Off Script: Film Meets Improv; by Julia Tan

Published: 20 October 2018

This year, Perspectives Film Festival collaborated with The Modern Schemers to put up a comedy improv performance based on the festival theme of Institutions. It was held at Lifelong Learning Institute on 13 October, where around 40 members of the public came down specially on a Saturday afternoon to catch it.

Before the show started, audience members played the game ‘Never Have I Ever’ by writing one thing they had never done on slips of paper, which were then used as prompts for the skits.

The idea worked as such: If The Modern Schemers drew a prompt that they had experienced before, they would heartily down a ‘shot’ and come up with an engrossing story on the spot – complete with hilarious, fully fledged characters and social commentaries.

The two hours flew by as the audience was immersed in complex worlds, cracking up at jokes while contemplating the issues cleverly woven into stories by the actors. A prompt about never having left Asia became a message about global warming, while a prompt for never having gotten any tinder matches resulted in a comedic skit of a date gone wrong at a pasta restaurant.

There was even a segment where problems thrown out by the audience were ‘solved’ in a musical improv number. They sang about issues from anxiety and the lack of phone data, to depression and dandruff.

Infused with humour, The Modern Schemers made the idea of Institutions more digestible, providing a relatable platform for people to look at their situation in a fun, light-hearted manner and feel a sense of release through laughter.

The show ended with an insightful Q&A session hosted by Toby and Marianne from the Perspectives Film Festival committee, where The Modern Schemers shared more about themselves and what they thought of institutions. When asked if the group could be considered one, the actors agreed. After all, they are individuals brought together by the same purpose and desire – but you might just be surprised at how much fun they have with the set of rules that shape and govern their performances.