In my most recent class at Black Box Acting Studio, I met Amrita Dhaliwal. We were assigned a scene from The Memory of Water. We worked on it and ran it in class a couple of times. At break one day, she asked me if I wanted to perform the scene in a show. She talked about how it was shame all the work we would do to prepare a scene and never get a chance to do it in front of an audience.
Like me, Amrita is also an improvisor and she had a slot in a show that weekend to do some improv. She suggested we do a two person form which used the scene as a starting point. I suggested that we drop the rehearsed scene into the middle of the piece, that way the audience might never be sure which scene was from a play and which scenes were improvised. When we ran out of lines from the play, we would just keep going, improvising the rest of the scene.
I was excited to improvise with someone who had some of the same acting training as I did. We share a vocabulary and a desire to push our improv in the way we push ourselves as actors. We did the show and it was a great time. It was great to have a scene partner who is willing to play using all the same tools that I want to use.
So we decided to do a run of the show and we are calling it Joy Joy Tragedy. Each show will be about 80-90% improvised, but at least once per show we will drop in a scene from a great play (or TV series or film). For each show we will have a selection of scenes we have prepared to choose from, so we won’t even know for sure which scene we will be doing on a given night.
We are doing three shows at the Upstairs Gallery and six more at Second Stage (formally the Stage Left Theatre), all on Wednesdays in June, July and August. We also hope to do the show at the Del Close Marathon. If you want to get info about upcoming performances of Joy Joy Tragedy, you can follow us on Facebook or Twitter.