Q&A : Starship Improvise
With some of the funniest and most experienced improvisers in the UK, live music, and even special effects,Starship Improvise is a space opera about a fictional sci-fi TV show series called Celestia 7. It’s a fresh take on improvised comedy, taking longform improv to new heights, by Fringe favourites. Boldy pushing the improv envelope to a place it’s never been before; each show is a stand-alone episode and recurring characters will develop relationships throughout the run as the soap opera unfolds. Audiences can return to multiple shows to catch up with favourite characters and all the gossip that has happened along the way.
Improv superstars from Mischief (Henry Shields, Dave Hearn, Henry Lewis), Showstopper! (Adam Meggido, Ruth Bratt, Nell Mooney) and Austentatious (Charlotte Gittins), all experts in the form, will join together to create a different episode of a Star Trek-style-drama, inspired entirely by audience suggestions.
We asked Adam Meggido a few questions and he diligently improvised some answers.
What was the defining moment in the timeline of Celestia 7?
As a nightly improvised show, yet to begin its run, the defining moment of the soap opera is yet to occur! However, the defining moment of putting the show together was when me and Henry Shields decided not to do a Dungeons and Dragons style show this year. We will some other Edinburgh Fringe, for sure, but for now, we opted for sci-fi and we are very excited about it.
Do you feel that sci-fi is often a good genre to choose if you want to switch off from the petty challenges of daily life, such as internal politics?
I think most sci-fi is a way of processing and understanding where we currently are, philosophically and sociologically. Star Trek, for example continuously uses the future to understand the present. I don’t think it’s about ’switching off’ so much as about finding a new way to tune in.
The audience plays a central role in shaping the show. Do you feel that, in any show, the writer’s original intent ends up bent as a result of external pressures, such as the behind-the-scenes drama?
We love creating a show with the audience. Speaking also as a writer who has worked on TV shows, yes, the original intention can be distorted for a number of reasons. The key is to try to inspire people with your vision so that everyone gets on board with the same idea.
Do you think society will be changed if we were to encounter aliens, or we are just going to continue as if nothing had happened?
Are you kidding? YES! It would change everything. Every area of life as we know it would change. I’d love to think it will happen in my lifetime. Maybe someone can pretend convincingly when I’m older so I can die happily. (Make them nice and friendly aliens, please)
Improvisation is a great way to actually shift focus from the scripted to the unscripted parts of life, a way to comfort the audience with the idea that fun can arise from any circumstances. Discuss!
The spontaneity of fun and play lies at the heart of it, but it is also about making a great story out of the moment. Audiences enjoy improvised stories usually because the actors are discovering the story at the same time as the audience! It makes the actors vulnerable and dangerous.
Celestia 7 has a character who is a super evolved dog. Do you think a new species might be better at humanity, than humanity is?
Haha - that’s my character - LabbRaydor. He has an exceptional sense of smell but rolls over and shows his stomach when confronted by superior forces. I will probably feel like the best of myself when I am playing him, so, maybe, yes!
Starship Improvise, Pleasance Dome (King Dome), 3pm, 6-21 August (no day off)