The Humorous Interpretation "Ensemble"

Humorous Interpretation is a one-person show.  However, unlike most one-person shows you can catch at the theatre this show has a list of constraints.  There is no moving from a fixed point, as if you have been super-glued into performance.  Limited time is a factor.  Content cannot be original.  And all characters must interact with one another believably.  Humorous Interpretation's attempt to sabotage your piece eventually pushes you to creatively overcome and surpass those weak hurtles.  Not that it is easy.  Believably acting with others as yourself is a particularly staggering feat.  But here are tips on how to do exactly that:

  • Height. Give this little touch when interacting as an "ensemble."  Suppose your Humorous Interpretation is Jack and the Beanstalk.  Jack, the narrator, is represented by your height, but certainly your giant is ginormous?  When your narrator speaks to the giant he would have to look up and the giant must look down.  Use this information as your characters interact and slightly look up as Jack and slightly look down as the giant (NEVER hiding your face from the audience).  This example exemplifies how a slight detail such as a head tilt due to height can create the illusion of an ensemble.
  • Focal point.  To solidify height use a focal point.  A focal point is a fixed spot to deliver lines.  Why is this useful?  Reflect back on any conversation you have had in the past week.  When you were talking did you glance all over the room and avoid the eye contact of the other?  Most likely no.  In Humorous Interpretation you need to establish where people are looking to give the audience, and you, an idea of "where" people are.  A narrator tends to have a lax focal point and simply talks to the audience.  Other characters though should have a designated area to look to add to the realism of people interacting.  More than one character can look forward too.  Some HIers like to have sub-characters turn slightly to the side to further distinguish them and add variety.  The amount of characters in the HI, and the interpretation, will determine what sort of arrangement of people you will use for your ensemble.  Find something that works with your piece and be consistent.  Set focal points by training yourself on where/what angle to look for certain characters. 
  • "Physical" interaction.  If characters in your Humorous Interpretation "physically" interact it needs to be absolutely real.  Transfers of energy apply!  Basically, if a character pushes or gives energy towards another, the other must show the reaction to that energy.  A slap cannot be given without a head being turned.  If someone hands another an object then that pass needs to be accurate and show the weight of the object being passed (see here to learn more about "props").  If this interaction is to be as accurate as possible then your pops need to be as lightening.  Newton's law of for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction is true--even in HI. 
  • Interpretation.  The only thing that will truly bring your Humorous Interpretation to the highest level of ensemble performance is to know your characters and script.  You need to know the lines cold so they flow between characters with no spacious pauses.  You also need to have your characters' mannerisms memorized and embedded into your muscle memory so pops are swift.  Further, your interpretation of the script itself must be thorough.  Every character reaction and tactic used to gain a want must be analyzed and planned so you can create and perform the interaction believably.  Humorous Interpretation is not something you can just leap into without careful thought and planning.  You interact with yourself, often with such fast character transitions there is little time to mentally "wing it" and find the emotion.  Finally, every character needs to have a distinct personality and physicality to be identifiable from the ensemble. 

Following these tips can add detail and polish to your Humorous Interpretation that may boost your rank.  In HI you need to believe that the invisible entity you are acting with is real--or at least understand that to your character that blankness holds a friend or enemy they are interacting with.  The further you can give yourself over to you Humorous Interpretation the more convincing it becomes.