Musical Hotspot is blog dedicated to the art of performing music to accompany improvised theatre. The Musical Hotspot Podcast delivers the audio files from the blog, such as live improvised performances, and recordings demonstrating improv music techniques.
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Themes for recurring characters can bring a great element in to a long-form show. Here are some we put together for Prognosis: Death!. In the last instalment about Prognosis: Death!, Impro Mafia's long form improvised show, we talked about how character themes can contribute to the immersion of a story. Dan from Impro Mafia has been hounding me relentlessly to record a medley of the themes from P:D!. (Well, ok, he's asked me twice. Lay off, man!) I finally got around to it, and just in time, too - the second season of Prognosis: Death! is right around the corner. Some of these character themes were pretty well-formed during the first season. Others were still on their way, especially where I was still getting to know the characters. Here's that medley, along with a breakdown of how it maps to each of Prognosis Death's characters. Listen to Prognosis: Death! Medley or download it from Podbean.comListen to P:D! Theme by Tim Wotherspoon or download it Intro: A piano-only interpretation of Tim Wotherspoon's excellent theme music. Best Damn Doctor: Dr Burton Mangold (played by David Massingham) is the hospital's uberdoctor. Patients rarely die on his watch. And when they do - the drama! Mangold's music is an upbeat triumphant march, very heroic. I must admit borrowing a fair bit from Captain Hammer's opening number in Dr Horrible for this. Meanwhile, At The Nurses' Station: During the show, as one scene finished, the narrator would call the beginning of the next scene, priming it by introducing the characters and the location. The Nurses' Station was a great spot for some of the characters to meet, gossip, and console over impossible relationships, unaware that the latest supernatural threat to St Love is on the rise. The Leggy Avenger: Nurse Lotte Buble (played by Natalie Bochenski) has been with the hospital for a long time. Things never quite go her way, but she soldiers on. Buble has a variety of unusual skills (one of which comes from the audience at the start of the show), including a doorframe repair person and a masked superhero. Buble's theme is mostly upbeat, bittersweet, and resilient. Love Theme: Dr Mangold and Nurse Buble's simmering tension often seems hopeless, as they set their feelings aside to deal with the latest crisis to hit the residents of St Love. This theme, or variations on it, often appeared when Mangold and Buble had the stage to themselves. Faith and Donations: Reverend Thistlewaite (played by Wade Robinson) was the name of a variety of members of the cloth that appeared in different episodes, all with different countries of origin but somehow always named Thistlewaite. Jeremy Thistlewaite. Jeremy Von Thistewaite. Jeremy McThistlewaite. These Thistlewaites seemed to die. A lot. Three Seconds Behind: Dr Ludwig LeStrange (played by Dan Beeston) is the hospital's mortician. He doesn't have very much to do, thanks to Dr Mangold and the low mortality rate at the hospital. Dr LeStrange is introverted and outwardly calm, but hides all manner of emotion and tension. He has awkwardly formed hand gestures; due to a bizarre time travel accident, his fingers are three seconds behind the rest of him. His theme music is sad and discordant. This is the theme music I figured out first. Sadly, I recently discovered that Dr LeStrange's theme works very well as backing to Britney Spears' Hit Me Baby One More Time. Sigh. Hunting for Doilys: Dr Harold Dean (played by Luke Allan) is the hospital adminstrator, and Dr Mangold's arch enemy. Dean schemes to scrimp and save every penny to generate more profit for the hospital. Healthy people aren't profitable, so Mangold's prowess in the operating theatre runs counter to Dean's agenda. Dean is always looking for a way to take Mangold down. Dean's music is a nice counterpoint to Mangold's, similar in tempo and feel, but with a descending minor chord structure vs Mangold's ascendi