Mashing up format Archetypes

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Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby Spots » January 4th, 2013, 1:25 pm

So in this example I'm just curious when you take 2 simple formats and try to blend them. This is going to be semantics but what would you call this?

Players intimately familiar with both formats could easily make this work.

We are taking a La Ronde and Close Quarters and simply alternating between the two. Of course it would work but it muddles up the archetypes a bit & causes players to juggle. (Did I go? Did Julie go? Are we on the same location now or a new location?) Ultimately whatever happens happens, it doesn't matter. The form is supposed to inspire & not be obsessed about.


Even though we are mashing up BOTH formats it seems to me this is moreso a La Ronde than a Close Quarters. Do you feel the same way? No? Can you put your finger on why? Close Quarters is more whole or comprehensive about the location... something. I can't put my finger on it.


We open with two scenes in the same location, and from then on we keep a character from the previous scene.


Scene opens

in Location 1

character A
character B


Next scene opens

Location 1

character C
character D


Next scene opens

Location 2

Character from previous scene
Any other character/s


Location 2

Character from previous scene
Any other character/s

Location 1

Character from previous scene
Any other character/s


Location 1

Character from previous scene.
any other character/s


Location 2

and so on....





In this example the archetypes we're juggling are characters & locations. With either pure form it's quite easy to keep track. Does anyone have other examples of mashup formats like this, and can you break down what constraints or archetypes it mashes up?
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby Spots » January 4th, 2013, 5:02 pm

For discussion feel free to call this example a "Round Two"


(as in two locations. Round Three would be 3 locations, Round Four 4 locations, and so on.)


It's *perhaps* indistinguishable from a La Ronde the more locations you add. But to be honest it might resemble a Dusty or a Monomyth depending on execution. There's characters you may never bring back. Also one character COULD stay onstage for almost the whole show. I'd also make a goal for Round Two to have as many group scenes as you can get away with.



You might notice mashing up two variables creates alot more changes than you initially thought.
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby TexasImprovMassacre » January 8th, 2013, 3:00 pm

What is a "dusty"?


I guess, in my mind, this is semantically a tough one if you wanted to decide if it were more close quarters or la ronde...I suppose if all of the "locations" are within a larger location, than regardless of the order of the players then this would feel quite heavily like a close quarters to me. Also, from your explanation of the order of the players it seems to go at first "ab, then cd" instead of "ab, bc, cd, da" which is what I think of when I think of the le ronde.

Ultimately though, since this format perhaps isn't fully either format, I was curious why the need to figure out which it was more of? I think you said so that you know what to call it, but at this point it doesn't really seem like either a "classic" la ronde or close quarters...So, I might suggest that it deserves its own name.

We once saw a fat guy stuck in the internet show at del close where they mixed up these two forms. They sequentially did a la ronde but in realish time all in one location. So, A&B started their scene in the woods. One was a hiker and one was a park ranger. Then the hiker went off on his own and encountered someone who had lost their dog in the woods, and then the hiker left and we followed the dog guy a to a different location in the woods...I'm not sure what they called this, but since then I have taught this form to people and referred to it as Closer Quarters. I suppose I decided to lean more on that name because the location seemed to be what was most important...that's quite a relative opinion though.
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby Spots » January 8th, 2013, 3:38 pm

The only real purpose is to use a different kind of dialog to talk about formats to get people thinking.


We think of formats as these huge pillars. These things that exist that we shouldn't tamper with. But I just wanted to present my strange way of thinking and use a language that starts a conversation about breaking them down.


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


Those are the two formats which inspired me even though the end result would look nothing like either. 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.
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby Jon Bolden » January 8th, 2013, 4:43 pm

Spots wrote:We think of formats as these huge pillars. These things that exist that we shouldn't tamper with.


In my experience, I don't know if that's true for troupes in Austin for the most part. I think that's the thing that I've noticed the most about visiting troupes during festivals and whatnot, how often they comment about how Austinites don't stick to the original formats (not that it's a good or bad characteristic). This isn't meant to sound defensive but I don't know if saying "we think of..." applies necessarily to this crowd.
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby Spots » January 8th, 2013, 5:15 pm

Rarely am I going to get Ratliff or Jon Bolden or anyone who's been around thinking. If I'm talking improv theory I'm hoping to touch upcoming students & those folks who are overall apprehensive about improv.

I know I could search the forum and find these discussions from 4 years ago. I know everyone back then came to a consensus together. That's that. But that's stale and doesn't offer context to anybody who just signed up for level 2. You always got to keep dialogue churning & moving along, without any sense of proprietary.
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby Jon Bolden » January 8th, 2013, 5:33 pm

Fair enough! I can see that. I didn't mean this to thwart your conversation. I just wanted to clarify if it was more rhetorical or you really thought that Austin improvisers in general were apprehensive about structure.
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » January 8th, 2013, 6:04 pm

Spots wrote:Rarely am I going to get Ratliff or Jon Bolden or anyone who's been around thinking. If I'm talking improv theory I'm hoping to touch upcoming students & those folks who are overall apprehensive about improv.

