Guerilla Improv: Moebius Theater

March 24, 2007, 7:30 PM

Patron Agents:
Agent Connerly, Agent Donnelly, Agent Nelson, Agent Carlson, Agent Robison, Agent Watts, Agent Todd, Agent Curtis, Agent Henry, Agent Henley
Hosting Agent: Agent Calderone

Agent Connerly :

As a troupe doing Improv-Everywhere style missions, it is our duty,... nay our God given right to do a Moebius scene. Since it had been a few months since our last mission this was our perfect way to dovetail back into the groove of doing missions.

Kansas City has a rich improv tradition. It was host to the first national improv festival, originally called The US Improv Festival. It ran for six years. Then many of the city's improvisers left town for Chicago. The festival died along with the improv scene. Over the following eight years, the improv scene has been rebuilding. Finaly, this year, the troupes of KC brought the festival back with a new name, 7:KCiF. This mission took place the first weekend of the festival in the main stage's theater. We occupied seats in the audience during the half hour leading up to show time.

Our motivating question when designing the moebius was "What is inappropriate to do in a theater audience?" We had 6 mini-scenes in our loop.

1. Loud Laugher / Noisy Chip Eater
I acted as the metronome of the scene by laughing loudly at certain points in the loop. In the mean time while I watched my wristwatch, I ate Doritos and crinkled the bag loudly. I ate nearly an entire family size bag in our 25 minutes. From my vantage point in the center back of the theater, I could keep an eye on each station in the loop and make sure everything was going well.

2. Cell Phone Answerer
Agent Nelson was seated up in the back-left corner of the stadium-style seating. At the start of each loop, he triggered his own cell phone ringer, 'answered' it loudly, and went to meet his friends just outside the theater. He returned about 3/4 of the way through the loop. On his way out of the theater each time, he bumped hard into...

3. Rude Patron with Center Seat
Agent Todd gruffly came up the stairs and bumped into Agent Nelson, then entered his row in the front-left of the audience. To get to his seat he had to crawl over 3 of our agents, and he was not dainty about it. He then, of course, had to leave again in just as much of a hurry.

4. Long Lost Friends
Agent Watts and Agent Donnelly were loudly reunited in the front-right of the audience. They leaned over other rows of people to hug.

5. Smoking Foreigner
Agent Carlson tried to smoke in the theater and was stopped by Agent Robison. Apparently in Agent Carlson's home country, they smoke and drink beer while they watch comedy.

6. Host Counting Down to Showtime
To help tie it into the festival proper and to help draw attention to it in this loud theater, the host of the show, Agent Calderone, inserted himself at the end of each loop to remind the audience how many minutes were left till the show began.

Much like every other mission we've executed, some people got it, some people didn't, and some people didn't even notice. But the ones that caught what was going on around them in their theater were all very excited and joyful to have discovered this mini-performance :)

Agent Todd:

My job within the moebius was to "bull" my way through the aisle to my seat. A few things were kind of tricky in keeping it up: the very first was Agent Henley's mom recognizing me the very first time I came into the mission zone. I had to just give her a small smile of acknowledgment but ignore her for the most part to keep things constant. We cycled through a few times, then more people I knew started sitting all around me. Well, directly in front of my seat and right beside me were people I knew through improv. When they spoke to me, I really didn't know what to do, so I just smiled and nodded, and then pretty much ignored them.

The next part was the people in the seats in front of the agents I had to bull my way through. Now understand that I never touched them, but that didn't stop them from giving me evil eyes the first two times I barreled through. They thought I was a genuine jerk. By the third time, however, I think they finally started catching on, as did a bunch of the people around us.

The only thing I would have changed would have been the volume of either the sound system (turned down) or the volume of the agents involved (turned up). We were so spread out, I couldn't hear any of the goings ons of the other agents.

Other than that, I would have to say "Mission Accomplished".

Agent Carlson :

It was sequential. It was repetitive. It gently opened up an unexpecting audience to a new form of entertainment that required just a little more of their attention to put it all together for themselves! It was sequential. It was repetitive. It gently opened up...

Agent Marks :

I had responsibilities with the festival, so I didn't get to see much of it. However, I saw a little. A group of 4-5 improvisers from Oklahoma came and sat together a few rows up on the left. I LOVED the reactions I saw from them as they stared at part of the Moebius. It was three parts dumbfounded, one part amused, with a good, heavy dose of "Whatthef@#k."

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