Last night some friends did an improvised version of Degrassi: Junior High. It was hilarious.
With a couple of cheesy wigs and some spandex, the performers had the audience in stitches. And it made me realise what a difference even a little specificity makes.
Sure, they were playing established characters. But it’s not like anyone remembered the original storylines.
What they had were the characters’ deals, or points of view, and a time period (the ’80s) as a backdrop.
“Mr Raditch didn’t count on the four J’s: Joey Jeremiah in a jean jacket!” – Jason Donovan as Joey
Think of your favourite fictional characters, and you immediately picture their clothes, their favourite tchotchkes, and their environment:
• Dexter with his “kill outfit,” souvenir blood samples, and Miami bachelor pad
• The Wire‘s McNulty and Bunk getting drunk, the omnipresent orange sofa, Omar with his gun, even Senator Davis’s trademark “Sheeeeeeeeit!”
• Don Draper in his razor-sharp suit, downing whisky at 10 a.m. in his hip ’60s ad agency
Any one of those details would add richness to an improv scene. Together, they create a world.
For more inspiration, check out Design*Sponge‘s feature called “Living In…” It’s a visual recreation of the objects from movies and TV shows.