Duo Improv?

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Duo Improv?

Postby poltergasm » January 16th, 2013, 10:50 pm

Hi all,

What are your thoughts about duo improv?

Specifically: what duo shows have you loved, and why? What formats do you like most in duo shows? For those of you who have done duo shows, what warm-ups do you find most helpful?

Any and all feedback is very welcome. Thanks.
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Re: Duo Improv?

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » January 17th, 2013, 10:55 am

when the two players just take utter joy in playing with one another and have a good rapport, i love it. the responsibility for editing/ending/transitioning scenes is increased since you can't count on wipes from the side or anything, but it also increases your awareness of the scene and feel for the timing of it. some of my favorite duos are Get Up, Nerdvana, The Amie and Kristen Show (The Kristen and Amie Show), Jokyr and Jester, Three Falling, The Amazon and the Milksop, Firth and Arjet...and of course 710 Split. ;) for warm ups, Jeff and I do a lot of word association (Mike D'Alonzo gifted us with a great variation, wherein you associate the next three words each turn...which we've lovingly/lazily dubbed Tripwordass) and word at a time story, and any other story exercise that strikes our fancy.
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Re: Duo Improv?

Postby Ryan Austin » January 17th, 2013, 11:59 am

The duo shows that grab my interest personally are the audience interactive and pre-determined character stuff. like...
Super Mega Art Show,
Jorak and Jorak do movie,
Code Duello. (less interactive, more narrative I guess)

Part of what I like is that they are pre-determined characters and setups, so the audience gets it quickly and the performers just play. They screw with each other and the audience and focus hard on committing to finding organic work. I dig it.

There's a ton of great duo groups that do all sorts of different formats. But the narrative duos don't catch my fancy the way these types of groups do. That's just me though.
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Re: Duo Improv?

Postby Jon Bolden » January 18th, 2013, 3:55 pm

I have a lot to say about this and I don't want to forget to tell you about. Remind me to tell you next time we're in person!
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Re: Duo Improv?

Postby Meghan W » January 22nd, 2013, 2:30 am

At the Toronto Improv Festival last October I really enjoyed a group that I think was from Toronto called Two-Man No-Show. Like people above had said, they were just so obviously having the best time ever making things up with each other. They used the WHOLE theater, they had the audience play minor parts, they played one long scene with many, many different characters, and the whole time enthusiastically YESed and especially ANDed. It really felt like watching two people doing the thing they enjoy most with the person they most enjoy doing it with.
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Re: Duo Improv?

Postby jillybee72 » January 22nd, 2013, 4:34 am

My favorite duo warm-up is Ping Pong. One player makes a sound and motion. The second player 1) takes it in 2) responds. The temptation is to gloss over the reaction, take the time to really take it in. Once you've done sound & motion for a while you can add in dialogue.

BUT!!! Most duos have really personalized warm-ups that might not even resemble warm-ups. For example, if you've watched "Trust Us This Is All Made Up" you know TJ & Dave, the best duo in the world, just spend the day in each other's company and be in the world. Joe Bill & I each listen to music on our MP3 players and then trade headphones with each other at random intervals, to see where each other are tonally and how we intersect.

Razowsky & Clifford have a very simple useful format. They just drag chairs around and stop and start a scene from there, rinse, repeat.
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Re: Duo Improv?

Postby jillybee72 » January 22nd, 2013, 4:35 am

OH! A little secret theme to all of these duo formats that we like is that each of them is the Venn Diagram of what those two people enjoy. I love a duo format that is clearly what Meghan is saying, what those two people love best in all the world.
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Re: Duo Improv?

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » January 22nd, 2013, 10:25 am

jillybee72 wrote:My favorite duo warm-up is Ping Pong. One player makes a sound and motion. The second player 1) takes it in 2) responds. The temptation is to gloss over the reaction, take the time to really take it in. Once you've done sound & motion for a while you can add in dialogue.

BUT!!! Most duos have really personalized warm-ups that might not even resemble warm-ups. For example, if you've watched "Trust Us This Is All Made Up" you know TJ & Dave, the best duo in the world, just spend the day in each other's company and be in the world. Joe Bill & I each listen to music on our MP3 players and then trade headphones with each other at random intervals, to see where each other are tonally and how we intersect.

Razowsky & Clifford have a very simple useful format. They just drag chairs around and stop and start a scene from there, rinse, repeat.


yeah, Jeff and i each take an earbud to my iPod and listen to Ceremony by New Order before every show. i like yours and Joe Bill's version, we should try that!

and watching R&C onstage is like a master class in "oh, right, we literally don't need ANYTHING except what's already on the stage with us!" among other things.
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Re: Duo Improv?

Postby shando » January 26th, 2013, 1:51 pm

For me, duo improv is the best, as you have probably guessed, for the reasons Jordan mentioned. You have to always be listening, you have to edit from inside the scene and then also be ready for the next scene immediately. There's no hiding, you're always onstage, and you have to really inmprovise still since you're playing with a partner. No time to plan or for your mind to wander on the wings. It's such a beautiful highwire act to have show go well. Fortunately I've been blessed with a duo partner for whom I have to always bring my A-game just to keep up.
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