Kerri Bridges isn’t concerned with her cast learning its lines.
Her shows work much better when they make it up.
Bridges is the show director for a performance by the Augusta-based improv troupe Schrodinger’s Cat taking place at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center in Evans.
The show consists of two teams competing in a series of theater “games” – three- to five-minute comedy skits, each with specific rules, made up on the spot. Bridges said her job is less about guiding performance than preparing a cast to guide itself.
“It’s about laying out things that people can practice,” she said. “It’s about ensuring they can work with and off each other, that they understand fundamentals like stage dynamics and saying ‘yes.’ ”
Saying “yes,” she said, is particularly important. A core component of improv, saying “yes” ensures your performance partners have somewhere to go in a scene. Ensuring a scene continues, she said, is far more important than mining a situation for laughs. The comedy, she explained, usually takes care of itself.
“You have to live it as though it is real,” she said. “We tell people not to try to be funny. What you’re trying to do is make your partner look good.”
The troupe, which traces its roots back to late 2009, still retains many of its core members. Bridges said that allows for a certain familiarity and level of on-stage comfort that breeds improvisational success.
“It’s really our foundation,” she said. “We’ve seen each other grow and really understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We know who is physical and who has the literary references. We know who we can lean on and what we can lean on them for.”
And everything else, they’ll make up as they go along.