Last night was THE night that i stood in front of an audience and acted like an idiot. No, I am not talking about me in everyday life, instead it was the first time I stood in front of an audience and performed improv.
Throughout the day i had mixed thoughts about the big event – i wouldn’t say it was being scared, i have been in front of audiences quite a few times performing or singing – it was more nerves that you get when you are going to an interview but when you are in it you actually feel fine and in the zone.
The show i felt went really well – we were split into two teams and were competing to be the winning team. I really liked my team because everyone got involved and pushed it to the limit. There were a variety of games that we all got involved in, including a story telling game called die (which i got into the final round and drew), freeze tag, same scene three emotions, the alphabet game etc. It was great seeing fellow improvisers grow and perform on stage as a lot of us were doing the rat race for the first time and to the audience it didn’t show.
It was a great night and a really good learning curve that makes you want to go back on stage again to maybe improve or up your game even more. This time another woman won the overall top Improviser award which is great to see that they are shining in this game especially when its predominantly male dominated.
The reason that I am going to talk about Lee Evans in relation to the Rat Race and improv is because I find Lee and inspiration in the comedy field and also relates to this article quite well. I have always grown up watching Lee Evans if television but didnt get into his stand up until I was writing my dissertation and wanted background noise and asked my housemate to borrow his DVDS. Needless to say that day i got distracted completely and ended up watching his stand up with continuous laughter and hilarity.
There are many reasons why Lee is one of my favourite comedians but one of the main reasons is the way that he uses the stage and his physicality. He doesn’t just stand still like most comedians instead he uses the whole space and is like a jelly on legs with some of the movements he makes. I own all of his stand up DVDs and when i get asked why its because I never get bored of them. I can laugh at the same joke a thousand times because his movements or actions that go along with it usually are the reason I laugh. Also for me Lee Evans is sort of a comfort blanket in a weird sort of way. If i ever feel homesick or miss my friends and family that are scattered all down in the south i will put one of his DVDs on and instantly make me feel better.
I recently watched one of the Extras on the Monsters DVD where it shows how Lee prepares before a concert and how he spends time on his own getting in the zone. Before I left my house to go to the gig i did a similar sort of thing. I find that I am my calmest when i put on some good tunes and sing along to them and i did this yesterday – for me music instantly makes me feel calm and at peace and i felt that it helped a lot.
The one time that Lee Evans popped into my head yesterday was when i was part of a game called one scene three emotions. This is a game where you first act out a mundane scene such as hoovering or ironing and then the audience pick three emotions to act out the scene again. We got anger, dread and ectasy. When we were doing this the first thing i thought of was be as physical as you can and use your emotions of your face as much as you can.
“People have accused me of walking about in a dream world, seeing things around me others don’t see. But, you know what, I don’t care. I’ve never liked beige” – The Life of Lee (Evans)
I really enjoyed performing live (like i always do whether its acting or something really silly like playing guitar in front of a bunch of exchange students over in England to learn English and you forget the chords so you write them all on your leg so you can read them on stage…… but that stories for another time) and look forward to doing it again in the near future.