Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The BIG IF - Barcelona Improv Festival Nov 2013

The first international Barcelona Improv Festival was where I was at last week. It was a big paella of super fun and great improv. I have come back with a lot of exciting formats, techniques and approaches to analyze. It was great to see some old friends and make many new ones. Some (but not all) of whom I manage to name-check (or name-drop?) below.

Old friends:
Lamabati from Israel, who in their show created a great world before the lights had even gone up. And then once they were up, proceed to build on it and make a truly fun story.
Jstar from Atlanta, who I think is a manifestation of some joyful, mischievous deity.
Several of the Estonians I met in Finland who have really leapt up several levels in their playing.
Noah Levin, co-organiser of the festival and one of the movers in the Barcelona scene.
BIL from Belgium who were not there as a group, but managed to sneak a super fun show in anyway.
I look forward to seeing and playing with all of them more.
I should also thank my fellow easylaughians who had a great show. It’s always fun playing with you guys.
easylaughs by Alessio Carone

New friends:
It was great to see how high the level is in Barcelona. They all have good energy, play really intelligently and have great presence.
Impro Acatomba, a local Catalan group, confidently took to the stage with three of their number and joyfully created fun scenes based on genres with some extra difficulties.
It was so nice to meet Heather Urquhart and Joe Samuel (of The Maydays, UK), who reminded me (amongst other things) that choruses should not be big and clever but simple and direct. It was also fab to have the whole festival underscored and generally lifted aurally by the genius fingers of Mr Samuel.
It was awesome to meet and see Mike Brown, a lovely man who did a really solid solo show based on the family of an audience member.
The French team, Lilyade from Lyon, performed a wonderful longform, with elements of farce, mime and soap opera, inhabited with characters with real emotional depth and drive.
Do Not Adjust Your Stage, from London, gave us a set of great scenes which owed a lot to the great British sketch tradition of strong characters in strong situations.
ImprovBoston Allstars headlined and created a high-paced show with an astounding array of edits and ways of taking one scene into another. They masterly brought back themes and situations, weaving them together to create a huge fun knot at the end. They also happily messed with each other.

Thanks to everybody I met and remet in Barcelona. So many wonderful individuals. Everyone who entertained and supported me on and off stage. Enough superlatives. To the next festival.

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