Thursday, April 8, 2010

Improvisation Theatre with the Audience


A young brunette white woman walks unto the stage in a blue hooded and baggy sweat pants she is carrying a beat up guitar case with stickers on it. She is not rushed, yet determined as she walks to some steps and proceeds to climb to a door. She opens the door.

A young white man in an orange t-shirt walks out from the other side of the stage. He sees the woman climbing the steps and slows his pace.


A man walks out from the darkness backstage carrying a clipboard wearing a headset with a microphone. He appears to be in charge.

The woman on the steps and the young man stop and turn their attention to the man walking out on the stage.

“OK”, the man with the clipboard addresses the audience. “You have seen these two characters.”
There is silenced confusion in the theatre.

“Who are they?”

Shuffling and stirring continues in the seats.

“Step forward” the man with the headset, orders the young man who obliges without hesitation or emotion.

A spotlight illuminates the young man darkening the rest of the stage. Silently he stands facing the audience hands by his side in an expressionless stare.

“Who is this man?”

The silence is broken by uneasy rustling by the patrons who had not expected this behavior, looking at one another for an answer.

“What is his name?” the bellowing voice asked.

“Jake!” one voice called out.

“Bill”, “William”, “Tom”, “Henry”, “Jack”, ….the names filled the air reinforced by additional participation.

“Wait, I think I got it.” The voice echoed from the stage as the names continued to fill the air.


The audience applauded in acceptance.

“You are now Jack!”

The figure on the stage smiled acknowledging his name.

The dark voice continued, “He is 23, living in a small one bedroom apartment, working for a publishing house…. And where did he go to school?”

The audience erupts.

“Yale”, “Harvard”, “Texas A&M”, “Florida State”, “Cal Tech”…. the list went on and on until…The dark voice interrupts the list by yelling, “Think about it! He is working for a publishing house! Where would he have gone to school?”

The silence was broken when the dark voice announced, “Pratt!”

The audience grumbled and stirred some more.

Now the woman with the guitar case replaced the male figure in the spotlight.

“Who is this? What is her name?”

“Sally”, “Susan”, “Linda”, “Arnetha”, “Betsy”, “Betty”…. The names filled the air.

“OK, OK,” the dark voice stopped the offerings.

“Her name will be Susan. She is 28 years old. Recently broken up from a ten-year relation with the love of her life. And she lives an upper flat, one floor up from Jack.”

The spotlight fades, as do all the figures on the stage. There is sound of props moving across the dusty stage.

The stage lights come up.

A young woman walked across the stage from left to steps on the right. She is carrying a guitar case with stickers. Pausing briefly at the foot of the steps, she climbs them with determination and reaches for the door at the top.

A man walks from stage right and watches her as she reaches for the door.


The woman stops and turns to the voice. Her face shows no recognition of the speaker.

“Who are you?” she questions.

“Hi! Don’t you remember me?” come a response with an assuring smile from the young man.

The woman stands and stares.


She does not acknowledge the name.

“Jack, from school. It has been years, but you look the same.”

She does not move.

“Jack, remember? The figure drawing class? Pratt?”

The woman shakes and starts to smile.

“We have coffee and talked about the sketches, do you remember?”

Susan put down her guitar case, straightening back up and tussled her hair.


The young man moved closer to the steps.

“Jack, it has been forever.”

Jack placed his hands on the railing and looked up at the brunette.

“Yes it has. It’s been too long.”

A pregnant pause followed.

Susan breaks the silence, “What are you doing now?”

“You know, making a living. Nothing exciting. How about you?”

Susan pauses and looks at the guitar case.

“The same I guess.” She stammers.

Jack looks at the guitar case and ask, “You still playing?”

Susan looks Jack in the eye and smiles.

“You want to hear something?” she gleefully asks.

“Sure,” Jack replies with a fidget.

“You want to come upstairs and continue where we left off?” Susan slyly questions while reaching for her guitar case.

“You bet!!” Jack jumps to the first step.

Susan turns her head looking at Jack with a catlike smile, while opening her guitar case.


She stands at the top of the steps with a smoking 45 in her hand. At the foot of the steps lays the riddled body of Jack in a slump.

“Take that you bastard. You were bad to me then, but you won’t be bad to me now.”

Stage lights out.

1 comment:

Rus Wornom said...

explain the origins....and then let's talk about improv.