The 'Next Big Thing' acts before they think

Act Before You Think 2010, a competition of live improvised theatre presented by the Mind Adventures Theatre Company kicked off last week at the Warehouse Project and will continue throughout this month. Two teams – ‘The Next Big Thing’ and the ‘Dramatic Quartet’ – acted-off against each other in a series of wacky theatre-based games to see who could make a bigger, better spectacle of themselves.

‘The Next Big Thing’, with two boys and two girls together with the Dramatic Quartet with three girls and one boy had the audience roaring and giggling, and presented the judges with quite a dilemma. The judges – resident judge Richard Simon and guest judges Nimmi Harasgama and Mohammed Adamally – seemed constantly torn between the two teams.

Winners of round one in Mind Adventures’ four-round theatre championships, The Next Big Thing. L-R: Inaya Bongso, Louisa Mundo, Dilsiri Welikala, and Ajith Ranasinha. Photograph by Deshan Tennekoon.

The teams had to do a number of tasks – ranging from the easy to the difficult, the silly to the ridiculous. One of the most popular games was Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – where one team member has to play host and the other three members are each secretly given a character. The host, of course, has to try and guess who his/her guests are, within a given time limit. We saw hilarious interpretations of a fish out of water and someone who thought he was a piece of furniture – just to name a few of the quirky characters the teams had to portray and identify in time.

Another favourite was Speed Date – where two famous characters meet at a blind speed date. This was one of the games that raised the intensity both for the competitors and the audience and caused a few side stitches among members of the audience – as this had a single member from each team going directly head-to- head with each other. Here, the audience got involved in guessing who was who – also helping to shape the judge’s understanding of how well the teams had portrayed the given characters. Throughout the show, the games kept getting more and more challenging and the teams kept rising to the challenge well – ending in a parliamentary debate in the style of a Musical – followed by a morning talk show with set characters and a set topic, with comical results. The audience continued to participate – showing their support for one or both of the teams, shouting suggestions for scenes and setting up games.

At the end of an exciting opening night, ‘The Next Big Thing’ won with a total of 168 points – leaving ‘The Dramatic Quartet’ with 153 points. To top things off, upon the request of the judges, supported heavily by the audience – Mind Adventures Company Members Tracy Holsinger and Brandon Ingram, who were also the hosts of the show, launched into an improv piece portraying how Mind Adventures came up with the idea for Act Before You Think – played in Bollywood, romantic-tragedy style!

‘The Next Big Thing’ walked away with a voucher for lunch for all four team-members at Barefoot Garden Café and book vouchers worth Rs. 5000 at the Barefoot Bookshop.

The next dates for 'Act Before You Think 2010 'are October 14 and 21– at the Warehouse Project, Tripoli Road, Maradana (Colombo 10), beginning at 8 pm, with the Finale scheduled for 28 October at the same time and place.

Tickets are available at Coco Veranda (No. 32 Ward Place, Colombo 07), The Warehouse Project and at the door on the nights. This event is presented by the Mind Adventures Theatre Company, sponsored by Elephant House, with media partners E FM and Sunday Times. Gifts sponsored by Barefoot, Coco Veranda and Galapita Healing Garden.

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