Hot Tamale

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The Hot Tamale is a derivation of the Tamale, and developed by Travis Ploeger for his show, iMusical: The Improvised Musical. It served as the opening format to most of their shows for the first 18 months of their run.

  • Using the suggestion of a location, a scene begins.
  • At some satisfying point, the pianist will begin underscoring the scene.
  • This is a cue for Improviser A (within the scene) to initiate a tagline song.
  • Improviser A sings two verses of this song, within the scene.
  • The scene is edited into another scene, with completely different characters, with music continuing underneath.
  • At some satisfying point (but not too long into the scene), Improviser B (within the scene) will sing a third verse to the song, using the EXACT same tag as Improviser A.
  • Other improvisers (except Improviser A) tag out anyone else apart from Improviser B, and begin a new scene around Improviser B. Improviser B is the same character as before.
  • At some satisfying point (but not too long into the scene), Improviser B will sing the bridge to the song.
  • The scene is edited into another scene which must initially include Improviser A, with music continuing underneath.
  • At some satisfying point (but not too long into the scene), Improviser A will sing the final verse to the song.
  • As the final verse is sung, the other improvers fade off stage.
  • After Improviser A sings the tag, Improviser B joins her onstage to set up a "split screen" moment, and sings a repeat of the tag.
  • After Improviser B's repeat of the tag, the full company (from either off stage or quickly joining on stage) sings the tag together to end the Hot Tamale.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • This is a form that serves to quickly introduce two storylines, with two main characters.
  • The tag should be a statement that can be easily sung by any character (e.g., "My dog hates having fleas," is probably not as effective as "Life with fleas is hard," and even better would be, "Little things often make life tough." The more that the tag can be similar to a maxim or aphorism of some sort, the better.
  • Notwithstanding the above statement, popular cliches should probably be avoided as well.