Mashing up format Archetypes

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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby Jon Bolden » January 9th, 2013, 12:27 am

Also, I'm incredibly flattered to be put into the same category as Ratliff!!!
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby bradisntclever » January 9th, 2013, 11:17 am

Spots wrote:Experimentation of thought! Again, how would you begin to create new thing?

For me, I like to start by really trying to understand the existing formats. Once you get them down, you can figure out what the strengths of the format are (ie - La Ronde is fantastic for developing characters and avoiding plot) and what you like about them. Then you can start tweaking or combining format ideas to see how those work. I don't think you have to have a great reverence for forms, but it helps to really try to understand the purpose of each one. As long as you find something that inspires you on stage, great!

I'll even give you two examples I can think of: The Starter Kit really enjoyed the La Ronde and practiced it a bunch before we started to make tweaks. We eventually liked doing one full rotation with our four members (AB, BC, CD, DA) and then breaking out so that any two characters could meet up. The rotation allowed for character exploration and served as inspiration for the second part of the show, where we could start making connections and play interesting traits off one another. Is it textbook La Ronde? No. But it was more inspiring to us and preserved what worked about the original format (being able to see the same character in different contexts).

The Starter Kit also created a murder mystery format that required a lot of lengthy discussions during practices. Troupe members pitched format ideas, we experimented, discussed what worked and didn't, then went back to the chalkboard. Eventually we settled upon a format that had a bit of a source scene, then turned into a monoscene with pop-outs once all the characters were figuring things out in the room with the dead body. Once we had that down, we ran it a few more times in practice and added in elements like unreliable narrators. The shows weren't always clean, but the format was really fun and everyone had a good time with it.

Spots wrote:A dusty is what Spirit Desire used to do. It's what BROWS does here in New Orleans. It's very loose and basically you can pick anything & bearhug that to inspire the next scene.

I'm curious to know more about this. I saw Spirit Desire 3-4 times and enjoyed them, and I've been lucky to be able to practice in a group with JPR up here. I know you say it's loose, but what do you mean by bearhugging an idea? Just curious.
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby PyroDan » January 9th, 2013, 12:02 pm

You did good Mr. Bolden. Personally I know your a good guy. :D

Jesse, don't be such a pussy.

Love,
Dan

Now my thoughts on format?

I like to steal bits and pieces of anything I see and piece them together as a starting point. The format Checkbook uses was something I was toying around with, and it has form, but the more it is played with, it really allows for each piece to have it's own structure.

It's just 3 simple things...
Create Character
Create relationships between those characters
Then exist as those characters.

But I borrowed from a form my old college troupe created that we called the Our Town, which was first person character monologues directed at the audience and intercut back and fourth between the players, it established characters and allowed for performers to share inner monologue style play with the audience and scene partners. Then a La Ronde, this established relationships. The ladies of Checkbook have progressed from only 2 person scenes to a an array of scenes, just with the knowledge this portion of the piece is for relationship development. Finally a montage. Scenes as those characters, with those relationships. Sometimes their is story, and arcs, but there doesn't have to be anything linear.

I love it, and will play with it till I break it.
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby TexasImprovMassacre » January 9th, 2013, 4:42 pm

bradisntclever wrote:
Spots wrote:A dusty is what Spirit Desire used to do. It's what BROWS does here in New Orleans. It's very loose and basically you can pick anything & bearhug that to inspire the next scene.


I'm curious to know more about this. I saw Spirit Desire 3-4 times and enjoyed them, and I've been lucky to be able to practice in a group with JPR up here. I know you say it's loose, but what do you mean by bearhugging an idea? Just curious.



Thanks, Brad. I missed this.

I am also curious to know what you mean by bearhugging an idea?

Pyrodan wrote:my old college troupe


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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby TexasImprovMassacre » January 9th, 2013, 5:48 pm

In thinking some about this post, I like the idea of breaking forms down into the variable components.

This is something that I think of often when considering "form"...I recently took a workshop with Bill Binder and he was comparing creating characters to the color picker in photo shop. Specifically the one that lets you add a little more of each channel (I believe they are called?)...a little more blue, and a little less yellow and you end up with a completely different final color. Then he asked "what's the improviser hex code for jealous foreign roommate?" or something similar...then my mind sort of exploded.

So, I think it would be interesting not only to break forms down into their variable elements but to perhaps see if these elements wind up in different groups, and what those groups might be labeled...I suppose for no real reason than to perhaps have a better understanding of things.
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby Pdyx » January 9th, 2013, 5:57 pm

I'm guessing the concept is similar to the "rabbit hole" idea. I've recently heard Buckman use that term. Something interesting comes up, and we move to a new scene to chase that idea. So if I mention in conversation to my roomate in a scene that I went to the tailor and he served me a cocktail, we cut to a tailor shop that is also a bar or something like that? Then in that scene, someone mentions they have a pet iguana, and we go to an iguana in a glass terrarium, then the iguana sneezes and we follow that to it's logical conclusion (Iguana doctor office) or whatever, etc.
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby PyroDan » January 9th, 2013, 7:14 pm

It was Freudian Slip, which essentially every Pdog who went to A&M is a former member.

The genesis of the Our Town was actually a natural progression of improvising an exercise without full understanding of the exercise (screwing it up) but something beautiful evolved out of it. It was a form that evolved quite a bit in the way it was played. I could type it up some time, but it is probably better to talk through it face to face. We did a show once, where I came in late and played a dressing mirror that was so disgusted with the ugly girl that would stare into me wishing for a husband, that I started a brush fire. That was in a show, and afterwords it was like "So, we can play inanimate objects that can be personified logically without that personification being the "Thing" in the scene.

I loved performing it, I got to be the mirror, the tail of a boa constrictor and The Kracken.

Fslip used to play with form all the time, mostly spurred on by what we could do as a challenge and what would be fun. Oh school days.
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » January 10th, 2013, 10:38 am

i LOVED Freudian Slip back in college! Well Hung Jury got to play with them both here and up in College Station and it was always a blast. just a great sense of play, and super gracious.
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