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Life Unscripted

Updated: Sep 4, 2020

Life Unscripted explores the impact of current news on a group of fictional characters, living through the Covid-19 pandemic, in a series of improvised video calls.

The news is dark, and comedy brings relief. There's no way of avoiding Covid-19, and in class it's always the hot topic. It effects all of us. It's been cathartic to use that in our online improv. Life Unscripted is a topical, satirical, improvised soap opera, made in episodes on mobile phones.


Find all episodes here:


See also In Light of Recent News which was a pre-curser to this idea.

We've had a great time creating this with our ensemble class. Everyone has honed their own believable character, and their relationships develop and start to intertwine each week - impacted by what's happening with real-life current affairs.

In class we talk about what's been happening that week in the news, or that very day, and this informs the series of short mobile face-time style conversations to tell the story. Having the freedom of mobiles to roam, and making use of your 'actual' environment is really invigorating for improv, and brings energy and realism to the performances. Including what is to hand and the truth of the moment, be it your cat in the way, a passing police siren, or a bad back (which Emma who plays Fran had in the first episode, unable to get up from the sofa) has become natural. Playing the same character, knowing them better and better, and being 'in-role' is super immersive.

We run all the scenes back-to-back in the session, and I direct by using closed captions. I edit later - but only to cut unusable moments because of really bad sound or technical issues, and add subtitles later. If there's a lag or dodgy sound, we try to include that in the scene - only if it gets too bad do we cut it in the edit, or start the scene off again. Rarely though, and it's been fun and challenging to work with the tech rather than against it.

See also In Light of Recent News which was a pre-curser to this idea.

Episode 1. 38mins

Fran can barely move cos of Joe Wicks' workout, and Sandra has to deal with the fall out. Felicity wants to open the pub, but Vikki has other things on her mind - an adult role-play with Boris. Simon's having a really bad day off, and are Russians watching Terence?

Episode 2. 15mins

Fran's furious because Sandra's gone to Spain and has to be quarantined. Sandra's son Michael returns home. George wants to make a bubble with Terence, and Felicity, and with just about anyone.

Episode 3. 14mins.

Brian needs more masks from the reclusive Amanda. Simon wants a date with her. Vikki has an online band practice, but the gig's been cancelled by Boris.

Episode 4. 32mins.

George has lost Cynthia to Dexter in America. Michael's in hiding from his mum, but has a job interview to work at Felicity's pub, and is in big trouble with Brian. Brian needs his masks back from Sandra before she opens the package. (Sandra has internet and sound problems at the end, but stay with it!)

Episode 5. 7mins.

A short stand-alone episode of Simon's 1/2 price meal date with Amanda.

Episode 6. 34 mins

Performed live at our summer virtual improv party, bank holiday August weekend. George wants SImon to come to the gig at the pub, but Michael was unfortunately left in charge. Felicity's call from the Track and Trace team has an impact on everyone.

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