September 6, 2012. That was my last post. Where have I been?
I moved home; the evening of Sunday, December 16, 2012.
On October 28, 2012, my grandfather (whom, along with my grandmother, raised me) went into the hospital for an elevated heart rate. A week later, he received a triple-bypass surgery. He was recovering wonderful for a few days. Then he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke which paralyzed the left side of his body and caused swelling of his brain. To allow for the swelling, a large portion of the right side of his cranium was removed. Complications have continued since, more than I can name. This, combined with how miserable LA had been making me, convinced me to come home.
This is how I think 2-Person scenes can be defined. Am I off-base?
In any 2-person scene, there are a minimum of three parties involved: You, your partner, and the audience. There might be more in the case of support work or less in the case of a solo show (an improvised solo piece is still you and the audience). Regardless, for a scene to be successful, you need at least 2 Points of View, where at least one is normal and at least one is unusual. The audience will pretty much always play straight man, which leaves you, your scene partner, and/or the back line.
That leaves us with about 4 or 5 types of 2-Person Scenes:
Dom submitted me FAR more often than I submitted him. I don’t know if I submitted him at all. Maybe once or twice total in our years of doing jiu jitsu together? Most of my submissions came via a pretty sneaky and quite nasty arm choke my friend and teacher Magno Gama taught me at the Renzo Gracie academy in NYC, but Dom was too smart for it. In my defense, Dom was aware that I had gimpy elbow joints and would almost exclusively target my left elbow, which he knew to be the weakest part of my entire skeletal structure. Smart play on Dom’s part? Or underhanded exploitation of a friend’s weakness? I’ll let you decide for yourselves.
As improv nerds, of course Dom and I compared jiu jitsu to improv. There are some odd coincidences on a basic level: First off, Renzo’s school is on 30th Street between 7th and 8th, and the UCB training center is on 30th between 6th and 7th. Secondly, Renzo’s school and the theater itself are both in basements.
But as for the comparison of the arts themselves? Always fun to talk about, and I would maintain that they match up eerily. Keep in mind the rest of this dumb essay comes filtered purely through the lenses of conversations held years ago between myself and Dom, who are Renzo/UCB guys to the core:
This month, America’s Best Charity Group is supporting Planned Parenthood!
Thursday, August 23 from 9:30-11pm.
The Little Modern Theatre located at 6474 Santa Monica Boulevard.
Join thrashtown!, Don’t Delete, and headlining powerhouse team Last Day of School for an evening of improv in support of Planned Parenthood!
Hosted by Emily Maya Mills
Suggested donation of $5.
100% of proceeds toes to Planned Parenthood.
For reservations, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Day of School - Stephanie Allynne, Heather Campbell, Neil Campbell, David Harris, Paul Rust, Nick Wiger, Jim Woods
Don’t Delete - Lindsay Barrow, Patrick Carlyle, Dan Lippert, Allyn Rachel, Mark Rennie, Melissa Stephens, Steve Szlaga, Drew Tarver
thrashtown! - Franky Guttman, Topher Harless, Matt Lieberman, Angela Nordeng, Zach Olsen, Charlie Roetting, Alex Salem
This is good. I like this. Thank you, Mike Short!
The above quote was shared with me one evening a while back after a show in The Loft. The fellow told me that these were the only 4 rules you needed to improvise…or something like that. He said that this is a Del quote. I have not confirmed this. I can’t find this quote being attributed to him anywhere.
I do, however, think these can be useful after some extrapolation. I say that because we’re only getting half of the equation. I know what you don’t want me to do. What DO you want me to do?
These are my thoughts on the matter.