I went to a very delightful show last night "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" at the Hale Center Theater in Sandy, Utah. I was very curious about how they would make the flying car fly. But they did it and it was amazing! This must have been a very expensive show to mount. The technical problems were enormous and then add to that lighting, costuming, crazy inventive props and set pieces, and then the doubled cast, choreography and costumes... The list seemed endless.
But what made this show doubly delightful was how the actors were so skilled at improvisation and embellishment. I doubt that the show has been even close to the same each night. I even heard that one night, the lead actor playing Caractacus Potts convinced the actor playing Baron Bomburst to do something special for his daughter in the audience. During the Birthday scene, he asked the Baron to get the audience to sing "Happy Birthday" to his daughter. He did it without even interrupting the flow of the show. Now, that's impressive.
These actors really knew how to work the audience for laughs. Some of the scenes were just hysterical. And again, I wonder how much of that was in the script and how much was improvised and embellished as the mood dictated.
These kinds of embellishments and improvisations are not what I can expect from my very young actors. But I do like to practice acting games and exercises in the hopes that my little thespians can get a taste of working the audience for laughs. It can be such fun!