Joel and I went to an improv festival on Saturday because improv is usually cheap and always mostly hilarious and a little bit bad. The first of two acts was exactly that, and the second was The Life Game.
The Life Game is an improv act where a member of the audience is brought on stage and an interviewer asks them questions about their life which is then fodder for improvia. In Joel's and my collective mind, this was going to be a sort of Where were you born, what was your first pet's name and what do you have in your pocket right now? Go!
Alas, so much not that. It was like sitting in on someone's therapy session. The interviewer asks questions like, What are you most proud of? What was your parents' relationship like? Have you ever been in love? And he says some things, and she's all, Hmmmm. Wow. And then there's dead air for eight seconds.
Every so (not) often (enough), the 'director' interrupts the interview all, Now I want to set up a scene where your dad is coming to pick you up from your mom's for the weekend. And then two actors try to reproduce scenes from this guy's life. Like, exactly. The director interrupts every three lines to be like, Is this how it would be? What can they do to make it more like how it would be? So basically, how can we make this less funny, and more like your actual life.
We spent most of the way home trying to think of ways this Game could be interesting to watch. Like, if the director was better. Or if the interviewer asked more hilarious-inducing questions and fewer soul-searchers. Or if the emphasis was on amusing the couple hundred audience members who paid to get in and be amused, rather than on verisimilitude.
Improv is not supposed to be life-like. Right?