3. How did you and your group explore the possibilities of form, structure and performance style?

Originally we wanted to do a running piece which was naturalistic and had a strong storyline, but we realised that we wanted to play our characters very over the top and exaggerated, as in Carry On films, so that they were as funny as possible, which meant that it wouldn't be naturalistic. We started a piece about a robbery with very opposite, weird characters, but this didn't work out well, as we felt the story was lacking the potential to have a very good storyline which would keep the audience interested and it was lacking power.
We decided instead on a farcical, completely non-naturalistic piece which is a montage of slapstick scenes full of outrageously funny charicatures, which is essentially a spoof, like Carry On. Our group is more satisfied with this idea as we are more comfortable playing comedic characters and I find that through the improvisation game, it is easier to be funny and exaggerate charcters to make them more stereotypical. Also, I think that doing different scenes that are not linked except through the common theme of secerets will make it easier to develop storylines so that they make sense and have a satisfying ending, and to keep the audience interested, and it will therefore have renewed comedic value in each new scene.

We looked at BBC Comedy Collections to look at a collection of clips showing great comedic entrances. These included entering a room by smashing through a wall or jumping out of an air vent, and in Only Fools And Horses someone came into the scene by being forced to ring a musical doorbell.

We also examined the comic triple (or rule of three) and found examples of where and how it can be used, before trying to incorporate it into our work.
In Monty Python and the Holy Grail the comic triple is used several times, perhaps most noticeably with the bridge keeper: "Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see...." The same triplet is actually subverted four times; the first time, the three questions are all easy, so the knight easily crosses the bridge. The second knight unexpectedly receives a third, difficult question which results in his death, while the third knight unexpectedly gets an easy question again but fails to answer it correctly and dies. On the final set of questions, King Arthur subverts it again by asking a question back to the bridge keeper, resulting in the bridge keeper's death.
Additionally, when reading a parody of the Bible the priest says "...then thou shalt count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out." Here, the lines are centred around the number three, but also, the first few lines are funny and parallel with doing two funny things, and then the line "Five is right out." is unexpected and even more funny, because it doesn't fit with the way the rest of the lines sounded, which then gives the rule of three.
Another example is when Arthur is deploying the Holy Hand Grenade and shouts 'One...two...five!' Sir Galahad corrects him: 'Three, sire.' 'Three!'
In the Big Bang Theory, it is well know that Sheldon knocks three times, then says 'Penny' or 'Penny and Leonard' and repeats the process three times. In one episode, something different happens, which is that Sheldon knocks once: knock knock knock 'Penny!' and Penny replies to his knocking: knock knock knock 'Sheldon!' and they both repeat this three times. This is playing with what the audience has come to expect from Sheldon's character and twisting it into the unexpected.
After learning about the comic triple, we tried to find ways to fit it into our drama piece. In the PE scene, as the two characters are trying to hide their stolen goods, they have to start doing the exercises the teachers shows them and we wanted to have balls and things falling out of their clothes. We thought we could have two instances where the teacher didn't notice what was going on behind her and the third was where she finally saw what they'd done. So, ............
Also, in the office scene, Raye's character Jeffrey uses the comic triple when he is trying to cover up his relationship with Karen, his secretary and says three things to both Margo and Karen, contradicting each thing he says to Margo: (to Margo) "She's nothing to me!" (to Karen) "Yes you are!" (to Margo) "She's disgusting!" (to Karen) "Not really..." (to Margo) "People flee from her!" (to Karen) "Not everyone..." The first two are funny, because of the anxious state Jeffrey is in due to the mess he's got himself into, but the audience expects him to try to cover his tracks with karen while making excuses to Margo. The last part is funnier because it is expected that he will keep contradicting what he is telling Margo, but instead he seems to give up on defending Karen and ends up insulting her.
The same character uses the rule of three again when describing his wife: "She has the most beautiful, round, huge... eyes I've ever seen, a full, bouncy... head of hair, oh, and marvellous tits." Here, the audience expects him to be talking about his wife's breasts during the first two descriptions, but only the third time, he actually is.

1 comment:

  1. the original piece was still non-naturalistic as the characters were exaggerated.
    why has the group decided to create a montage of scenes?
    what is the structure of the piece?
    how have you developed the exaggerated acting style?
    how did you and your group explore comedy? what research has been conducted?