Conducting an hour-long improv performance is challenging, but Artig, a theatre group from Austria, pulled it off in style

For a play to be good, it must have a powerful plot, characters, humour and above all, a performance that will stay with you. The improvisational theatre performance by Artig, an Austrian group from Vienna, held recently at Max Mueller Bhavan-Goethe Institut, had all this. The performance, being improvisational, was spontaneous and it was remarkable to watch the three actors, Magdalena Haftner, Lino Kleingarn and Anne-Marie Kuhfuß, pull off an incredible impromptu performance for an hour sans props, sets, costumes and music.

Even though the actors performed in both German and English, it was easy to follow the performances as they conveyed its essence through their acting, using their bodies and emotive skills.

In the first performance, the dialogues were in German, the actors got the audience to guess the emotions they portrayed. The next performance was the object game, in which the audience chose the setting of the play. Out of the suggestions given, the actors chose a tennis court. Besides spinning a hilarious story, the actors used their bodies as props, including tennis balls, a tea maker, a table and a phone in split seconds.

The audience were next asked by one of the actors: “What if you have in your imagination an event, a location, where many people meet?”

The audience came up with a number of ideas, until someone shouted out “A Church!” The suggestion was perfect because it led the actors perform the funniest skit of the evening, which revolves around a woman who goes to the local priest to confess killing her third husband! Used to listening to her confessions of killing her husbands, the priest advises her not to kill, especially a man, ever again. The plot had many twists and turns, each time presenting outrageous possibilities, which made the audience double up in laughter.

Typewriter, had the actors ask the audience to come up with a title of a book that doesn’t exist. The Mango Man was chosen to be enacted, with one of the actors being the author typing a story about a man lost in a jungle and the other two actors being the characters in the book. Though not as hilarious as the previous act, The Mango Man performance was interesting for its complicated story.

One didn’t quite know how time flew as the performance drew to an end.

Formed in 2009, Artig mainly works with different styles of improvisational theatre.