The Mocumentalists make all sorts of documentaries: biographies, phenomenal investigations, event coverage, war correspondence, success stories, educational programs, etc. If it is a noun, they can do a show about it.
The Mockumentalists have been performing together with each other for over 2 years and continue to fine tune their format. Their format combines aspects of a narrative with other games such as cut-tos and split scenes. These along with one-on-none interviews help paint a picture for the audience.
We asked Matt Graham how the Mockumentalists came to be:
Steven and I discussed the idea of a doc(mock)mentary-style improv troupe several times over Thai food. We knew it would be interview-driven. That was about it.
We decided rather than invite a bunch of people to be IN the troupe and create a form/name/norms-of-interaction together, Steven and I would just take on a directorial role. We invited cast members who we knew had diverse character palates because we knew the interviews would need to focus on absurd, interesting characters to sustain audience focus.
The deal was, Steven or I would be in the troupe and the other person would direct/coach. We treated it like casual dating. Cast members could opt out or be asked to leave at any point. We thought this would avoid some troupe drama if things weren’t working out.
Steven had some vision for unique devices that would be specific to the format, so I got to play in the first run!
The Mockumentalists rehearsed for 3-4 months before ever doing a show. During this time, we developed our unique interview edits (Walk to Talk; Pause to Pause), and the opening/closing “lineup” that characterized our early shows.
After about 6 months of performing together, I offered to switch places with Steven and coach the troupe for a while. He thought I was having too much fun to quit performing (and he was enjoying coaching, too), so he refused my offer. The other members of the troupe met and decided to ask him to join the troupe. He said, “Yes.”
Check out The Mockumentalists Saturday, April 18th, at this year’s Houston Improv festival!