Redbergsteatern is a stone throw up the hill from Redbergsplatsen. The improvisation theater in Gothenburg, Gbgimpro, has been active here since 1998 and has its permanent stage.
There is some life and action in place before the Friday night performance begins. But less than you think. The band has routines in the backbone, cameras are where they should be, and the fact that an ETC Gothenburg reporter with audio and video technicians make up the only audience present is definitely doing its part.
Last year was Hell for us, too. Soon we realized we couldn’t continue with the shows, so various things were set. But we noticed that it was performing better in live broadcasts than we had thought from the start. Lots of audiences sat in front of the screen instead, and in addition, we got some new audiences who hadn’t come here before, says theater director and band member Anton Romanos a little earlier in one of the couch groups at the venue.
On three legs
The Gbgimpro business actually stands in three phases. In addition to the shows that take place every Friday, they also have a wide range of courses and also they offer shows and workshops for companies or special events. Or did. These parts of the business have been disabled for the past year.
Were it not for the fact that people were so generous and donated money, along with the cultural support we received, we would not have been able to continue, says Anton Romanus.
Improvisational theater started in Gothenburg in 1997 and was originally called “Teaterhjulet”. It is a free, not-for-profit association, although some members have part-time jobs in slightly different forms. Most people do one thing else in parallel. Anton Romanos himself shared in 2012.
I started with Imbro theater around 2004, but after that it wasn’t a big theater in Gothenburg. In the round robins, there were Gbgimpro, Improverket, and a few small groups within the student theater. I started with myself in Student Theater. But then I heard about this and the After Work optimization that was in place at the time. It was a somewhat open stage, so I always sat in front, reached out and finally started getting to know who was here. He says it was a way to get more theater time.
Some are educated
Part of the troupe comes from a more traditional theater background and has attended more traditional acting courses. Anton Romanos himself learned through training courses and workshops in all kinds of places in countries such as the USA, Canada and Germany. In the United States, the absolute form is a more common tool in the comic world. Anton Romanos provides the example of the classic TV series “Saturday Night Live,” with many of the people behind him coming from the “casual comedy”.
There, imbro theater is almost exclusively associated with humor. Saturday Night Live has been a mainstay of American humor since the 1970s. In the United States, there are schools that focus entirely on improvement and drawing, where improvisation is used as a tool to come up with graphics and generate materials.
It doesn’t have to be funny
Anton asserts that improvisation doesn’t have to be funny.
There is improvisation in music and dance and it’s just about not having something predetermined, but doing it at the moment. For me, it is above all a collaborative art, of doing it together.
In text-based theater, the so-called “fourth wall,” the wall towards the audience, is something that is not usually broken. Then the illusion collapses easily. The actor on stage is not himself, it is only his character.
– At the Embro Theater, it gets more blurry. It becomes an agreement between me and the audience that I also don’t know what will happen. So I became clearer myself on stage. It will be a different energy between actors and fans, Anton says.
The audience feels engaged
This may be the reason improvisational theater performed relatively well in the pandemic. The audience feels engaged and many are interested in brainstorming what might happen next. Just this evening, “ETC” happened to emerge among those ideas, and at least two characters were named “Christian” after the group said they had visited.
What happens on stage will not be repeated. It’s the magic of improvisation that is almost impossible to adorn or capture. But the worst is the opposite, when you warm up before and then happen to burn the better and damn number. But you can’t regenerate again even if you want to, Anton says.
Is everything improvisation?
This is the most common question they receive. If everything is really improvised? It is reported that this is the case.
A lot of people wonder if the music is not prepared in any way. But I usually reply that it was more difficult to give certain parts in advance than to get them completely free. But we always have some kind of tire, a special kind of performance, to deal with. Tonight, it’s a road movie, another high school musical etc. Then there are the characters and genre handles that you attach to and use.
Gbgimpro demos are streamed for free via Facebook. But those who wish to contribute to the latter culture, which appears reasonably anyway, must be able to continue to be encouraged by the group to rustle a penny for entertainment.