And just because we make it up at show time doesn’t mean we don’t do a lot of homework! In a show like Twilight Zone, we go right to the source – the original show! Through the miracle of Netflix, we have the entire series at our fingertips at any time.
Twilight Zone in particular presents an interesting (and exciting) challenge for improvisers. Unlike Star Trek, Twilight Zone isn’t just one genre. Twilight Zone had science fiction episodes, western episodes, horror episodes, psychological thriller episodes, comedic episodes – all of which were told from the viewpoint of the later 50’s / early 60’s.
So we looked at these episodes…a LOT of them! We looked to find the overall framework of the show (it’s just not Twilight Zone without those Rod Serling monologues). We looked at how various genres were carried out in the show, like the Western story of “Mr. Denton on Doomsday”, or the science fiction in “To Serve Man”.
Here’s a list of the episodes we studied (although many of the company watched even more – it’s a tough job, but some improviser has to do it!).
They aren’t listed in any particular order of recommendation or relevance to the work we’re putting on stage, since all of these are so different. So pick any one of them to start – we think you’ll find yourself happily lost…in the Twilight Zone!
It’s a Good Life (s3, ep8)
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet (s5, ep3)
The Hitchhiker (s1, ep16)
The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street (s1, ep22)
To Serve Man (s3, ep24)
Time Enough at Last (s1, ep8)
Eye of the Beholder (s2, ep6)
Living Doll (s5, ep6)
Nothing in the Dark (s3, ep16)
Walking Distance (s1, ep5)
Five Characters in Search of an Exit (s3, ep14)
The Lonely (s1, ep7)
A Stop at Willoughby (s1, ep30)
I Shot an Arrow into the Air (s1, ep15)
Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up (s2, ep28)