The requirement was to quickly come up with a poster image for a WIT show in next year’s Fringe Festival. Battle of WITS is a fun improv team-on-team sort of show, with zero budget. So, “look scary” I told two friends, in five spare minutes before a class. And they cheerfully hammed it up. A moderate amount of exploding backgrounds and death laser eyes later that evening . . . pure Photoshop corniness.
Improv, impro, improvisation: however you say it, spontaneous theatre reached soaring heights and delicious joyful nadirs at the 2013 New Zealand Improv Festival in Wellington. There were lovely improvisors from around NZ and Australia and beyond, I got to be a “wonderfully wide-eyed” villainous spider demon queen in a Doctor Who adventure. I sang in a choir that sounded magnificent despite that. I was duty photographer for some of the shows, and at times it was hard to keep the camera steady due to laughing so much. And, and, and . . . hope they do it all again next year.
I love taking photos of these guys – although the venue has just changed, and I found the angle of the new stage and lighting setup just a bit challenging.
The show is hillarious – and if you’re in Wellington, runs through August and September at The Fringe, 8pm on Wednesdays.
May has been a silly/busy/creative month
- Taking part in my first non-student art exhibition
- Being ‘creative lead’ for a comedy festival improv show
- Making a 7-minute movie in a 48 hour film festival – as camera person, gorilla, director and editor.
All these projects were shared with good friends – I am lucky to know so many crazy-creative and lovely people.
At the ‘Art by Funny People’ exhibition, at Thistle Hall, I especially enjoyed encouraging people to try on my masks (which were exhibited with a “please touch” notice). A mask on a wall is, at best, only a half-finished artwork. I am always fascinated by the way the same mask looks weirdly different on different people. Young blokes were particularly drawn to the newest mask, a very heavily bearded man, but keeness to try on a different gender was another characteristic quirk of interaction with the masks.
During the show another masked character (persona? entity?), Toothfish, visited the gallery and viewed the masks. A reviewer visited too, commenting that “Ali Little’s masks have a distinct palette and style, and a pleasing interactive display. They ask to be used. ” My first art review!
The Comedy Festival show All-Star Gorilla was a revival of the traditional Keith Johnstone format – one that the Wellington Improvisation Troupe hold the local licence for, deliberately going back to doing the show by the book. We had a lot of fun directing each other in favourite games, and taking turns being the eponymous gorilla. Meeting the public in costume when handing out flyers to promote the show, was an interesting experience. Instead of the usual eyes-slide-past reaction, when maybe one in ten people will take a flyer, people actively approached Dru, boldly or shyly, to take flyers and pose for photographs. Continue reading
Tonight was the first night of All-Star Gorilla, at the Fringe Bar, 7pm Sundays 5, 12 and 19 of May, part of the current Comedy Festival. Not only do I get to make up comedy on-the-spot with a bunch of lovely co-conspirators, I also had the fun of creating the mask for our new gorilla, Dru.
I wasn’t the person-in-the-suit tonight, but have worn it a couple of times to promote the show. Being a gorilla completely changes the way it feels to hand out flyers to the public – people smile and take the things from you nearly every time, rather than that explicit ignoring thing which street promotion usually engenders. It is of course very hard to ignore a shaggy beast, especially if she’s being cute and friendly.
All going well she’ll soon be ready for her supporting role in the NZ Comedy Festival.
I’m in an improvised comedy show next month, which mostly explains why I am spending this afternoon creating a mask for the eponymous Gorilla.
So far, I’ve finished a rough clay form over a plaster cast, next step will be draping it with a thermoplastic sheet (Instamorph) and then will be painting and adding fur. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon, not bad at all . . .
I was taking sensible photos of friends performing improv onstage last night, when the lighting tech decided to use a strobe to indicate transition between scenes – I managed to whirl the speed settings to catch this one. Technically, ISO 800, F2, 1/2 second.
Another great show from the Wellington Improv Troupe is due to start soon, a nine week soap opera, and I’ve been having a bunch of fun making some publicity material for it.
My bit of the project started with a half-hour photo shoot (that half hour included setting up the lights and photographing about 7 performers in different combinations). Then there was the real work of making online banners and icons, fliers and an A0 poster for the venue window. I love playing with retro design, but the 1980s when the show is set ain’t quite a classic era yet – the challenge was to evoke a ‘design essence’ of 1982, but not in such a way that it’s going to be mistaken for merely accidental old fashioned styling. The design also needed to let the possible audience know this will be more comedy melodrama than serious exploration of New Zealand education in the Muldoon years.
If you are in Wellington on a Wednesday during August and September, you should definitely come to the Fringe Bar and check out the
poster show for yourself!