Manila Improv Festival 2017 opened last Wednesday (March 22) at the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) with three performances from the Improv groups ASAP (Singapore), ImproMafia (Brisbane), and SPIT (Manila). These groups along with several others from Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Osaka, Tokyo, Mumbai and Brisbane, Manila, Bacolod, and Cagayan de Oro are here to share with us their talents and bring fun.
ASAP started the night with their "Chicken Soap for the Soul". Chicken Soap is Chicken Soup for breakfast and a Soap Opera, the group proved to the audience that improv is not only for comedic scenes but can also be dramatic. They used the setting of a "breakfast" to run the story of two siblings. Brilliant ideas spurted as they develop the story with conflicts that plots entertaining storyline. Financial problem, revelations about not being a true child of the family, arguments and fights that brought the story down to an accidental death. They did plot several dramatic scenes in their stories but still, it will make you laugh at their silly yet brilliant ideas. After all, it's an improv that's supposed to bring you fun and happiness.
Sometimes you just need to have the conversation. ImproMafia asked for a volunteer to have a small conversation with them to start their act. A man stood up and proceeded to the stage and was asked questions. After a while, he declared that the most wonderful thing he loves the most is his daughter's smile, resembling his wife's. And there the topic of the improv is about a father and his daughter. It is rather engaging for the audiences to have the topic of an improv be coming from them. Although the progression of the story did not went clear for some, or is just me, or maybe because of the Australian accent.
SPIT, on the other hand, can be, and most certainly be most enjoyable for the Filipino audiences. They held an instantaneous beauty pageant in the theater and gather a consensus from the audience about what kind of pageant it would be. Imagine, "Miss Fish 2017 : Scaly, Wet, Golden". I then started with a ramp of six contestants singing a melodious chant of "Scaly, Wet, Golden" and introducing themselves--instantly coming up with hilarious names based on the theme. It is not simply a pageant, but they also show the beauty of life happening backstage. The pageant and backstage scenes switches from time to time giving the actors freedom to give life to their characters and further the entertainment package of the whole act. Their sensitivity to each other and the scenes gave life to every details that is being thrown. Undoubtedly, they have the synergy to create a mind-blowing improv.
Improv is a great day for performing artists to express freedom and creativity in their craft. It is also a great entertainment for theater-goers, friends and family.
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