The Egyptian Theatre will present Improv Extravaganza
November 11, 2014
Improv comedy is a kick in the pants, said Tom Shannon of the local improvisational company, Hot Toddy.
"The act of improvising, making up stories and trying to figure it all out with other people is one of the most fun things in the world," Shannon told The Park Record. "I had horrible stage fright and just got over it maybe five or six years ago, but the only reason I kept doing improv was because it was so much fun."
Park City will get the opportunity to see not one but three improvisational comedy companies on Saturday, Nov. 15, when Hot Toddy, Quick Wits and Off the Wall present an Improv Extravaganza at the Egyptian Theatre.
So what, exactly, is improv?
"Generally when you tell someone you do improv, they think you just get up and tell jokes," Shannon explained. "That’s actually stand-up comedy, and not what improv is.
"Theatrical improvisation is most likely to be comedy, but doesn’t have to be, and there are many styles," he said. "The three companies that will perform will show three different styles."
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Quick Wits will do short-form. Hot Toddy will perform long-form and Off the Wall will present musical improv.
"Short-form improv is usually comprised of games that last one to two minutes long that generally have punch lines," Shannon said. "Some of the games are formatted, such as the alphabet game where consecutive sentences that the actors say start with the next letters of the alphabet."
Short-form also involves guessing games and quick sets where the actors make up uses for certain props, according to Shannon.
"Long-form, on the other hand, usually contains a narrative or a story, and we make it up as we go along," he said. "We’ll come out and do an intro and perform a 35-minute long-form set.
"We don’t know what we’re going to do, but we’re hoping it will tie together as the story and characters unfold," Shannon said. "We’ll put in some callbacks and echoes and rhymes and hopefully it will all make sense at the end."
The musical set that Off the Wall will do will close out the night.
"They have four or five musicians with them and I’ve heard it’s very funny," Shannon said.
The main challenge of improv comedy is to keep things quick and snappy.
"Ideally we want it to be as fresh as it can be," Shannon said. "So if I see one of my partners doing the same move or playing the same character over and over again, I will call them out. And I hope they will do the same for me."
The Improv Extravaganza was the brainchild of Amber Hansen, the Egyptian Theatre’s box office manager.
"She is also one of the members of Hot Toddy," Shannon said. "We performed our own show at the Egyptian last year in October and we had been talking about doing another show. So, Amber contacted the others troupes and set it all up this year."
"It’s been a year since Hot Toddy has performed at the Egyptian," Shannon said. "We’re excited to have that opportunity to perform on our home turf."
The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., will present Improv Extravaganza on Saturday, Nov. 15, at 8 p.m. Three local improvisational comedy troupes Quick Wits, Hot Toddy and Off the Wall — will present an array of short form, long form and musical comedy. Tickets range from $15 to $25 and are available by visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com .
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