Improv Everywhere: Causing A Scene

The work of the famous Improv Everywhere group is now captured in a book and has become mature as a new form of performance art. The book ‘Causing a Scene’ reports about eight years of street improvs around the world, done by Charlie Todd and Alex Scordelis. Some videos of these events have been viewed close to a 100 million times on YouTube, which makes the street improv pranks a huge success among young urbans.

While policy makers in the field of art and culture break their heads to attract more young visitors to theatre, they have to face that modern theatre has changed stage. Another platform is sought and another message is spread. Young people feel attracted to the speed, surprise and the exclusiveness of new forms of performances. Everyone can participate in improv events. People really interact with each other, with the audience and with the city. A tremendous difference to the traditional performing arts, which are mostly very serious, expensive and formal. Their message seems to have lost contact with contemporary society, considering the number of people that still visits these shows.

In this case, the power of the message brought by the street pranks might be that there is none. The actions are organised by people who just want to do crazy things together, whether they know or don’t know about it. Besides using the streets as their stage, the digital space sets the context of exclusiveness using the Internet as a tool to reach the audience. This powers the events with the exciting feeling of being exclusive within a public context. My favorite prank is the shopping mall opera.

Recently we invited Alex Scordelis in Amsterdam to talk at the Pecha Kucha Night about the pranks of Improv Everywere. His presentation was amazing and very inspiring. With collaboration of Alex Scordelis, a group of people (a.o. Partizan Publik) organised a street improv in Amsterdam. Participating in organising the event we found out how much fun goes with thinking about crazy events that leave people passing by in total confuseness. Finally we decided to organise a fake tour through the National Monument at the Amsterdam’s Dam Square in Amsterdam with 300 people showing up. More street provs in Amsterdam can be expected as there are good ideas left. Stay updated at this blog or find your way to Streetprov.

urban prank