In July, The Director’s Series presented Medusa, directed by Nick Kanellis (Trike). I talked with Nick about the form, the future of improv and his views on physical improv.
What is the form behind Medusa?
The main idea behind the form of Medusa is that all of the improvisers are onstage the entire time, so even if you aren’t a speaking character in a scene, you are responsible for playing a part of the environment. Other than that it’s similar to a montage or loose harold, with 3-4 first beat scenes and a group game followed by expansions on those scenes and a run. Because everyone has to be on stage the whole time, it lends itself to some really cool transformations and characters inspired by physicality.
Is comedy from physicality/movement essential in improv?
I don’t think it’s ESSENTIAL in improv, as some forms (like the bat or an improvised radio piece) don’t have any physicality/movement at all, but I do LOVE physical comedy and think it’s a fantastic way to make a piece resonate more!
What is the future of the Medusa form/physical improv? How could it possibly change/evolve?
A lot of inspiration can come from physicality and it’s always fun to see new ways that improvisers figure out how to SHOW the stories they are telling. A lot of my favorite moments from Medusa shows have been watching the improvisers discover unique ways to utilize stage picture and one another’s bodies to show things that normally aren’t shown in improv. I look forward to exploring more ways that a group of people can work together to make anything they can imagine appear on an empty stage!
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