Published: 04th January 2019
Craving some improv in Hyderabad? Here's who you need to follow
Some of the rules of improv comedy are: never say no to your partner, make them feel good on stage, add to the scene in every way you can
Mumbai has Improv Comedy Mumbai (ICM), Bengaluru has Improv Comedy Bengaluru (ICB) and now, Hyderabad too can boast of an Improv Comedy Hyderabad (ICH), a group with the aim to familiarise and popularise improv comedy in the City of Nizams. While their first show received a standing ovation, they conducted and aced their second show on December 29.
Some of the rules of improv comedy are: never say no to your partner, make them feel good on stage, add to the scene in every way you can and lots of other small intricacies that matter
Started by Jayashree Raj, Jai Solanki, Pranavi Pullagummi and Athira V, this group was started with a vision to sensitise the audience in Hyderabad towards improv comedy, which is a more spontaneous form of comedy. With the same spontaneity, they applied to the Bengaluru Improv Festival 2018 (BIF), which served as an eye-opener for the group, they’re having a go at Hyderabad, Jayashree tells us. “The improv we witnessed there was something different,” she exclaims, as if still in awe. But they delivered their own awe-inspiring performance which was appreciated with a standing ovation. “We brought a lot of Hyderabadi essence to the stage,” says Jayashree. But behind all the standing ovations they have garnered lies pure hard work.
Impromptu posers: The four members who started ICH | (Pic: ICH)
Along with serenading the audience at the festival, they even attended several workshops delivered by comedians who came from Finland, Saudi Arabia and other places to conduct sessions at BIF. They have been meeting every Sunday for three months to practice as a team, even though all four of them are working professionals. “When we spend time as a team, we understand each other better which makes improvisation a little easier on stage,” explains Jayashree. As a result, they try to perform at least once a month. Though they perform mostly in English, and one gig where they use Hyderabadi Hindi, they want to perform in Telugu soon. “It is definitely on the cards, but we want the audience to understand the taste and flavour of improv comedy first,” she says.
The members have attended workshops of Christiane Brew (British actress and improviser), Naveen Kaushik (founding member of Improv Comedy Mumbai), Trent Pancy (improviser, actor) and Rajasekhar Mamidanna (stand-up comic)
This remains their biggest challenge. “In improv comedy, a lot of responsibility lies on the audience,” she explains adding that they ask the audience for situations and then enact what is given to them. Things could really get wacky, we are told, when the audience comes up with bizarre situations and even more bizarre objects, which could be as vague as ‘something that you hang on the wall’. But what gives them utmost satisfaction is hardly anyone from the audience uses their smartphones while watching them. This fact sure is reassuring.
Up close with ICH
- Jayashree Raj is an RJ at All India Radio, a trained classical dancer, emcee and a theatre artist. This 28-year-old brings out the unique Hyderabadi flavour in their acts
- Jai Solanki is a professional GST practitioner, is full of energy and is known for his delivery. The 26-year-old is a true blue Hyderabadi, in every sense
- Pranavi Pullagummi is a software engineer and has the ability to keep you hooked to a scene. The 27-year-old adds a completely different flavour to their acts
- Athira V is a full-time engineer at Infosys and worships the American TV show Saturday Night Live. The 24-year-old has the ability to display a wide range of emotions
For more on them, click on facebook.com/ImprovComedyHyderabad