Long-form improv is a delicate beast. A missed offer here, a beat over-run there, and an entire story can shudder and collapse. So imagine attempting two-act, fully costumed plays on the fly.
Los Angeles based Dan O’Connor and Impro Theatre have done just that withtheir “Unscripted” series, and in the process, transformed a traditional improv troupe into an acclaimed repertory theatre company.
Right click & Save As to Download mp3, or Left Click to Play. (56.15)
In this episode, writer, actor and director, Dan O’Connor, speaks about Impro Theatre’s process of inspiring themselves and the work involved in forging a considerable creative reputation in a city jam-packed with improv troupes. Their Unscripted plays have gathered mass audience and seduced a jaded theatre press into reconsidering just what improv can be.
We discuss the friction and freedoms of style and story. Does the moment compete with archetype or enhance it? How do you spontaneously build a first act climax? Is it okay for a director to get in there and kick a few narrative heads while a show is underway? And what of improv’s natural comedic bent and the perils of dramatic self-indulgence?
And just what does happen when a character in an improv show dies…and the audience weeps?
He speaks of the flagmarks of the journey thus far, and of his aspirations for what Impro Theatre can yet be.
About Dan O’Connor
Dan O’Connor is co-founder of Impro Theatre and San Francisco’s Bay Area Theatresports. (B.A.T.S) He performed Off Broadway in “Lifegame” and in the TNN television series of the same name. He co-created the NBC/PAX television improv comedy show “World Cup Comedy.” and his television directing credits include the critically acclaimed ABC hybrid sit-com “Sons and Daughters” and “Campus Ladies” for the Oxygen Network. He was a writer and the improv director for “The Wayne Brady Show.”
He teaches and performs improv in North America and throughout the world.
LINKS FROM THE SHOW
This is the first Skype interview I’ve conducted. Sound is a m’fucker and my humble apologies for the lower-fi quality.
Conducted via Skype in Mid Feb, 2011 from New York. Show is an edit of 65 minutes raw copy. Pavlov’s Dog segment has been heavily edited for effect.
Sound and images used with consent of Impro Theatre.