Improvisers ready for Grand Championships
Good news for anyone allergic to fairy floss or deep-fried hotdogs, as ImproMafia and Brisbaneâ€™s Powerhouse Theatre host an artsy alternative this EKKA Tuesday â€“ Theatre Sports Grand Championships.
The annual showdown pitches Australiaâ€™s funniest improvisers against each other in an unscripted fight to the death (in a minute). Friends become frenemies and audience suggestions become comedy gold, all in pursuit of the coveted top spot.
Sure â€“ as Drew Carrey insisted â€“ itâ€™s a competition where everything is made up and the points donâ€™t matter, but that’s state pride on the line and these performers arenâ€™t about to corpse for anybody.
With the struggle so tight, the night may just come down to preparation.
Nobody knows that better than Dan Beeston, who has been improvising since 1997 and â€“ along with David Massingham â€“ represents Queensland at the championships.
â€œThe brain requires energy input, and you canâ€™t just fill it with sugar or dope it with caffeine half an hour before the show!â€
With a scientific approach the Australian Institute of Sport would be proud of, Danâ€™s preparation involves carbohydrates (for energy), vitamin B (to stimulate thoughts), and protein (for a strong brain).
Not to be outdone, Perthâ€™s Glen Hall agrees with the importance of carbohydrates, but also suggests better improvisation through sleep deprivation.
â€œI need to make sure Iâ€™m in that delirious lack-of-sleep state where Iâ€™m not quite sure whatâ€™s real and whatâ€™s fantasy,â€ says Hall.
He claims this acclimatizes him to the surreal twilight of interstate travel followed by improvised comedy, but still thinks Queensland are the favourites to win this year.
â€œThere is definitely a home ground advantage â€“ being from the west, we love a home ground advantage over here.
â€œWe try to get peopleâ€™s flights delayed, screw up their meals on the plane, and put screaming children on the seats behind them. I expect ImproMafia will try nothing short of that.â€
But the competitionâ€™s real favourites may also be its only female performers.
Reigning champion Amy Moule and fellow Victorian Katherine Weaver have built their creative connection on stages throughout their city, and seem well prepared to defend the title.
When it comes to the actual day, however, Moule suggests a more relaxed approach.
â€œItâ€™s always good to get into your body with stretching â€“ and sometimes going out for a beer is good.â€
The increasing popularity of improvised comedy has forced this yearâ€™s championships onto an even bigger stage at the Powerhouse, and tickets are reportedly selling well.
â€œBrisbaneâ€™s impro scene is the strongest it ever has been,â€ says Dan Beeston.
If youâ€™ve ever found yourself wondering what itâ€™s all about, ImproMafiaâ€™s Theatre Sport Grand Championships are the perfect introduction to improvised comedy.
What:Â Theatre Sports Grand Championships
Where:Â Powerhouse Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse
When:Â EKKA Tuesday, August 13th 2013 from 7:30pm
How much:Â $30
Website: Powerhouse Theatre
(Images sourced from ImproMafia, Kris Anderson and Stephen Reinhardt)