Hanoians attracted to improvisation comedy

(VOVworld) – Clever, witty and humorous, the Hanoi Improvisation Club and the Rotten Grapes Comedy Club recently cooperated to hold the “March Improvisation Comedy Show”. This is the first time improvisational comedy has been introduced to Vietnam. VOV’s Viet Anh reports:
Despite rainy weather, an eager crowd gathered at the Blackbox Studio, 56 Nguyen Khuyen, Hanoi, for the 8pm show. They sat on the floor. No stage was set up, ensuring closeness between the comics and their audience. This was the first time in Vietnam a group of artists had performed improvisational comedy, a type of live theater where most or all of the story lines, characters, and dialogues are created on the spot.

“This is the first time I have experienced improvisational comedy, which is not widely known in Vietnam. This kind of comedy enables us to interact directly with the artists, and together we create the scenes, which makes both the artist and the audience feel more enthusiastic about the show,” said Nguyen Phuong Thao, a student at Hanoi Law University.

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Improvisionl comedy enables audience to interact directly with the artists
(Photo: The club's FB)

The show was part of a project run by the Hanoi Improvisation Club, which was established in September last year by Luong Thanh Duc. An actor looking for ways to strengthen his acting skills, Duc saw improvisation as a helpful technique. After attending several improvisation workshops, both online and offline, Duc established a club in the hope of bringing improvisational comedy to the public.

“I think it’s very interesting and I want to introduce it to Vietnamese people because in Vietnam, no one knows about the improvisation, which is very different from the plays in the theaters. Well, most of people they think that when they act something on the stage, they must prepare a lot. In fact, in improvisational comedy; it’s real life. It’s like you invite your friend to the coffee shop, and just talking and talking, and laughing together,” Duc elaborated.

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The club's founder Luong Thanh Duc
(Photo: Duc's Facebook Page)

Although improvisation comedy uses no scripts, that doesn’t mean no preparation is needed. Improvisational comedy is considered one of the most difficult forms of entertainment because the performers have to deal with situations on the spot without any idea of what is going to happen. Le Hoang Long, founder of the Rotten Grapes Comedy club for foreigners in Vietnam, explained: “We don’t prepare any scripts, we don’t prepare anything. But we do have to practice to get to know each other more, because we work as a team, we create the comedy at the moment as a team, so we had to understand and listen to each other well, and that takes practice and preparation. So we have a couple of games. We perform short - form improvisation comedy. We have the games and the games have the rules already. And we practice that game so many times so we can understand what funny about this game and how we can create comedy out of that game.”

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Members of the Hanoi Improvisation Club (Source: The club's FB)

Unlike traditional comedy, improvisational comedy allows the audience to provide sound effects for the improvisers, or sometimes, join the performance. Artist Pham Ngoc Toan said: “We always want all the audience to enjoy the show with us. Some situation, the audience is the one who give us some ideas, and then we want to interact and exchange ideas and act together as well.”

It was 2 hours of spontaneous, entertaining, and fun comedic scenes which only happen once. Spectator Tran Hong Chau said: “I was so excited before I came to the show tonight. And, wow. It’s exactly like I expected - it’s full of fun and happiness. Earlier, I only watched comedy shows in which everything is set already, including the scripts. I found that this is something really new and satisfying to watch. I think this form of theater needs to be introduced widely.”

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The artists have to understand and listen to each other well to create the comedic scenes on the spot, which takes lots of practice and preparations (Photo: The club's FB)

In improvisational comedy, everyone can be involved. The form helps you to strengthen your public speaking skills, interactive skills, and gives you more confidence as well. Anyone interested in the improv community can join the club to learn to be more spontaneous and cooperative in a fun, creative, and welcoming atmosphere. Founder Thanh Duc again: “Last month, we had our first show, and I think it was quite successful. A lot of people knew about it, and they laughed a lot, and wow, it’s very interesting. Every month, we want to open a new show, we try to do that. Improvisation is real life. With only confident, and you know the rules, so everyone can become an improviser. I think that it’s very helpful for every people, especially for students. I know in some foreign countries, in high schools or universities, they study the improvisational comedy as a subject, which makes every people more creative and more confident, more independent.” 

Information about upcoming shows is available on the club’s Fagebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/hanoiimprov/ 
You can email the group at:  hanoiimprov@gmail.com  

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