A cage match troupe is a troupe that performs/competes in the Coldtowne Theater Cage Match, which is on Saturday nights, 9pm, at 4803 Airport Blvd (next to I Luv Video).
A cage match is a very special improv event, because most of the time improv isn't about competing. It's part of the whole scene's vibe, the familial support of your fellow improvisors. But this is America, goddamnit, and who doesn't love shouting "Two Troupes Enter! One Troupe Leaves!" Cage matches have been described to me as "the thunder dome," "middle school dodgeball tryouts," and, well, "a cage match," which itself evokes. Coldtowne's cage matches are really not as testoterone-testing as all that. They offer more like a parody of competition. In the end, all the cage match troupes are friends and friends of the theater, putting together offbeat shows for a superb Saturday night slot that the owners of Coldtowne have generously given to a show that accepts every level of performer. I understand the cage match is frequently a new improvisor's first real show and/or troupe. It's mine, anyhow.
But so, the new troupe I'm in: Achatina Achatina.
Achatina achatina, pictured directly above, is the latin name for the world's largest land gastropod. More commonly called the african land snail, achatina achatina has a cool sounding latin name with a ring to it. Is there any more reason than (cool sounding) + (world record) needed for the name of an improv troupe? As it occurs to me: no.
The first meeting of the troupe was last night. Lemme run down the cast (as it exists right now, I know one or more people may be added/subtracted) (also I'm apologizing right now for spelling errors in names, I'm way too lazy to look it up): Brian H., Jerod, Nicole, Matt, Steve, Grant, Brett, Liz, Brian E., and myself. And our coach, Ashley. For a first rehearsal, I don't think it could have gone bettter. I couldn't have asked it to anyway. We (most of us. Brian E and Liz had stuff and couldn't come) got to the building (forget the name) on UT campus, and snagged a great lecture hall right near the entrance to start warming up. A game of "pass the sound&motion" evolved without comment into "pass the strange morphable pantomime-material and shape it into some object, do something with it, while making a noise if you want or need to." When Ashley took the object being passed and broke it half, flinging the pieces to two of us to start morphing and passing again, the game started to get complicated and over-my-head-a-little. I just couldn't follow both objects, what they were becoming in each person's hands, and when I was going to get passed to. I need to practice object work. But the game held together and definately got my funny bone muscled. Or my funny muscle boned.
I thought I would go into a bit more of the rehearsal, but I really shouldn't go into all our scenes and what-not. Although I tend to deny this, many experienced improvisors advise against retelling improv scenes. This is that even if they were great at the time, they always come out sounding sort of like dreams you had and remember exactly the what happened but somehow the why of it escapes. I dig it, but goddamnit. Some notable lines that came out of rehearsal, anyway, here: "I've never seen a staircase before," "I thought I was getting a new car, and now I don't know if I love you," and "Yes, we're going out to international waters to hunt whales. That's exactly what we're doing, you're right."
I'll post more about Achatina Achatina as it happens, hopefully.