Well, I made it to Raleigh.
This is the first time on one of these business trips that I've stayed in an Extended Stay hotel. It's pretty awesome. There's a kitchen area with a microwave, fridge, dishwasher, and stove. Theres a recliner, a couch, and seperate worktable. I've unpacked all my stuff. I've got Go books, my ukulele (electric, courtesy of Kaci, so I can practice anytime without disturbing anyone, the Nintendo DS Lite, and other random stuff to entertain me.
As soon as I got settled into the hotel I left again, heading for the Dirty South Improv Theater to see some student shows... Here's an overlong description of my visit that I originally wrote in the austin improv forums:
I got there just in time to see the Sunday night show, which they reserve for student shows and high school troupes. Tonight it was all student shows. I was a little unclear on whether these were all graduation shows, or part of a series of ongoing shows. Most of the audience seemed to be family members and friends, much like our graduation shows.
Anyhow, the REALLY interesting thing about this was that it wasn't just level 3 performers... There were 3 classes performing- level 1, level 2, and level 3.
The level 2 class went first, and they did scenes. The host/director Zach Ward first called out pairs of students to do a scene together. He'd picked the pairs ahead of time. He took the suggestion and he called the end of the scene. After all the students had gone, they then did a montage. They edited the montage scenes themselves.
The level 1 class went next. They did games, very heavily directed by Zach. He clearly knew which players shined at what games, and conducted the show accordingly. They played Expert Advice (3 experts on anything), Oscar Winning Moments, some mammet-type thing where 3 people set up the environment and 3 other people improvised in it, Story-Story-Die, and Parallel Universe... maybe something else as well. Zach would make jokes during and after the game to try and smooth rougher edges out.
The level 3 class was last. They did a Harold, and were completely undirected. On a side note, when Zach announced that the level 3 class would be performing the Harold, a cheer went up from the improvisers in the back. The level 3 class called themselves the Macgilicuddies, and they had a slogan "We're not just a Harold Team, we're a family", or something like that. This seemed like a smart way to try and get the level 3 classes thinking like a troupe.
The shows were all decent, and made me wonder if we might not try something like that in the future here... having graduation shows for levels 1 and 2.
The DSI theater itself was quite nice. They had wall mounted TV set to the DSI logo. The back wall was just projector screen. The tech booth was just in front of and off to the right of the stage (about as far from the stage as the 3rd row of chairs). The drawbacks of the space were that it was more narrow than wide, and that it has two support pillars that obstruct the view of people seated further back.
After the show I went to a grocery store and bought a bunch of food- sandwhich meat and cheese, bread, peanut butter, cheese, crackers, TV dinners, some rasberry wheat beer, some 100 calorie pudding snacks, some italian ices, and some Diet Cheerwine, which appears to just be diet cherry coke.
And now I'm just killing time. I should be in bed.
Kaci's been keeping my spirits up all day today by talking to me whenever she had the chance. This week will hopefully fly by.