Chrissie already wrote some nice things about tonight’s Indie Cage Match but, since I don’t sleep any more, I wrote a few of my own last night.
Last week, my improv team, Butts, performed for the first time in a full year. Fittingly for a team whose entire existence started as a joke that has yet to hit a punch line, we had our reunion in the middle of a competition. Shockingly, it wasn’t a huge disaster and we won Indie Cage Match.
Because we’re stupid, this week we decided to follow that up with an entirely new form no one has ever done (or practiced) before 10 minutes before the show. If it ain’t broke, completely throw it away and pull something else out of your ass.
Some time in 2010 or 2011, when we used to perform, Ryan had told us an idea he had for an improv form based on the old kids’ show Are You Afraid of the Dark. We all joked about it but I actually really wanted to do it. I remembered it this whole time and kept pestering Ryan for months to actually do it. Nothing happened until tonight when Taylor suggested we do something new for ICM.
A quick run to make sure Pat could find the theme song for our intro and we were set. 15 minutes before the show. We spent those 20 minutes inventing the whole form.
It began with us going out to the scary theme music (Accompanied by spooky blue lighting! Nice touch, Pat!). Then we told the audience that, while we were Butts, for the next 15 minutes, we would be the Midnight Society and that we would be telling them a scary story. We just needed them to tell us what the tale was about. We were telling “The Tale of the…” what?
The audience gave us “The Door Beneath the Stairs” which was perfect. We then gathered around a campfire and, after some goofy chit chat, I began telling the story. After setting up the basics (a young woman had moved into a spooky new house), I threw dust onto the invisible fire and the story started with Halle as the woman, Ryan as her husband, and Jamie as a cackling realtor from Century 21. Soon, Taylor was playing an evil witch living in the basement with Mike D. and Kevin as his evil dolls that he brought to life to murder the young couple who won’t stop having sex in the house.
There was also a bunch of old people who knew the secrets of the house but refuse to save the couple because its too drafty and Mike A. as a grocery clerk who might be there only hope.
We did the whole story including the big ending confrontation where it was revealed that Mike A. was (BIG TWIST!) actually not a human at all but one of the witch’s living dolls who had forgotten where he came from. The couple adopted him and the witch and her dolls moved to a house in Miami where they met another cackling realtor played by Jamie.
Cut back to the storytellers wrapping the story and (BIGGER TWIST!) Mike A. revealing that his Mystery Society member was actually the living doll from the story. Scary!
Anyway, long story short, it wasn’t the disaster that a group of improvisers who have played together once in a year making up a new form 20 minutes before a show should have been. Instead it was one of the most fun sets I’ve ever gotten to do.
We didn’t win this time but it was still an amazing night. Woo!
This was fun! I was scared and nervous and tried to back out but we went for it and it worked. That’s it right there, isn’t it?