Zimmer Dental was bringing several branches of the company together in Paris, France for a general meeting. Though business was the top priority, they wanted their employees and managers (many from across North America and Europe) to have some fun while in the city of lights. They decided that a dinner cruise along the river Seine would be a nice finale, and they asked the Extant Jesters to provide the on board evening entertainment following the dinner. They warned us that everyone would probably be quite tired after a long weekend of meetings, and that some people who were staying outside of the arrondisement in which we were playing might opt to leave and head back to their hotel part way through the show.
WHAT WE DID TO PREPARE:
We tried to envision which show format would best suit this particular party. The client requested minimal audience participation and wanted to ensure that the show stayed light, humourous and fun. We decided that our Ultimate Improv format would go over well. Ultimate Improv is a show format where 2 teams of 2 face off short-form style and the audience members vote after each scene. After 90 minutes one team is determined the victor.
ON THE NIGHT OF THE PERFORMANCE:
There was an audience of approximately 150 people, and we set up a central platform in the midst of the dining tables as our stage. It was obvious that all in attendance were exhausted from a full weekend of meetings and training. But as soon as our music started and the first team came out, everyone woke up with a smile. The show went off without a hitch and the crowd seemed to have a great time calling out scene suggestions and voting after each improv team face-off. After 45 minutes of performing, we had a short 10 minute intermission so that audience members could use the washroom, get another glass of wine, or head back to their hotel... To our surprise, when we started up again for the second half of the show- every seat was filled- everyone decided to stay and watch the end of the show and to help determine the winning team! Following the performance, audience members approached the actors and flooded them with praise and "how can you be funny without rehearsing anyways?" questions. All in all, the night was a great success, and our Ultimate Improv show was a fabulous, memorable finish to a 3 day long productive meeting.