Bad Actors

Pursuant to my previous post about starting up a Vancouver chapter of Improv Everywhere, I had a couple of ideas.

If we can get about 30 people, dressed up like homeless people, and if we can find a suitable spot, we could lay down and spell out the words “spare change” in human bodies. Maybe even ‘snore talk’ “spare change.”

This second idea I like even better. You know how you can go to Stanley Park or to fairs and whatnot and you’ll find someone who will either draw your caricature or do a portrait of you in charcoal or conte or whatever? Well we could gather a half dozen or more people to do that. Only our portraits and caricatures would be bad. As in, grotesquely bad. The beauty of the idea is that the “artists” don’t have to know how to draw – in fact it’s better if they don’t. But we wouldn’t be drawing stick men; I mean it should look like we’re trying to do our best. And it should seem that we think we’ve done a great job and are proud of our work, even though it’s clearly terrible. And NEVER BREAK CHARACTER. I have lots of drawing materials (charcoal, pastels, pencil crayons) but participants would have to supply their own paper, stools, drawing board/easel. I think we could have a lot of fun with this! It is more of a summer thing, though.

5 Replies to “Bad Actors”

  1. How about 6 homeless actors in a row and each one sings one word from, “Do” “you” “have” “any” “spare” “change?” as people pass, a la barbershop quartet?

    The caricature artist idea is a good one. I have a DV camera that might be able to catch the fun.

  2. That reminds me of this sketch that Kevin Neelan (sp?) did. He would pose as a charcoal sketch artist and seriously do portraits for people. They were bad but he’d try to do his best and thought they were really good.

    To add to the gag, he’d rub charcoal all over his hands then adjust the person’s head for the portrait, getting charcoal all over the person’s face. It was pretty hilarious, especially the crowd’s reaction.

  3. Hmmmm, not sure what I think about the “homeless” improv. It’s like I read last year when a film crew were working in the downtown east side and had hired numerous extra’s to play “homeless folks” wandering around. The locals were upset that they weren’t offered the chance to play these extra’s, afterall they are the real thing and could really use the money. Instead students and folks from West Van and PoCo with time on their hands got to play the roles.

    Now with your improv idea, you want people to play dress up and spell spare change, because the real homeless are to busy looking for cpare change to be involved?

    Sorry, this is a little sore spot with me. I’ve been on the street corner hat in hand so to speak a few times in my youth and don’t view it as recreational fun. I still occasionally help a couple of local parhandlers in my neighbourhood by standing in their place while they take bathroom breaks or quick food runs, as they don’t want to loose their value spots. Panhandling can be a competetive business! It is an interesting experience standing there with their “stuff” and a cup in hand getting scowled at.

    Anyway, have fun with the improv.

  4. The other one? There’s more!!

    Oh, the portraits and caricatures, gotcha. Well, this type of thing is always a popular form of humour. As Warren pointed out it was done by Kevin Neelin and it has the same qualities as Rick Mercier’s American chats or that Fatboy Slim video for “Praise You”. It draws on the good willof strangers and a willingness to manipulate that good will of strangers. Most find it hilarious, I tend to squirm uncomforatably and look away. So in this case I’d listen to the punters on this one and ignore us folks that prefer to laugh with people, not cause others to be the source of the humor.

    See, I’m just a downer all ’round today! “He got hit in the groin with a football!”

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