Good Luck, Barbara! – english improv longform in Berlin

Good Luck, Barbara!
Good Luck, Barbara! Andrew, Noah, Tess und Josh (Foto: macro)

BERLIN – Good Luck, Barbara! is the name of a five-person improv ensemble from Berlin. As of now, these guys are going to perform an improvised long form regulary in their native language, English. On 1st of May, I had the pleasure of meeting four of them for a short interview at a BBQ on Tempelhofer Feld.

Around the microphone were gathered: Noah Telson and his brother Josh from Woodstock, New York, as well as Andrew Reid and Tess Degenstein from Canada. Noah, Josh, Andrew and Chris Rock (who was travelling that day) have performed reuglary at ComedySportz Berlin for some time already. Tess, who was part of the IMPRO 2014 cast and as such, mesmerized the audience as an outstanding player, calls Bad Dog Repertory Players in Toronto her improv home.

DOWNLOAD (18.3 MB) *

Harold and Asscat

Good Luck, Barbara! im Schloss Neuschweinsteiger
Good Luck, Barbara! im Schloss Neuschweinsteiger (Foto: macro)

Good Luck, Barbara! are now playing each last Friday of the month in a bar in Neukölln called „Schloss Neuschweinsteiger“. In the first half, they play „Asscat 3000„, which was developed by UCB and which Noah and Josh often watched during their time in New York. The Asscat format is based on true monologues which build the inspiration for free scenes. The difference to the Armando is, that each player can do monologues, as well as perform – a concept that serves a small group.

The Harold follows in the second half. Though this is not the typical „Teaching Harold“, but an adapted form. As opening, these guys use a scene, then three times three scenes follow, without any group games in between. They do this to decrease the complexity of the form, because their audience often has little experience when it comes to that. And that’s good, because Del Close’s basic idea was, that the form should always change. He has created that structure only to explain what he actually means. Modern Harold variants are partially quite altered, as this format is a living being, not a fixed rule. There should only be a general topic, which can be interpreted in different ways and which can influence everything else. These changes to the typical format also made it very easy for Tess, who in April played her first show with Good Luck, Barbara! to get on board.

English improv in Berlin

An interesting topic in the interview was also the performance in English. The main difference is the lack of cultural references. Though the players are actually observing and gathering typical Berlin or German behaviours. But even here, incorporating that into the show is difficult, because the audience does not necessarily live here for long. Nevertheless, they are also paying attention to a clear and simple language, so that non-natives can follow just as easily. Tess mentioned, that both of these factors lead to a slower and more physical play, which actually is a good thing. And I can conform that, the show in April was not at all „Talking Heads“, but very nice to watch.

Conclusion: Berlin has to offer a wide bandwith when it comes to improv, and Good Luck, Barbara! is adding on that. Exciting, a recommendation to watch.

Facebook Page for show dates and further info:

* Unfortunately, the recording device switched itself off after the first half, so that you can only listen to a part of the interview.

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Mirko 'macro' Fichtner schreibt seit 2011 für Impro-News. Er ist Gründungsmitglied der Improbanden und Mitorganisator des Berliner Impro Marathon. Webseite:
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