I know I could search the forum and find these discussions from 4 years ago. I know everyone back then came to a consensus together. That's that. But that's stale and doesn't offer context to anybody who just signed up for level 2. You always got to keep dialogue churning & moving along, without any sense of proprietary.


this comes across a wee bit condescending. first of all, i've talked to and worked with Ratliff, Bolden, and plenty of people who've been around even longer who have very open minds and love to talk about improv, so to say you're not going to get them "thinking" just seems...odd. the implication also seems to be that if we've had this discussion before, we're not allowed to take part in it again. and trust me...i was here four years ago, nobody was coming to a consensus about anything. ;) so if you're just initiating this discussion for newer performers...well, i don't know that anyone who just signed up for level 2 is going to have much context for some of the specific formats you listed, let alone what "archetypes" they are or how/why one would mash them up. which is awesome, because this kind of discussion can help initiate them into that kind of thinking...but posts like this do feel a bit like you're dictating who should be taking part in this discussion and what within that topic they should be discussing. which doesn't feel too much like keeping the dialogue churning.

as for me...i'm all for mashing formats up, subverting, deconstructing, redefining, experimenting, inventing, discovering...whatever excites and terrifies you. 8)
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby Jon Bolden » January 8th, 2013, 6:45 pm

Jesse, what shows have you seen/performed in Austin? This is a real question, not a loaded one. Outside of The New Movement, I mean, because I know you took classes there (at least I think I you did) and performed a lot. Did you take classes anywhere else?
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby Spots » January 8th, 2013, 7:45 pm

Jon this is putting me on the spot in a very specific way. But that's OK.

Every time Peter Rogers uploads something, I watch it. Every time a tape comes across me, I watch it. I watch for very specific reasons.

Yes I've seen how people have been experimenting. I've watched the genre long form everything.



I feel the notion that "people around here" isn't so much a nod to the forum as it is a nod to a specific ingroup of people.

I acknowledge I am not in that ingroup and I made several comments which will ensure that I never am a part of that ingroup. When people communicate with me, they do it secretly as to not stand out.

An email here or there in secret. So others won't see.

Austin is a little tense for me now. When I show up, I'm that guy who had to bring up this or bring up that. I know I will have the same problems I did last year with Moontower in upcoming months. You remember when community members very publicly shamed the festival I helped to organize? Remember that? People were suggested not to volunteer or be involved. Boycott? That was before the lineup was ever announced.

I wish that was not the case.


But I accept it. So when you ask me how I am involved all I can say is that I have a willingness to be involved. And I still have peers in Austin. And I still have a voice in Austin. And I still organize a festival in Austin whether certain individuals enjoy that fact or not.


Just remember to step into my shoes one day and see it from my side. The first opportunity I got to organize a festival - I saw torches & pitch forks. From over here, I saw the dark side of your light side. I saw cognitive dissonance. My willingness is still here and I very much want Austin to be a huge city where people move to perform comedy for a career.


That doesn't mean I have to hang out with a specific group of people here, there, or anywhere. It's a city.
Last edited by Spots on January 8th, 2013, 8:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby Spots » January 8th, 2013, 8:06 pm

For the record, I took classes at Institution originally. Through to the master class. Then I took classes at New Movement and graduated a year later. I watched and filmed shows at all 5 theaters. (verify this fact with each owner) I've played at 3 improv theaters altogether in Austin.

I am a producer for Hell Yes Fest at Moontower & Improv Wins in Austin. (better to talk about them now then wait for the flame wars when they happen)


And everything I do I see as democratizing the scene in Austin. Whether there is an ingroup or not. Who am I to you? Qualify myself? I will.

What happens when someone else tries to do something of note without first taking a bow to the current king of Austin? What happens when someone moves to Austin and opens up a theater without the community's consent? More boycotts?

That's the side I was allowed to see. It's close to being democratized but not yet. Not until certain people find their voices. I'm here & my friends constantly ask me why I bother. The fact is that I care.

Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow... but I'll be at the barbeque 3 years from now. That's why you should care.
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby PyroDan » January 8th, 2013, 11:42 pm

I think the use of the "Royal WE" shouldn't rankle anyone.

There is a wealth of intelligent, opinionated, mover/shakers in the Austin community and their input is valued and often elevated further than they know. I think in the art form or improv it is a duty, of those mover/shakers especially, to illicit the newcomers and those with less confidant voices to contribute, not for the sake of their education but much more for the expansion of the mover-shakers views.

I'm super opinionated and have some chops, but I find more often than not, I am taught more by those who know less.

The following is not an attack, but a brutal realization...

These type of threads and discussions come up and often a post flies in from an elder statesman and shuts down not just the OP, but the common man. It often ends the discussion. Not in a cruel way, but for most like Moses seeing the burning bush and who offers dissent once a burning bush speaks to you?

We face the obvious pitfall of pretension every time we post. I think personal pretension can be annoying, but not harmful, but pretension of community is a killer. I have seen things shutdown on here, as well as uplifted, and to deny that would be dishonest. It happens we are all human, we may be a collection of better human beings, but still fallible.

I will now put my soap box aside.
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby Jon Bolden » January 9th, 2013, 12:02 am

Jesse, I'm sorry you feel that way and I'm not really sure what you're talking about with most of it. It seems pretty personal, from what I can tell. Or at least between you and particular people. I'm sad that anyone would feel that way. All I can say is that anytime you are in Austin, let me know and I would love to see a show you're involved in or perhaps play a show with you somehow (open casted show or jam).

I was only asking because I wanted to make sure your experience with Austin improv wasn't only based on a few shows here or there, or maybe a bad experience at a show. I just see that all the time. There was nothing subversive or rhetorical about it. I was just genuinely curious because I don't know much about you. I seem to have hit a sore spot, I apologize.

Edited for massive typos and shit grammar
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby Jon Bolden » January 9th, 2013, 12:05 am

I agree, Dan.

In short, perhaps Jesse and I were both not imaging the other's word complexly enough or coating it with something that was not there.
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Re: Mashing up format Archetypes

Postby Jon Bolden » January 9th, 2013, 12:06 am

Or maybe just I was, sorry to derail this thread.
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