Like many of you, I'm perusing Eventbrite for a way to avoid household chores. Then I came across the official description of a show at The BIG Theater called Extra Credit: An Improv JAM!
I’m very confused, what is this! So I demanded answers from the show’s producer and host, Barry Wright. This sounds way better than dusting my baseboards. Read on for the transcript of our discussion.
Tell us all about your new show. How might you describe it to someone who knew nothing about improv?
Extra Credit is an improv jam - that means that instead of coming to the stage with a group or troupe you work with consistently, you play with a mix of performers defined on the spot! It's a mixer for improv comedy!
Extra Credit is particularly geared towards new improv students, as the jam mixes students with more experienced players to give them an opportunity to try what they're learning in class with a supportive, eager safety net.
As a jam, we hope you come to play, but you're welcome to come watch as well as long as you laugh and clap with enthusiasm!
For the more knowledgeable improv crowd, what do you hope they’ll take away from the show.
We'll mix a wide range of experience levels and give everyone the chance to participate in a longform montage/swarm set. Basically, remember your 101 lessons of support, and make everyone look great!
What’s your favorite improv game and why?
Freeze Tag! It's a great way to force you to listen for the structure of the scene (when did the current scene hit its peak?) and stop thinking ahead, because you don't know your starting point until the moment the scene stops after you say 'Freeze!'
What was a memorable show that you were in the audience for? What made it memorable and what did you take away from it?
This past year at DCM, I saw North Coast perform what can only be described as an 'Improvised Hamilton' (though the key figure was instead John Lennon). It hit all the marks - fully improvised songs that matched the structure of Hamilton hits, great scenes, and a satisfying ending to the plot. What I learned from this show was that through practice and planning, you can actually embed and hide a lot of structure in a great improv show, without taking away the magic of scenes and songs and characters being made up on the spot!
Extra Credit happens every Tuesday, either before or after Harold Night. Check our show calendar for your next chance to see or play with Extra Credit: An Improv JAM!
Various BIG members and friends contribute to the blog. Enjoy!