I haven’t directed a show from the outside for many years, so I was excited and nervous about joining Micheal Such in creating Open Roads.
I was intrigued by the idea, take a role-playing game and see if it could be adapted to the stage. I loved the concept of the game, 4 characters in a car, with uncertain futures. What would happen when they got their future, or didn’t get their future?
Experimenting with the format has been interesting and rewarding. I like improv that’s about people, and comedy that comes from the truth and stupidity of our strange brains. So I have focused on bringing that out in scenes for the show.
The main thing I have enjoyed seeing again is how little you can do on stage and still be fascinating. We are encouraged to spend a lot of time behaving in certain ways to fit into society, which is useful, but if you only do that you lose connection with your inner voice. In rehearsals I have seen scenes that are hilarious and unexpected
It has been a breath of fresh air to sit with improvisers and work through challenges, tinker with format ideas and create a space (I hope) where everybody feels encouraged to experiment.
Michael has a great idea and has put a lot of work into the sessions, so I feel comfortable that the format will have a future after the Nursery Originals launch. The cast has applied themselves, and I look forward to seeing them bring it out onto the stage. The exciting part of improv is that I have no idea what we will see on the night. And neither will the audience or the improvisers. We all have uncertain futures, and therein lies the gift of surprise.
Luke Beahen directs Open Roads, an improvised road movie: 31 October, 6 and 14 November.
Book for shows via the Autumn listings page