Let’s debunk some myths or misconceptions about the term “long form improv”.
Myth #1: Long = boring. Form = boring. Therefore, long form = boring boring.
Man, we really hope not. If our show is boring, then we’re really doing something wrong. Our goal is to create the most interesting show possible, out of nothing, or out of just a few suggestions at the top of the show. What the “long” in long form really means, is that we play for a longer period of time between suggestions. For some shows, that might mean we go ten minutes, for others, we may improvise for an hour without ever taking a suggestion. No matter how we get our inspiration, we work hard to perform fun, exciting, thought-provoking, and above all, interesting theater made up on the spot.
Myth #2: If I don’t understand the form or structure, I’ll be lost.
The “form” piece of long form is really there for the improvisers. Some shows have a set structure, like the most common long form, the Harold. Other shows are simply a series of scenes connected by whatever one scene may inspire in the improvisers’ weird little brains. Either way, the show often isn’t about the form. The form is simply a way to expose a unique kind of comedy in a show. As an audience member, you can sit back and enjoy the comedy in each moment. Or you can wonder how each scene is connected. Both ways work. Just do whichever one is the most fun for you.
Myth #3: Long form is weird.
This is not a myth. It’s a half-myth. Sometimes long form is weird. Sometimes short form is weird. Sometimes life is weird. Again, the goal of Improv Mining Co. isn’t to be weird. It’s to be interesting. But generally speaking, improvisers are weird people. So sometimes what we find interesting is weird. Other times we try to step into lives of characters in the most natural way possible.
Myth #4: Long form is more fun for the improvisers than the audience.
When a show’s going well, everybody is having so much fun the fun-measuring gauges all break. So it’s impossible to tell who’s having the most fun. Everyone is having the most fun. When a show’s not going well, the audience might feel uncomfortable, but the improvisers feel like they’re drowning while being stabbed, hanged, and lit on fire. So even when a show’s struggling the audience is absolutely having more fun than those poor improvisers. Improv Mining Co. wants our audience to feel like our show was the most fun part of their day/week/month/year/life. We also have a ton of fun playing (unless we’re drowning while being stabbed, hanged, and lit on fire). So it’s a win-win.
Myth #5: I saw a bad long form show, so every long form show is bad.
Some shows suck. This is true. But the beauty of improv is that you’ll never have to see the same sucky show twice! Every show is new and unique each time. Even seeing one troupe perform a bad show, is no guarantee that their next show won’t be the most brilliant thing ever performed on a stage (take that Shakespeare!). The beauty of improvisation is watching a new thing get built right in front of you. The process is the product. It’s new every time and inherently imbued with limitless potential. Damn, improv is cool.
We hope that gives you a good understanding of what Improv Mining Co. long form improv is, and what it isn’t. For an even better understanding, come to one of our shows. For the best understanding, come to all of our shows, and all of everyone's shows, then join and/or start a troupe, then make something that’s never been made before.