Daring to jump into the deep end

Last updated 14:52 28/05/2014
Body in Space
MAP READING: Body in Space improvisers Doug Brooks, left, Lisa Allan, and Daniel Allan pore over a map.

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You never know what is going to happen when you step into a theatre with improvisers and this is precisely where the thrill lies; in the lap of the unexpected.

For the past three years, Body in Space have delivered a monthly dose of quick-witted hilarity through their improvised comedy shows, The Deep End. Aptly named, players literally throw themselves into the deepest of deep ends, each time they step on stage. It is daring, dangerous, thrilling and often hilarious.

In their latest show, The Map, Body in Space has ventured into the exciting realm of long-form improvisation. The regular kind of improvisation is called short-form, consisting of games, scenes, songs and poems that may or may not be linked with a theme and are usually not related to one another.

With long-form improvisation, actors take on characters and create situations that feed into just one, more complex story over the course of the evening.

Audiences may remember Into the Light, the company's first long-form show which was set in purgatory and gave souls the opportunity to put something right before moving into the light.

It was in a workshop with accomplished Canadian improviser, Derek Flores that the idea for their next foray into long-form sparked. An exercise required improvisers to imagine a map in the centre of the room and one by one they stepped in and added elements to it, building up an entire inhabitancy along with the people who lived there.

"I immediately saw the obvious extension of this exercise, to play out stories from this beautifully detailed platform," says Lisa Allan co-director of Body in Space.

Co-director, Daniel Allan, workshopped the format with his group of adult community improvisers and presented the first incarnation of the show in the Enchanted Evening Theatre Series at the end of 2013 at Fairfield House.

The Map is an opportunity for you, the audience, to help create an imagined world and then see it come to life before your eyes. Audience members will be asked to give input into the map, its structures, the time period it exists in and the people who live in this place. The show will play for three nights, each with a fresh map.

The Map, Body in Space, Theatre Royal, June 5 to 7, 7.30pm, Tickets $15, Theatre Royal.

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- The Nelson Mail

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