Messing with a Friend, Dummy, Shrimp Forks, From Justin to Kelly, and of course TJ & Dave. These are a few duo teams, performers, and shows I admire. Not just because their improv is on point but the length of their sets. Anyone of these teams can perform for an hour while keeping the audience engaged. For me that's a big milestone. A sign of an experienced team and performer.
Improvisers are artists and we all have our phases and stages. I went through a time when all I wanted to do was large, fast-paced, ensemble work. Then I went through my "organic" phase where I just wanted to do the weird experimental type of improv. I'm grateful to have had the opportunities to stick around in improv long enough to go through these stages and explore them along the way.
The nature of duo improv is more intimate. You rely so much on the other person and you must know who you are as a performer. You need confidence that you can do the work so that your partner can rely on you. It's a unique experience.
I have performed with several different duo partners in several different formats. Each one of them special. That being said they were not the type of sets I could stay on stage keeping an audience engaged for longer than 20 or so minutes. There are less and less milestones for me these days (although still plenty of room to grow and learn) and one of those is being part of a duo team that can perform 45 minutes to an hour. I've hit my "really long improv sets" phase!
Alex and I are Get Out of My Head. We recently celebrated two years of this crazy adventure. We've slowly been working our way to the longer sets. I shared with him this goal and at first I might have scared him but nonetheless he said yes.
This kind of performance becomes much more theatrical and I lean on both my knowledge and ability as a comedic improviser and acting chops. As an artist it's terrifying, challenging, and gratifying.
This Friday is our first time going for 45 minutes. It's a moment I'm trying not to rush through. Improv just like life doesn't have a finish line. This is the journey and I've worked hard to get here so I'm being purposeful, mindful, and thankful. This is also improv so we'll reach this goal and then strive for the full hour and from there it will be about the process and product. We will have ups and downs and it will lead to our next big goal.
No matter what comes next, I can't wait to hit this milestone with my best friend and improv partner by my side!
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