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April, 2011

The Power of 2

This month The Hideout launched a brand new showcase on Saturdays called 2×4. It features 4 different improv duos doing 15 minute sets.

It may not seem that different to you, but doing an entire show with just 2 people is a unique and rewarding challenge. How unique? I’ll let some of the participants speak for themselves.

Two-person improv is improv at its most elemental–two characters, each with their own point of view, and those points of view overlapping and influencing each other.  Two players can connect with each other deeply and move a scene or story further because there is no “other” to interrupt, disrupt, or corrupt their shared vision. -Luis Salinas, The Photon’s Mistress

A performance with only two people means you have to be involved the entire time. You don’t get a moment to think or get too caught up in other things.  -Jon Bolden, Squirrel Buddies

When you and the people you’re on stage with can reach a silent understanding and all be on the same unplanned page, it’s magical. And with a two-person team, these moments feel more accessible and frequent, and they often last longer, creating a sense of real communication between the two of us for ourselves and our audience. -Matthew Derman, We Invented Dinosaurs

there’s something really cool about going out there with just one other person knowing that no matter what they’ve got your back, and having that be good enough. -Adam Trabka, Sons of Liberty

2 person improv is its totally own kettle of gummi fish. I love it. In a way that large group improv cannot, 2 person improv forces a high level of focus and relentlessness. There’s no side support; there’s no reassessing things from offstage; and there’s nobody else to play all these characters, so you gotta do it. It can’t be beat. -Chaz Formichella, Tiny Luddite

In duet improv you’re in it, completely, from the beginning, working and listening and creating together. The audience gets to really immerse themselves in these two individuals and their dynamic, with no frills or distractions. -Kaci Beeler, The Amazon & The Milksop

It’s very intense and extremely rewarding.  It’s a form that allows you to really learn the nuances of your partner and permits the two of you to explore the depths of your creativity without having to compromise beyond one other person. -James Roberts, Ames & James

With a two-person show, there is no holding back and no retreat. Both performers have to bring maximum commitment, energy, and investment to keep it going. -Curtis Luciani, The Amazon & The Milksop

I love the fact that there is no safety net in 2 person improv. There’s nobody on the sidelines that can come in and bail you out if a scene is heading south. It’s just you and your partner up there and the only way out is through. It’s very thrilling and very challenging to do. -Jason Vines, Simply D-Vine

2 man improv, for me, has been the most intense improvising I’ve ever done and has made improvising with larger groups incredibly easier. -Deano Jones, Simply D-Vine

When there are only two people onstage, the chances of failure are so much bigger, so the thrill is increased many-fold. By the same token, when two people onstage mesh and create some kind of magic, the audience is all the more thrilled, impressed and gratefully entertained. -Jay Byrd, Harold & Maude

It allows and encourages things that can make a show great: patience, a strong connection to the other performer, and tension building. There’s also no dependence on someone to come in from the wings to edit or adjust the scenes. That sole reliance on yourself and your partner injects a wonderful pressure, which can in turn create a sense of confidence. Maybe not confidence. A sense of owning the stage, or at least a greater sense of responsibility for what happens. That sense can force the performers to be in the moment and stay sincere.  -Justin Davis, Toothpick & Ted

There are only a small number of improvisers you can really “click” with and that is often a subconscious connection.  When you discover that in a jam setting or on a larger troupe, it should be explored further and a two person show focuses on that connection and those energies.  I also like knowing that it is just us out there, and when you know a person on that subconscious level, there is no fear. -Jared Stepp, Hellcats

There’s obviously a lot of passion in the performers for this unique form of improv. Come see it realized on stage. Saturdays in April at 6:30pm.
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