A festival the size of IMPRO Amsterdam doesn’t just happen because of the efforts of one person. There are scores of people who help make the magic happen. From the artistic team who decide which teams come to the people who wash the dishes after the performers have eaten. (Yes, this festival provides food for the performers. I know, right!)
As many of these volunteers as can fit in the chosen venue (about 50) are rewarded with an extra free show where they get to see the newly assembled team show what they can do. It’s a very nice pre-actual festival show. A time to really play with your new friends but without the pressure of a show in a 220-seater theatre.
The players were divided into two groups, spreading each of the national teams as evenly as possible between them. Each group played for 40 or so minutes. Showing off the mixed skills, styles, heights and accents of the cast. It’s hard to remember scenes in shows you were in, but from what I recall there were scenes about how accommodating French hairdressers can be to uncomprehending foreigners; haunted hotels where you can probably never leave; the difficulty of finding pets that will stick around; waiters caught between a hard chef and a gang of customers; the complexities and absurdities of negotiating a shoe shine; and the importance of light-switch positioning when taunting light-fearing demons. All very valuable lessons in life.
You actually can’t even check out anytime you want.
There was definitely a lot of not just playing well together but the joy of playing together on display. It all ended with a huge dance number including much of the audience, which, being almost entirely made up of improvisers, was more than will to join in.
It’s already uberfun and it’s not officially started.
By Peter More