Saturday, October 16, 2004

Theater at USC ... I finally found it!!

Ever since I came to USC, I have been looking for a place to see theater as it happens in american universities. However, all of the performances I came across were either non-free or clashing in time with something else I had to do, or both.

However, my fate changed for the better when on Oct 14, 2004, while pasting flyers for the AIS garba, I saw the flyers of a show by second nature, an inprov. comedy group at USC. I immediately decided to go since the timing was ripe.. Friday night at 10pm.

So there I was at Ground Zero Coffee House at 10pm, waiting for it to start... and boy.. was it coooool....

They started with the host impersonating a french waitor... he called a guy and a girl at random from the audience and made them sit on a table on the stage. They then chose "dishes" from a menu, which were actually games which the other members of the team played.

It was very similar to whose line is it anyway, in which participants had to think of dialogues and situations and responses instantly.

The appetizer was a game in which they all told a story... with the "controller" pointing out who has to continue next. Very much like the "block and tackle" we played back at ITBHU, except here you were responsible for completing other people's words also :-).

The next game was "revolving doors", in which three participants were each secretly told of a word (separate for each), upon hearing which in a conversation, the participant either leaves the stage if he is in or vice versa. It was hilarious to see them doing a pen-pal meeting scene with "cue" words like "the" and "letter" :-)).

Another one included a game in which the audience suggested dialogues which were written on bits of paper and thrown on the stage. The participants were to pick them up while enacting a scene and blend them into the conversation.... I nearly fell out of the couch I was sitting in =)

Then there was "chain murders". This involved three participants, one of whom is told a murder location, the dead person's profession and the murder weapon. Then the others enter one by one and the previous person to come on stage "tells" the person these answers by gestures and gibberish ... like adasdb aksdb lorem ipsum ..asdlaibaf adsfjba (if you could understand what I meant by those words... go see a doctor :-) )... The people have to do this "information exchange" within 2 minutes and then all are called on stage and start telling what they think are the answers... kinda like the game we all playes as kids in which we would pass around a message by whispering in each others ears in a circle.. and then heard what everyone "thought" the message was.... except here it was with gestures and oh-so-funny gibberish!!

They also did a "shakespeaker" spoof... and a scene in which one of them has a "skill/property" which he does not know of and the others try to make his realize what it is by giving clues while talking to him in a scene...

All in all... it reminded me of the pot-pourri and expressions events that we had back in ITBHU.

My friends from ultimate frisbee and Ben, a student of mine from EE102 Spring2004 tell me there are more groups on campus like that. Good for me!

I am surely looking forward to all the humorous theater I can attend at 'SC.

People who were patient enough to read till here.. please leave a comment.. I will appreciate your views on this post and any questions that you may have.

P.S. I have not detailed all of them.. like "dubbing" etc.... more about them later..


  1. Anonymous2:21 PM

    Yeah Animesh, I was patient enough to read it through till the end..I stumbled acrosss ur homepage and blog a couple of times since u left ITBHU and was wondering if u are still continuing with theatre or not. I wasn't much interested in ur acads...ur area of interest rather(I might have case it was Computer Vision/Graphics ;-)).

    Anyway, nice to know that theatre has finally taken off for u. I have some motivation to do theatre...Haven't ever done in BHU but hoping to do so after getting into Grad School. Applying for Fall'05(was applying for Fall'04 but had to withdraw my application due to some problems).

    Best wishes
    (20000042 :-))
    (At STMicroelectronics right now, )

  2. oooooops!!! I did read till this point...but it has nothing to do with fact, I started it reading from the bottom. :D

  3. Anonymous4:55 PM

    I really luved reading such a vivid description.
    I hope i can take off some time and get a chance to attend one of these in future.

    Thanks for exploring and sharing this with us :-)


  4. The part I liked about 'Second Nature' over the conventional and experimental theatre performances at USC (I attend most of them), is that the actors come from diverse backgrounds and cater to what is called a 'dynamic script.' While it is debatable as to which is more challenging, I believe both forms take a lot of hardwork, which in part is compensated for by you and me enjoying the shows...

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