By Julie BarzilayWhat do pimples, swords, evil fetuses and murder cover-ups have in common? Absolutely nothing, but turning all things random into a cohesive story is what the Scene Monkeys are all about.
In their final shows of the year at 5 and 7 p.m. Friday May 16, the Upper School improvisation group the Scene Monkeys departed from the improv games they normally play in favor of longer, more in-depth elaborations on audience suggestions for stories, known as long-form improve.
Rather than games where the audience constantly redirects the scene or fills in the blank, the Monkeys would introduce a style, like Shakespearean drama, take one location from the crowd, and launch into a 15-minute one-act play pulled entirely out of thin air.
The shows at 5 and 7 were, of course, completely different because audience suggestions and the improvised action and lines onstage were original to each show.
Among the pieces were a tale about a haunted unborn baby whose evil spirit departed after birth, a twisted murder mystery, and a tale of courage and valor performed in the style of Shakespeare. The Scene Monkeys also improvise short musicals.
Audiences were encouraged to stick around for both performances.
The Scene Monkeys practice from 3 to 6 p.m. every Friday afternoon. Practices consist of improv warm-ups and the types of games the group plays during shows.
Scene Monkey Justin Kuritzkes â08 especially enjoyed the Shakespearean play they created on Friday.
âIt told a clear story and our space work was generally pretty good,â he said.
This was the last show the group will perform together. Kurtizkes said the social dynamic is very friendly (even when members are dating) and itâs hard when the seniors leave every year.
The Scene Monkeys generally perform three big shows a year and a few mini-shows during the annual Playwrights Festival.