Improv can be a dangerous thing, especially when the act is relying entirely on audience participation. But on Monday night two man act Two Thousand Yard Stare along with guest performers Poops and Butt invited the audience to do their worst and provided an hour of completely unscripted dark surreal comedy while managing to avoid their namesake blank stare at nowhere.
The first half an hour was dedicated to the audience suggestion of “barber shop”. Without a pair of clippers or a razor in sight a creepy barber shop with no escape was created. The two actors obviously know each other well and know where each other’s minds are going and managed to create characters dealing with similar issues of loneliness and failure in very different ways.
The second half was dedicated to the games of Poops and Butt. Regular audience participation was integral to this half of the show. They started with a prison scene, taking it in turns to push the scene forward when on stage audience volunteers shouted switch. This was followed by a garden scene where a couple preparing for the local fair insulted each other with suggestions from the audience before justifying the insults in increasingly bizarre ways. They then created “shit” analogies, taking a list of random objects from the audience and substituting “box of chocolates” in “Life is like a box of chocolates” to create meaningful observations on the nature of life. Finally a divorce scene played out, the estranged husband having to guess what he did to break up the marriage, what his wife wanted and who she was leaving him for. Loud and proud with memorable lines such as “Yes I am a maggot brain because my brain cells are constantly regenerating and renewing” and “Life is like a giraffe, sooner or later you’re gonna get spots so work it“, the relationship between the actors was natural and close, their in sync nature enhancing their quick wit.
I believe both acts are relatively new and they have definite potential to make a mark on improvised theatre. They also brought back a lot of fond memories of acting class and acting off the cuff. My own contribution to the shit analogies: “Life is like the moon, you live it to the full then it disappears“.
Further information can be found on Two Thousand Yard Stare: Improv’s Facebook page.
Copyright, D M Day, 2017