Improv Troop Has Potential
Monday, March 1st, 2010
Galvan, a Social Inquiry concentrator at Eugene Lang, has no theater experience and has been doing improv for one year. But after taking improvisation classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater, Galvan and 12 of his UCB classmates formed Swoon and Boy Butter to take their improvisational skills to the next level. Now these teams want to gain recognition by performing regularly around New York.
“An improv troupe isn't important until they're recognized or have a following. I'd like to just have consistent support from the community,” says Galvan.
Galvan's teams use their experience at UCB as a launching pad, but that's where their connection with the theater ends. Swoon and Boy Butter are indie teams, which means they don't perform or practice at the UCB theater. Only "house" teams are sponsored by a specific theater.
“What we do is a 15- to 20-minute piece. It starts as individual unrelated scenes that merge by the end. We are encouraged to not tell jokes. A big thing is, 'don't try to be funny,'" explains Galvan.
It seems that their style has backfired on them. At a recent Boy Butter show, not only did they not try to be funny, the majority of the time they weren't funny at all. Galvan's team proved to be the most successful of the night, but that's saying little compared to the other teams that performed; violating every basic rule of improv (don't say no to each other; listen to your partner), the other improv teams used unintelligent, immature jokes to try to illicit a reaction from the audience. Boy Butter has a long way to go before their style is fully developed, but there was potential in their sketch. They weren't trying to create conflict, just situations. Improv jargon would call Boy Butter's scenes “alive.” Galvan, however, isn't worried about anyone's opinion of the show.
“I don't care if [the audience] even likes it. I'm doing improv to have a good time. If I do what I'm meant to do correctly, then anything I get after that is secondary.”
Boy Butter should not be disregarded. Galvan's willingness to try something new makes up for his team's inexperience.
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