Sunday, October 25, 2009

ImpFest 2009

The boring preamble

From the top, I've known this week would be a long, fun one. I'm enough of a grownup that I know to plan real-life stuff around festivals: Get the house ready in advance for guest artists (Jill!), make sure work is under control so I can leave on time, arrange workout schedule so I don't miss any, figure out meals and stuff so I don't go nuts with unhealthy food, plan time for sleep.

Of course, life doesn't cooperate, so Thursday I realized I was coming down with a cold. Awesome. The good news: My job is flexible enough that if you're sick, you can take your laptop and work from home so you don't infect everyone in our giant petri dish of an office. The bad: There is no telecommuting in improv.

And when you're sick, your characters all have to have one thing in common: PLAY SOMEONE WHO ISN'T SICK.

So for two shows each night, two classes (taking) on Saturday, one class (teaching) on Sunday, and a coaching session Sunday morning, that's what I got to do. Whee!

Thursday night
Anomaly Orange, Tantrum, TrivProv, Spite

Our first question: What's the rating? On one hand, we're all present and former ComedyCity/ComedySportz players, which means we can do family-friendly content in our sleep. (And honestly, if you're a professional improviser, you'd better be able to do that.) On the other, we don't do it much with those troupes. And "family friendly" means different things to different people.

John's rule: Anomaly Orange brought the most people, so they could set the rating. Happy times for Spite: They set it in our comfort zone.

Tantrum was a little shorthanded—missing Pete and Josh—but we put up a fun little short-form set. Not inspiring, ground-breaking genius improv, but we had some fun moments (and it turns out Megan didn't actually give me a black eye). Spite had our best set in a while—we felt totally on and in sync with each other. The after party would have been nice, but we're grown-ups, so we skee-daddled.

Anomaly Orange has grown tremendously since last time I saw them; Tom Kessler is a natural monologist and mixed commentary with storytelling, all with a strong, authentic emotional point of view. Triv-Prov was a blast—and included the most fun white-boy rap I've seen.

Friday night
Anomaly Orange, Biblioclast, Spite
Improv-Abilities, Coma Chameleon, Tantrum

Whaaaat? Spite in a 7pm show? OK. We came close. And didn't feel as great as Thursday, but were really happy with our set. Tantrum was—well, Tantrum was Spite plus Michael with special guest, Jill Bernard. Being four-sevenths of a group makes you play differently—so there was a fun energy there—and you can't go wrong with Jill as a monologist. But to say we didn't miss Pete and Josh (and Rob, on Friday) would be a big fat lie. Tantrum is the seven of us, and we're missing part of our brain when they're gone.

Another night groups bringin' it. I got to see Coma Chameleon's super-fun format for the first time (a town of sentient animals—whee!). I-A, with a much-smaller-than-usual cast, did some really fun stuff—and they've got girls now, which gives them new dimension. And Biblioclast, with John and Nifer, was wonderful; their trust in and patience with each other made their piece a joy to watch.

Jill and I got lost three times on the way to the after party, because I stupidly trusted google instead of Keith.

Workshops with Jill
Omega Directive, Coma Chameleon, Improv-Abilities
One, Dictionary Soup, Brownies Don't Lie

And...hey. My cold has sensed weakness. And I've still got work to do. So more tomorrow.


  1. I never noticed a time while you were on stage that you seemed sick. So I guess that's a mission accomplish. I know myself how hard it is to get high energy when you're sick.

  2. Wow, I just got name-dropped by Trish Berrong! In a positive context! Awesome. Thanks for noticing our growth as a troupe, Trish, we've been working hard. :D Fun playing with you at workshops, and loved, loved, loved watching you with Spite, Tantrum, and Brownies last weekend. You were fantastic.

  3. Congrats all on your accomplishments this weekend. I'm sorry I couldn't be there to share it with you.

  4. Thanks, David and Tom! And we missed you, Pete. Lots.


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