Posts Tagged ‘Michael Stevens’
As we prepare for summer blockbuster season, The Multiplex returns to Magnet on Monday, April 16th, at 9:00 PM to bring you inside the world of film. We bring you inside the world of The Multiplex by sitting down with director Michael Stevens!
You’re a veteran of many Director Series shows (AIM Big, Moonlight, Hero, and others). How does it feel to take on the role of director?
It feels pretty great! The hard part is solidifying, articulating, and being confident with a vision. The easy part is working with other improvisors. When I’m not playing I can see more, and it makes it easier to play with the form and provide structural elements that play towards respective improvisors strengths.
Everything I need to know about directing improv I learned from Professor X. I think to be good at directing, you gotta love watching, and you gotta know how to encourage people with their own creative sensibilities to use their powers more. Its very much about trust and collaboration and compromise (to a point).
What inspired you to develop this show?
1. I famously hate the movie La La Land, and wanted to see why people let that shitburger into the world. Just kidding. It’s a cute film.
2. My brother had a team out in LIC (Priest and the Beekeeper) that used to use this form many moons ago. They retired it, and I basically asked him if I could use it and riff on it a bit. I’m a big movie guy, and I come from a movie family. It’s essentially my love language. If I had a dollar for every fake movie I talked into my Dad’s face, I could remake the whole Rocky series 4 times, and do a crossover where he fights The Predator.
What interests me about movies now is the culture that surrounds them. Before a movie is viewed, we’re talking about it being greenlit. We review films before they come out, before we see them. We continue to experience films long after we’ve seen them. Our conversations online and in the world affect how the next movies are being made… it’s a whole crazy cycle. I don’t know whether it’s something that should be celebrated or mourned.
As a person who has nothing to do with the professional film industry sometimes I feel like movies have a greater power to unite people and the brighter shared values of a culture. Other times I feel like films highlight our excess. As a film goer and I GUESS as an artist I waver between optimism and ABJECT HOPELESSNESS.
This form is kind of playing with all of that shit.
How does The Multiplex differ from the classic “movie” improv form?
The goal of a movie form is to use improv to show you a movie. The goal of The Multiplex is to show you the entire “culture and creative process of a film.” You see a bit of the movie, but you’re seeing production conversations, writer’s meetings, test screening feedback, reshoots, remakes, reboots, sequels, podcasts about the film, conversations in film classes about the made up film ten years into the future, Oscar wins, conversations where regular people quote the film…. It’s friggin’ nuts as a form honestly.
It’s got a nice mix of the fast and loose play with a bit of grounded scene work. None of it should work, but it does.
I think the thing that I love about it is that as a director, the form is continuing to expand into this kaleidoscopic mess that I have no control over. That’s why I love my cast.
At the end of the show we usually end with a grounded podcast about the film. It’s everyone as a version of themselves kind of just riffing like comics do… It’s tonally the most inappropriate way to end a whole show of crazytown, but I love the weird sense from the audience that they are in on the joke of this made up film… By the end of the show you should feel not only like you’ve seen the film, but also like you’ve fought with your aunt about it online.
What’s your favorite movie that takes place behind the scenes of a movie?
Hahaha. I honestly don’t know… I loved Birdman, because that was closer to Multiplex in terms of showing the “culture around a film”.
But that one was more about a play, so I will pick Maps to the Stars. I thought it was alright.
See all the stars on stage at Magnet, April 16th at 9:oo PM!
Magnet’s newest show, Will They Or Won’t They, takes the stage Monday April 9th at 9:00pm. We caught up with the show’s director Amanda Rothman (Megawatt’s Drama) for some hot gossip about the show!
What’s the format of Will They Or Won’t They?
An expansion! So we start with three source scenes up top, followed by second beats with at least one NEW character, followed by a free for all. The catch? Those first three scenes are all THREE PERSON SCENES. Why, you ask? The inspiration for this show came from the improv game, “Love/Hate Cafe”- a three person scenic game that has you loving one character and disliking the other. So we are starting with that in mind, and blowing it up from there!
How did you select the cast for this show?
I thought about who I wanted to watch fall in love. I thought about who I wanted to watch get rejected. And then I got to askin’!
What’s your favorite “will they or won’t they” couple from sitcoms or other media?
Easy. I like any couple that seems like they actually like each other. For the record, we aren’t going for the Rom-Com genre in our show. We about those relationships with strong emotional connections, be it positive or negative.
What’s your LEAST favorite “will they or won’t they” couple from sitcoms or other media?
Easy. I don’t like any couple that seems like they don’t actually like each other. But for the record, if something Rom-Comy were to happen, well that would be just delightful.
“Showmance” is another classic romance trope. Have you ever fallen for someone you performed with?
Is it impossible for me to NOT fall in love with people I’ve performed with??? That’s one of the best parts of improv- the intimacy of being funny together! I will now list my current comedy crushes in no particular order:
See all these crush-able improvisers in action in Will They Or Won’t They at Magnet, April 9th at 9:oo pm
Thanksgiving is upon us, which means food, family, and longform improv. This Sunday at 6 pm, gather around the imaginary dinner table with indie teams FAM and CHUCHO for The Feast. We talk to FAM member Michael Stevens about the show.
How long have you been part of the Magnet Theater community?
About 2 years. It’ll be 3 in May 2018.
How is The Feast different from a typical Magnet improv show?
I’m sure it’s been done before but the most fun thing for me about the show is that it’s essentially a very focused jam between two teams with distinct but complementary styles coming together to do something they don’t do. Chucho and FAM are both Spokane focused indie teams, so I thought it would be funny for us to do a big ole monoscene.
I hope I don’t sound like my head is up me ass, but if Chucho is David Bowie, and FAM is Freddie Mercury, this show is our “Under Pressure.”
What inspired you to create The Feast?
I had the idea for a “family reunion” themed show last year because my favorite scenes tended to be family group scenes. Then I saw the play The Humans and that idea sort of rattled in my brain for a while.
Then Fam & Chucho ended up at a lot of the same shows and we all sort of did some form of improv together in classes and one off shows so I basically pitched the idea to Melissa [Chucho], then Megan [Magnet AD].
The form itself is a Monoscene, so it’s nothing structurally groundbreaking. But I think everyone in the cast is a really strong actor, so I wanted to see what we could do with some of the “math” done.
What food, in your opinion, is the funniest?
Spaghetti or syrup sandwiches.
Do you have a go-to meal or food that your normally eat before performing?
Sit down for The Feast this Sunday, Nov 26th, at 6:00 pm!