Last night we had our second of two relatively-intense rehearsals for Documentary South. In the course of just 6 hours, we got all the way through the different parts of this fairly complex form and performed three sped-up iterations of the complete thing. And now Ross is on his way back to North Carolina and Dan takes over rehearsals for the next nine weeks, during which (I assume) we'll be tackling each segment of the form in more detail.
Documentary South, I learned, because this is an evolution of a UCB Theatre form called Documentary. My understanding of the genealogy is that Billy Merritt at the UCBT developed a Harold-based, Mockumentary-inspired form, called it Documentary, and taught it as a class that became a performance piece. Direction of the performance group was taken over by Porter Mason for awhile, and then Porter moved to Chapel Hill and began teaching, among other things, the Documentary for Dirty South Improv. Then Ross White of DSI was going to teach a class the Documentary, but the class schedule meant that he would only have 4 classes instead of 6 or 8, only 2 hours a class instead of 3, and the students taking the class were of a great variety of improv experience levels. So he made some changes to the form that, in his words, "were meant to simply the form, but probably made it a lot more complex." Over the course of working with that class and then some subsequent classes and performance groups, the form evolved far enough away from the original form that everyone thought it deserved its own name.
And the cast, oh the cast. What a fun group.
Some of these folks I know and some are new to me, but the only one I've worked with much at all is Erica, and while we've been doing our pseudo-vaudeville stuff lately, we haven't improvised together since A Day in the Life, which was three years ago. So, new people to play with and being directed (which I haven't had in a while) -- it's a fun new world of play before me. About the only thing that feels old hat is "a complicated form centered on an event" -- because that's what A Day in the Life and Eventé were both all about.