Abbotsford CourtyardAfter the hectic week-and-a-half that has been Unforeseen Stories, I'm enjoying a quiet evening to myself on the grounds of the Abbotsford Convent, where Impro Melbourne keeps its offices and holds most of its training sessions.

Tonight, Jess is training along with the rest of the company's "Technique" group of up-and-comers in preparation for putting on a season of Harold beginning in July. Meanwhile, I've visited a couple of nearby geocaches following reports of a geocoin in the area and have now settled down in a quiet courtyard to partake of the peace and serenity (not to mention the Impro Melbourne wireless network).

Harold—at least the way we play it, which is more formally known as the Unstructured Harold—is a free-form improvisation format where players riff on a particular word or theme through a series of scenes, movement pieces, musical numbers and whatever else happens to come about. These are revisited (or not) until the whole thing culminates into a (hopefully) satisfying conclusion. Sarah Kinsella, Impro Melbourne's foremost authority on Harold, directed the format during Unforeseen Stories, and is leading the training of the Technique group for their July run.

Because Harold is almost entirely different every time it is played, it's one of those formats you can fall in love with after seeing a particular show, and then get frustrated with as you attempt to recapture that magic. On the other hand, Harold also tends to produce a new and different kind of magic every time it is played ... which is what keeps me coming back for more.