23 April 2014

Theatresports: fast paced and high on entertainment

Famed sports writer Guy McGuy sat down with The Improvisors’ Deana Elvins to talk weather, the interplay between theatre and sport, and her picks for the upcoming Theatresports season at Circa.

Guy:  So.  How about that weather?

Deana: Mm… weathery

Guy: I guess that’s the advantage theatre has over sport – no weather.

Deana:  Except indoor sports of course.

Guy: Oh. Yes.  So you are the coach for The Improvisors?

Deana:  No, Guy, actually I’m a player/manager.  I’ll be competing in the upcoming season, but I also look after the corporate, professional side of things for our teams.

Guy:  Sponsorship and the like?

Deana:  Kind of… in the off-season we do shows, team building, training and a whole lot more for all sorts of companies - everyone from family businesses to New Zealand’s biggest corporations..  Check out our website www.theimprovisors.co.nz

Guy: So then who is the coach?

Deana:  I guess you could say Tim Gordon is the coach.  He’s recently had some experience coaching the All Blacks, which I’m sure will prove invaluable for the teams.

Guy: What can fans expect in the upcoming season?

Deana:  Every Sunday night from May 4 to June 15 teams will battle it out in pursuit of the Paragon Cup.  This year all teams boast a wealth of experience and we’re expecting tough games and close matches.  It’s a traditional round robin format with the top scoring teams tested in the Grand Final on June 15.

Guy: For folks who’ve never seen it before, what exactly is “Theatresports”? 

Deana:  It’s improvised comedy.  Scenes are made up on the spot to make you laugh.  This is our 7s, our T20, the short form of the game -  so it’s fast paced and high on entertainment. 

Guy:  The team that gets the most laughs wins?

Deana:  Not necessarily.  Getting laughs is important, but to win teams need to pay attention to storyline and the technical requirements of the game as well.

Guy:  Any rule changes this season?

Deana:  Nothing specific, but we have been warned that refs are going to come down hard on wimping, blocking and gagging.

Guy: ???

Deana: (laughs) Oh sorry  ‘Wimping’ means being too scared to follow an idea through, ‘blocking’ is saying no to someone else’s idea and ‘gagging’, as you probably guess, means getting a cheap laugh that doesn’t serve the story.

Guy:  Do audiences need to be familiar with these rules?

Deana:  Not at all – it’s all explained on the night.

Guy:  Great!  Now I understand that there has been some concern about the brutality of audience involvement.

Deana:  Look, I won’t deny that back in the day and in some competitions  a few people may have been traumatised by over-enthusiastic audience involvement.  But The Improvisors pride ourselves on playing a very non-aggressive form of the game.  We ask for suggestions from audience but almost never drag anyone on stage.  I guess it could happen.  But I’ve never seen it.

Guy: So where can people see the games?

Deana:  If people want a great night’s entertainment, full of laughter and the spice of competition then they should come down to Circa Theatre on Sunday nights at 7pm from May 4.  Booking is advised.

To book tickets for the 2014 Theatresports season, visit www.circa.co.nz or call the Circa Box Office on 801-7992. 

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