Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Improv Everywhere!

By now, you've surely heard of (and probably seen) Improv Everywhere. These are the guys and gals who did the Freeze in Grand Central Station, and other brilliant bits of street theater. They remind me of The Yes Men, but without as much of a political element. They don't really comment on politics, policy, or even "society" at all. Well, except maybe that Starbucks Sleep-In - but that may just be me projecting. (Isn't it interesting, though, that these days simply doing ANYTHING creative in public can seem just a little bit subversive?)

Another thing that separates IE from The Yes Men is that, while Yes Men's projects tended (are they still active? Haven't heard from them in a while) to be very involved and difficult to pull off, most of what IE do is actually pretty simple. While the ideas are really creative, stunningly so, almost anyone could participate in (or create) one of their 'missions,' with just a little bit of organization and discipline.

A singular exception is the following work of Public Art: an impromptu Musical in the food court of a Los Angeles mall. Watch the viddy before reading on.

This isn't your typical IE project. First, they worked with the mall to get permission to do this, which is unique among their performances as far as I know. Next, these people have some skills (not that standing still in Grand Central doesn't involve effort, but it's a world away from singing and dancing). Furthermore, this took, in addition to the always impressive preparation, some serious rehearsal.

Theater fans will notice that the songwriters here are Scott Brown and Anthony King, the guys who wrote Gutenberg! The Musical! which I blogged about with glee a year or so ago. SO much fun!

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