Improv is filled with moments of brilliance. But once in a while something so unexpected and special happens, everyone in the room feels it.
It happened at Rob Norman’s book launch this past week. Ralph MacLeod and Becky Johnson had never met. But when they stepped out to do a scene together, the result was pure magic.
For those who missed it (or want to relive it), what follows is a master class in “Yes, and.”
Ralph: Hi, Becky.
Ralph: I don’t think we’ve ever really met.
Becky: Hello, I’m Becky.
Ralph: I’m Ralph. It’s a pleasure to meet you.
Becky: Good to meet you. (to audience) I’m currently experiencing very severe abdominal cramps and I need, as a suggestion, a reason why a woman would stay seated?
Audience Member: Midol!
Audience Member: That heavy flow day that always occurs, like the second or third day!
Becky: We’re having a lady-share moment. What was that? “A really good book,” or “I have a stain on my pants”? (to Ralph) Do you prefer one of those?
Ralph: Nope. All right…uh…wow. I can’t follow that up with anything. (to audience) Why would you be in a particularly good mood? What would bring you joy?
Audience Member: Chocolate!
Ralph: Some chocolate. All right.
Becky: I’m going to take “a good book.”
(Becky mimes reading, Ralph enters the scene)
Ralph: Honey, I’m back from the…
Becky: Just a…
Ralph: …Shoppers. (pause) Are you mad at me?
Becky: What? No. No, I’m just reading the Encyclopaedia Britannica. I wanted to get smarter. More informed. Are you mad at me? Are we fighting?
Ralph: No, no, no. Well I went to the drug store for something…
Becky: What was it?
Ralph: Oh! Chocolates.
Becky: Did we fight last night?
Ralph: To be honest I can’t remember.
Becky: WHERE’S TIMOTHY? WHERE’S OUR CHILD?!
Ralph: We have a child?
Becky: Yes, we have a child! Timothy!
Ralph: You had a child with me?
Becky: Yes, yes! We had a child. You remember him: he was ten feet tall and hyperactive… (pause) WE MURDERED HIM!
Ralph: We said we would never speak about it.
Becky: He was a blight on the family and we killed him. Not speaking about it is one thing, but forgetting is a whole different issue entirely.
Ralph: Well, I am busy at work… The fourth quarter reports are due, I’m stressed beyond belief.
Becky: And I’ve developed a drug addiction that I haven’t…told you…about… (pause) I’ve developed a drug addiction.
Ralph: It’s quite all right. I’m sure I’ll forget it in a moment.
Becky: Did you?
Ralph: Oh look, it’s Spring!
Becky: Ohhh – chocolates!
Ralph: The seasons changed and I didn’t even notice.
Becky: I bought you these.
Ralph: You are so thoughtful.
Becky: Why would I buy you chocolates? Have we been fighting? Oh, are you all right?
Ralph: (eats) Oh, it’s nougat. Why don’t they stop putting nougat in these things?
Becky: I love nougat. That’s the kind of chocolates you should be buying for me.
Ralph: Oh my God, it’s Summer! The seasons pass so fast.
Becky: They do. I have a question for you.
Becky: What does the name “Timothy” mean when I say it to you?
Ralph: It was my father’s middle name.
Becky: If we have a child, we should call him Timothy!
Ralph: I love you so much. You’re the best.
Becky: Are we going to do it? Are we going to have children?
Ralph: Let me check…
Becky: All right, let me check…
Ralph: According to the calendar it’s my time of the month.
Becky: And according to the encyclopaedia, “Aardvark,” I guess.
Ralph: Somebody broke into our house and left chocolates!
Becky: Well why don’t you try one and see if they’re poisoned?
Ralph: (eats) Mmm, cherry.
Becky: I love cherry!
Ralph. Me too. I don’t think it’s a real cherry, I think it’s a fake cherry.
Becky: That’s what I like about it. I have found reality to be so unfulfilling.
Ralph: People get too caught up in “Who did this?” and “Who did that?” and “Who murdered their son?”
Becky: Oh, speaking of which, I just remembered something: our bathtub is full of blood.
Ralph: And there’s all this extra meat in the freezer.
Becky: I’d better call my sister. I’ll have her over for dinner. (dials phone)
Ralph: It must be Thanksgiving, because it’s Fall.
Becky: (dials phone) Hello, Janice? I murdered my son… I’ll call you back. Now what was I saying?
Ralph: I don’t know. It’s very peculiar.
Becky: Oh honey, I love you.
Ralph: I love you so much.
Becky: With Christmas just around the corner, it’s my favourite time of year.
Ralph: It is. I can’t wait to stuff the turkey with you.
Becky: Like, put me inside the turkey?
Ralph: No, it’s a metaphor. I want to have a baby.
Becky: What was your father’s middle name?
Becky: Let’s call him that.
Ralph: Shall we?
Becky: I love you.
Ralph: I love you too.