By Jonathan Monkhouse
Yeah, so it's like 15 days until #P2RoadTrip starts. I'm trying to be cool about it and everything. Whatever. Meh. Sure. Whatever. Sure.
Th' thing is, I'm not cool about it at all. I am both shitting myself and heart-attack-inducingly over excited about the whole thing.
So, for those of you I haven't seen in the last 3 months (no doubt I have subjected everyone else to the only thing I've talked about in that time period), the "Project Two American Tour of the Universe" breaks down into three sections:
3) 44hr Improv Marathon
I know, the names alone are enough to give someone a wet dream. Okay, me. They give me a wet dream. Right now. As you read this I'm having one.
Section One: Düofest, 5th-9th June.
The Düofest is Philadelphia's festival of two-person improvisation. Chris and I decided to apply for it on a whim, way before thinking anything through. I had already been invited to Austin (see section 3), so I knew I wanted to be there then, and Düofest kinda lined up a bit, -ish, so we went for it. Cue a couple of months of not hearing a response until it dawned on us that we hadn't got in.
Oh well.. we've sorta bought the plane tickets in hope, why don't we go and see it anyway? There'll be some cool shows and nice people, and we can try to weasel our way into after-show parties by putting on very posh British accents and being impossibly high-status. Cool. It'll be more expensive but still great.
Then a couple of weekends ago we got an email from the Düofest organisers: "a group have had to pull out, you're next on our list, wanna play?"
"Unequivocally, yes," was our reply. And we meant it. Hard.
So there we are. We're performing on an international stage in front of seasoned improvisers at an established festival of improv in a city we've never been to before and barely know anyo.... wait... sorry, I was just a little bit nervous-vom into my own mouth. It is The Best Thing Ever Ever, and monstrously terrifying. I am so excite.
Our 5 days in Philly will also include improv workshops with Jet Eveleth and Scott Adsit. Jet did my favourite show I saw in Chicago last year, a TwoProv with the adorable Susan Messing. It was so awesome I coughed up a lung and named my iPad after her. Also she looks nice. Y'know.. niiice.
Scott brilliantly plays the producer in 30Rock and has improvised with the best people and worked with Tina Fey and is excellent and also looks like he's probably a really ace guy.
Section One of this trip is going to be fricking incredible.
Section Two: #P2RoadTrip, 10th-19th June.
For as long as I can remember (long term memory - 23 years / short term memory - when I typed 'typed') I've wanted to drive a car across America. I'm certain it dates back to when I was about 9 and had a gerzillion pictures of American muscle cars blu-tac'ed to my bedroom wall. In ageing I have forgotten how much a 'gerzillion' is, replaced the Mustang pictures with images of fine art and Jet from Gladiators, and become self-aware of what a douche I am... but the desire to do a USA road trip has never gone away.
We needed a way to get from Section One (aforementioned) to Section Three (aftermentioned). A plane would be too fast. Neither of us can skate. So we're hiring a car in Philly and driving to Austin. It's more than 2000 miles. Or to be more accurate; it's more than 2000 miles if you take the route we are.
|Worlds Largest Statue of a Gorilla Holding|
a Volkswagon Beetle, Leicester, VT
As well as staying with some fans of Chris' from his extraordinarily excellent Doctor Who podcast (The Ood Cast), we have a Project Two gig in Houston on the 18th. Wee!
And we're renting a convertible to do it. The same type Michael Scott drives in The American Office. Wins.
Section Two is going to rock my little socks off.
Section Three: The 44hr Improv Marathon, 21st-23rd June.
In 2011 I met Parallelogramophonograph at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. They're an improv group from Austin where they own their own improv theatre on their own, and are (at the time of writing) approaching their 500th show as a troupe. I love their improv, it ticks my box and floats my boat and gives me improgasms. Which is all literal.
In 2012 they came to the UK to be part of the Slapdash Impro Festival. I have tricked someone into letting me rent a big house and I could fit them all in for 10 days, so they stayed with me. It was awesome. We stayed up every night draining bottles of Crabbies in my kitchen and nerding out wholesale about improv. As they departed at the end they said "hey, Dude, Ace-man, Dude, King, Genius, (I paraphrase) we're doing our annual improv marathon next June, it'll be 44 hours long, wanna play?"
"Unequivocallyes," I replied. There was no space between the words. Admittedly it probably came out all desperate and ADHD-y. It was. It was not cool.
I'll be performing 44 different shows with 44 different casts in 44 differing hours, along with 7 other Austinites as 'The Marathon Players'. I have been chatting to them all online. They are delightful and sexy and I can't wait to meet them in person.
Also, one of those 44 show slots looks like its going to be a ProjectTwo show, so we'll be doing our TwoProv thing with 7 extra people. This fact makes me smile and nod slowly with a hint of confusion around my forehead area. Awesome.
Section Three is going to be a mighty powerhouse of thrill.
So, yeah. I'm pretty chilled about it. The best trip ever?.. whatevs. No big deal. ... Uh, as I was writing this I found out the Project Two performance at Düofest is going to be 7pm on Saturday 8th June. Prime time. Just a couple of slots in front of Scott Adsit & Jet Eveleth's show.
You know that thing about me being cool about this whole thing? It's not true.
Jonathan is the creator of LondonImprov.co.uk
The Project Two website is scifiimprov.co.uk