Alot of Burlesque (in my very humble opinion) has to do with imagination; whats your story!? And how does it consequently play out! You need to use yours and make the audience use theirs in order to create something worth watching; something that is entertaining!! A formula we like to use when explaining how to create a fantabulous Burletta of yer very own is the ole’ set up, build up, and pay off. You want to create expectation, build tension, and then resolve your story with the biggest bang possible (this usually involves boobs..SHA-POW my friends.. shhhaaaa-pow!!) In the last few years we have used this formula when creating short sketches to be slotted between acts; the Bananas being a regular feature but we have also tried other characters. Usually we will have a reoccurring scene happening about three times throughout the show; the first two being shorter in length involving just one gag or a reoccurring gag. Either of these will then escalate during the third scene. A set that I have particular fondness for are the Bugs!! I swear we must have been really really high on life when we decided that this was clearly the funniest thing we had ever thought of. I really enjoyed this set!!! This was party because of how silly the characters were. They were so much fun to play! I’m serious!! Go ahead and act like a bug for 2 minutes and see how happy it makes you!! The scenes featured myself, Sister Madly and Whats-Her-Name as a Bee, a Lady Bug and I guess a Stink-Bug?? You'll see what I mean. The first 2 sets were short and featured happy bug dancing with terror from a lawn mower at the end. The lawn mower was our reoccuring gag within each dance. I'm not quite sure it really came across but maybe if I let you in on that detail you'll understand what the eff we are doing!!!!
The other reason I feel warm feelings in my heart about these skits involves the choreography; I honestly do not know what this style of dance is called? I call it “wocka-wocka” dancing. Its basically influenced by what I think comedic or soft shoe dancing at a Vaudeville show looked like. Something I can only reference by what I’ve seen in cartoons, on the muppets or in Musicals. I would love to know and learn more about what it is I think I’m doing!!! The closest I’ve seen to it would’ve been at this years BHOF on Legends night when Rubber Legs performed! Oooooohhhh myyy gooodd!!!! I can’t even describe it!! It was basically a comedic dance where he was pretending to be drunk but was dancing in the most amazing way. Almost spilling his beer, spinning it around!! I can’t describe it- I just can’t! I have never seen anything like it ever!!! The closest I can find on youtube is Joe Frisco, who was an American vaudeville performer.
I seriously want to do this!!! . As far as I can tell, this is what early jazz dance looked like; Strange to think of its evolution between this and what I knew as Jazz dance aka the 80s. I’ve also found some super neat clips of the dance duo Al and Leon from around that same era! It's making me think that if I take some Lindy Hop classes, I might have a better idea where I want to go with this.
I honestly have the goal of trying to do a comedy number that emulates this style and doing it really well and having it be super high energy. I want to be someone who is cool enough to do a tribute number to Rubber Legs one day! I guess I will just have to stalk the shit out of him at next years BHOF haha! Until then, I leave you with the bugs; which is definitely less technically adept but hopefully silly enough to compare on the fun scale!
This number came together sooooo easily for me. Sometimes the process of what I’m trying to do will take quite abit longer to get together.. but this one? I guess its all my experience as an aspiring crazy cat lady.
I was inspired firstly by the song. It reminds me of the scene from the 80’s childrens classic, “The Last Unicorn” where the bumbling magician Schmendrick accidentally brings a tree to life and it basically starts to rape him. I’m sorry but tree rape IS funny!!! I essentially felt the song demanded that type of Elmyra character and proceeded to find inspiration in the relationship between me and my cat Joey Lawrence. I love Joey.... but Joey does not love me!!! WHY WON’T YOU LOVE ME YOU BASTARD CAT!!! WWWHYYYYYYYYYYY!!!! It turns out that cats do not like a.) pretending they are mink stoles b.) playing Angelina and Maddox or c.) being clenched tightly by a love barnacle such as myself. Stupid Joey. So yes.. the desperate wanting of a cats love I am familiar with. I just used a sketch formula that I learned from the super awesome amazing Morgan Brayton to beef up my storyline.
Basically what I learned is that every sketch, which like comedic burlesque is a short, self-Contained, scripted, hilarious scene. This scene needs to exist in a comedic reality. Anything can happen here (as long as its funny)!! And within your story you need a premise, some complications, an ending. In my story the premise is that I’m a crazy cat lady (yaaah.. the premise is that i’m a crazy cat lady.. the premise...), my complication is that my kitty does not love me as much as I love him, and my ending is.. well I’m going to make you watch the video!! HA HA!! Now I do love my kitty but I will say I haven’t yet reached the level of insanity where I would actually do any of these things to any cat that my character does in my ending (just the level necessary to think it is really really funny..); but I also learned that in your comedic reality the best way to find your ending is to let the situation escalate and you will find your answer there. How would your character react to the conflict? You will also probably be able to note my reference to the crazy cat lady from the Simpsons. A little homage to one of my favorite comedy shows and probably the best crazy cat lady ever.
So in closing, I post pictures of me torturing my cat and the wish that you enjoy this small glimpse into my future. For more kitty-cat antics, please join me and the rest of the Chickens at this weekends edition of the Taboo Revue. I will be performing a sort of follow-up piece to this number. I KNOW YOU CAN’T WAIT!!!
My adventures in Burlesque Choreography!