that has 100% chance to be a disaster that somehow isn't.

I'm not talking about an improv train wreck, but something when you hear what is being attempted, the first thing that comes to mind is, wow this will be a cluster-fuck. That excites and intrigues me more so than anything else.
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Postby Alex B » December 17th, 2012, 11:16 pm

When someone (whose opinion) I trust tells me that the troupe is really good, that the players are really talented and funny, I'll go see the show.

There's something about good improv--committed, funny improv--that's inherently innovative.
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