My big improv project this year, the most “me” show I’ve done in a while, have been devising and directing a Edgar Allan Poe-themed narrative improv show in the 2020 Fringe Festival. I was finally brave enough to put my own actual hand-drawn art on a poster, and even made some show merch using the image.
Poe’d has now been performed in a proper theatre with fancy lights and everything over four nights – mostly we’re a group that performs in casual bar spaces. The show was a single story told from the perspective of a narrator and unrolled over an hour. It starts with poetry from each of the performers, all inspired by words from the audience. This in turn was the inspiration for the night’s story, which twisted into all the darkest and silliest of drama. After training together for a week of Sundays, we finally got to dress up and take it to the stage. So much fun, and terrifying at the same time.
I was helped by a whole crew of my favourite improvisors from The Wellington Improvisation Troupe, who cheerfully mucked in with everything from making costumes through lights and music and of course so so much Dramatic Acting. To a non-improvisor it might look as if the narrator-character was in charge and directing the story, while in reality this sort of show is a delightful back and forth between all the performers, building something from nothing.
My husband and I (I say that in a queenly voice, ‘natch) did a short two-person version of the show as a warmup (at monthly improv show Late Night Knife Fight), billing ourselves as The Ravening. Poe’d feels like something that might work well as an improv festival show (training it and casting it from the workshop), if we decide to do another grande tour some day.