‘A Lesson in Stand-Up’ by Katie Fegan, 15

“Why Boris Johnston should become Prime Minister, Valentine’s Day, a fear of turtle necks and the awesome guy Graham that works at Lidl.”

Katie Fegan, 15, member of the Love Drama Improv Academy, Musselburgh

This week in the Love Drama Improv Academy we got to experience something a bit different. We were told that a stand-up comic would be joining us to give us some lessons in the trade. In our group there are several members that have a keen interest in becoming a comedian, though I have to admit that I am not one of them. When I found out about the plan for this particular Friday, I have to say I wasn’t exactly optimistic about how I would fare. Don’t get me wrong, I love stand-up! If you look at my DVD collection then pretty much all the discs I own are of some of the best comedians in the country! I just had the feeling I wouldn’t do very well. If I were to do comedy it would be sort of Tim Minchin style, in that I would write sarcastic and humorous songs.

The lesson started with the group being introduced to the comic himself, who we were told to call Obie but we opted to call him Shannon. He did suggest it! Since he could get a feel for the style of theatre that we’re used to we did a couple of basic exercises that we have done frequently to allow “Shannon” to have something to work with. Before this even started he asked me “Are you the trouble maker?” to which I responded “Kind of”. He just laughed. I could see already that this guy was pretty sound.

We then split into twos and ranted about stuff for about half an hour. I must say that was fun! These rants varied from why Boris Johnston should become Prime Minister, Valentine’s Day, a fear of turtle necks and the awesome guy Graham that works at Lidl. At one point one member, Sunny had a rant about people that work in coffee shops not knowing the basics. I work in a coffee shop myself and am learning how to make coffee next week, so I’m now slightly worried I’ll say something wrong and look like a tube. Cheers mate!

“It was a great chance to try something different and to practice another aspect of theatre.”

We used this practice to devise a kind of comedy showcase in groups of four or five. Each group had one or two presenters, and the rest would do a small routine using any of the topics we’d just ranted about. Everyone had a laugh and we got to talk about random pointless things, so it was pretty funny! “Shannon” seemed to enjoy himself too which was a bonus. It did lead to a massive debate about a game called Invisible Tennis (which I STILL haven’t played yet)…

Finally those that were interested in doing some stand-up comedy for the upcoming showcase got to have some extra tuition from “Shannon”. Like I said, I’m not really the sort of person that would be comfortable doing that, so those that were like me got to revise old improv games. My group of 6 played a game called “Doo Run Run”, which involves singing a basic tune and trying to make each line rhyme with the first one. When Kirsten came over to play the game we gave her some tough competition! Now, one really annoying trait about me is that I’m a really bad winner, so when I beat Kirsten (hands down) in a competition round I started gloating for the rest of the lesson. But seriously Kirsten, TV doesn’t rhyme with Steve!

Overall I enjoyed working with “Shannon”. It was a great chance to try something different and to practice another aspect of theatre. Even though he was a great teacher, I doubt you’ll be seeing me on Mock the Week any time soon.

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