I decided to start my 2017 with a 5 day intensive training course. I had seen a couple of improvised musicals created on stage in Tokyo by Tokyo Comedy Store, and I was curious about the skills needed to do this. When I saw that Showstoppers, who are an award winning improv group, were teaching these skills in London I was really keen to go and try it.
This was a step-up in complexity compared to the improv classes I normally attend. We did create the plot, characters, dialogues, and scenes in the moment, but we also added song and dance. This course also involved long-form improv, which was new for me, as I have been learning short-form improv.
The goal of the course was to learn how to create a 30 minute musical on stage in front of an audience. Learning how to create improvised songs with choreography involved lots of listening to the pianist and your fellow players. When it works it looks like magic, when it doesn’t it can be very clumsy and awkward. But by the end of the week we had gotten very good at listening to each other and also at being clear in what we planned to do next.
The highlights of the week were creating lovely duets, creating my first improvised solo song, and getting to play Alice in Wonderland in a 30 minute musical.