Improvisation in any context can be challenging, but throw in some Shakespeare and an incredibly complex collection of rhyming structures and it seems nigh on impossible. Yet improv extraordinaires Adam Meggido and Sean McCann spectacularly pulled it off.
Simply seeing the vast amount of talent and knowledge that Meggido and McCann have is astonishing to watch.
As we enter, both Meggido and McCann interact with us in iambic pentameter using Shakespearean language. Naturally, we have already started giggling before the lights have gone down. The two then explain that they will stage an improvised comedy, tragedy, history or romance based solely on audience suggestions. However, unlike many other improv shows, the duo set multiple challenges and competitions for each other throughout the the show. For example, if either should stray from the poetic meter they must take a forfeit. This can be anything from delivering a story using only limericks or recounting their own creation thus far in the form of a Shakespearean sonnet.
Needless to say, as an improv show, audience interaction is essential, yet Meggido and McCann push themselves and the audience further with constant interactions and egging us on to challenge them to incredibly difficult tasks. A favourite of mine was the inclusion of random and irrelevant nouns into the narrative, all of which were supplied by us. The constant challenges these performers face gives this show the essence of a ludicrous rap battle for literary scholars. Though the interactions and challenges are remarkable, you do, at times, struggle to keep up with the duo, simply because the show is so fast paced and they are constantly delivering impressive feats of literary genius.
It is not just Shakespeare that The School of Night takes inspiration from, but a whole manner of poets and playwrights including Chaucer, Poe and Pinter. Simply seeing the vast amount of talent and knowledge that Meggido and McCann have is astonishing to watch.