This Year’s Unscripted is Different. Special.
Prescott Gaylord, the creator of Unscripted, has been its director since it first premiered in 2008. Unscripted is a full two act improvised play with an intermission, improvised sound, improvised lights, improvised sets, and improvised costumes. Gaylord recently shared his thoughts with us about how the upcoming run of Unscripted represents the next evolution in one of BIG’s longest-standing and most beloved special projects.
PG: I love Unscripted. I have loved it – and every cast that has participated in it – since our first show in 2008. Improvisers from different troupes come together to make a meaningful and emotional narrative every night with no script, and it still impresses me. We have players from Lekker, Gus, Plan B, Training for Prom, Bully Union, and Minority Report — and they have chemistry! I have worked hundreds of hours on this show, and I still get amazed at some of the stories that come from this event.
In Year One, I saw a fan unable to stop laughing into the next scene after witnessing two grown women chew lovingly on either side of a rubber ball made of fingers. (Seriously, he could not stop, and his seat neighbors had to try to calm him down.) In Year Two, there was audible rage against a character from two members of the audience. Year Two also witnessed a silent audience weep with all the characters at an impromptu funeral. In Year Three, there were two fans who begged me to make the night’s story continue in the following show. (No.)
This year feels different.
We started in a new place. Everyone arrived at the first rehearsal ready to go deep – and personal – just the way we like it.
If you want a definition of stage chemistry, come on any night when Fred Lohr and Kathryn Carlsen are on the stage at the same time. I dare you to try to take your eyes off them as they toy with each other. New chemistry with rookie and veteran players is emerging as well. This is one of the most fascinating things to witness. There is no doubt when this cast is on stage — they are actors. Actually, it is easy to forget because you are pulled in deep to the story that they are creating that very moment, and those characters that are emerging. What they don’t look like are improvisers. I know that is a strange thing to say, because they are improvisers, but not in the common understanding of improvisers as people who are there on stage to make you laugh. But they will make you laugh. And they will make you weep, and wonder, and love, and believe.
I have always tried to tell the actors when a scene feels magic to me. They appreciate it, but it is almost unnecessary this year. There is so much magic, that it is frequently expected now.
This year feels different, because the cast became greater than the sum of its parts (as it always does eventually) almost immediately. We cannot wait to share this work with another year of audiences.
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