Sometimes you get to do something awesome in life like invent a cure for a disease, make a speech that goes into the history books or in my case, perform at the main Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Chelsea. Although I've performed class graduation shows there before, I've never been part of a "proper" show there. But now I have, and I got to do it with an amazing bunch of improvisers.
Yesterday confirmed what I believe about improv. Your scene work is the most important thing. Our format was really simple. The show, 1776, was a Brits vs Americans "battle". We took a suggestion and then a team of Brits would perform a scene followed by the US team. At the end we all join forces and play together. Many of us only met 20 minutes before getting on stage. Aside from a quick "hello" and "where are you from" we then marched back stage, patted each other on the back, and got the hell out there and improvised to a full house.
The audience were fantastic. The show seemed to be really well received. People even tweeted about it and stopped me in the line for other shows to say nice things. That's what happens when you do a bit of the old "Yes...and" and find a good game of the scene. There was no pretentious nonsense. People did what they did and everyone else supported it. I felt lucky to play with such great people.
In the audience for the show was my friend Roland with whom I used to work at Power FM on the South Coast. He's since moved to the USA, is a social media wizard with a sharp brain and all round lovely way about him. We had drinks and some food after the show. He was getting very snappy with his camera and conversation flowed as liberally as the drinks.
I also bumped into Christina Gausas while walking along 6th Avenue. I'd seen her the previous night in a show and we follow each other on Twitter. Randomly, that's the first time we've met in real life.
I caught more shows at the UCB in Chelsea late afternoon / early evening including two mindblowingly hilarious monoscenes, and then headed to the UCB in the East Village. Had a drink, met some folk including the improv nerds crew (Brandon, Chelsea and Steve) and the Brothers Hines (Kevin and Will), and then caught more shows. The improvised directors commentary of Twilight by Matt Walsh was inspired. I then ended up getting roped into a 15 minute show called "Titanic-prov 3D" the premise of which revolved around the anniversary of the movie Titanic and us creating new scenes for the DVD. I think I made it in because I am British and they weren't sure if all the cast were turning up. So 10 minutes before it began I was grabbed, bundled into a tiny greenroom and given a cap to wear on stage. I played a 3rd class passenger who drowned (see below). I couldn't really top all that for a day, so I decided sleep was a great plan.