20th September 2023
Greetings from Norway!
By the gods of improv, are you ever at home?
No. No, I am not.
I'm writing this in Oslo airport and by the time you read it, I'll be in Sofia, Bulgaria with Goosehead (my duo with the stupefyingly-talented Emily Jane Kerr), teaching science fiction and watching a smörgåsbord of high-concept genre-prov.
But all that's in my future for now, later tonight, I'll see my wife for the first time in three weeks. And we'll find out if Radio remembers me too.
And I had a koselig-filled time at Theatre Days, an event put on by the Norwegian Amateur Theatre Association, where I got to teach performers of every stripe - improvisers, slam poets, actors and teachers. I can't quite put into words how gratifying it was to help such experienced artists encounter and re-examine their relationship with improv.
Such opportunities don't come around so often and should be rightly cherished.
[Book] Kings of the Wyld
After my love affair with Legends & Lattes last week, I had to seek out more cosy fantasy. Kings of the Wyld has a similarly genius concept. It's a getting the band back together one last time story, where the group in question is a band of magical adventurers. And it's exactly as fun as it sounds. My favourite detail is that, like Spinal Tap's unfortunate string of drummers, the band's bards keep getting killed in unlikely circumstances. So ... not quite as cosy as L&L's coffee shop shenanigans but still a masterstroke of fantasy meets modernity.
*🗡🗡🗡🗡 1/2 Great Swords out of 5.*
[Movie] The Emperor's New Groove
My favourite Disney movie, hands down. Nothing comes close for me. I rewatched The Emperor's New Groove last week and it's still as irreverent, hilarious and utterly bonkers as I remembered it. The question I always wonder is, how did this even get made? Well, according to this article, the answer is by the most torturous method possible. The details are incredible - they hired Sting to write all the songs and then JUST DIDN'T USE THEM, they split the two directors up and made them pitch against each other for the privilege of making the rest of the film and on and on and on. My question now is - how did this turn out so cohesive, tightly-plotted and delightful?
Pull the lever. Wrooooooooong leeeeeeeeever!
My friends and I are on a mission to make Cambio the official card game of improv. It is a genius mix of memory game, deck-building and battle solitaire. I don't much like card games played with a standard deck but Cambio is the exception that keeps a set of Bicycle cards in my bag at all times. The game was taught to me by the incomparable Ella Galt of Barcelona Improv Group. Read the rules here, practice up and then challenge me at the next improv festival we attend together. But beware, when it comes to Cambio, I won't be making my scene partner look good, if you get my meaning?
seven, eight - look at your plate
nine, ten - look at a friend
jack, queen - swap unseen
black king - LOOKIE SWAPPIE!
Remember, remember, the 5th November - because that's when we're putting on another Improv for Voice Actors session with Mark Estdale and his studio, Outsource Media. Mark is one of the best video game performance directors in the UK. The last time we did this course, I couldn't believe how powerful the work was - improv and voice acting seem like a match made in heaven. As well as the day itself, Mark offers the opportunity of an ongoing relationship with his studio, so it's a great way to get your foot in the door of the industry.
For me, deciding whether or not somebody deserves forgiveness often depends on their response to the discussion. If they’re angrily defensive of their actions, minimising what they’ve done, painting themselves as the real victim, don’t seem to see what the problem was, or generally don’t understand or care about the impact their actions have had (regardless of intent), I personally am not interested in forgiving them. Forgiveness in my case is conditional on a belief that whatever happened to cause harm will not be repeated.
I haven't seen Radio for three weeks. He has a much cooler best friend now (my niece, Emily).