Sunday 13 February 2011

Amsterdam International Improv Festival pt 5: Transformations

The continuing list of things that stood out for me at the 16th Amsterdam International Improv Festival

How one scene transforms into another is fascinating to me. The world of film has developed scores of ways of taking us from one scene to another and is always looking for the next new technique. In improv, there are about three different ways to change from one scene to another in general use. But we can take our lead from films as we do with genres and themes and try to find interesting ways to jump from one scene to another. Often films use a connecting object or theme to link scenes. For example one scene ends with the camera focusing on a vase of flowers and the next starts focused on a different vase. In improv our objects are air, but we can do the same thing with people and noises and themes and actions.

A good example at the festival on Wednesday was where one actor was the connection between three scenes, being 2 previously-established characters in the first and third scene, and a poster of a boy-band member in between. The lessons well demonstrated here are: make it clear quickly and right at the top what the next scene is and which character the actor that is remaining is to play. It's a bold play, but it's the sort of thing that makes even seasoned players go, "wow."

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