7, 2005 - THEY improv participation
in the South Florida Improv Jam Mentioned in the Palm Beach Daily
THEY improv's participation in the 4th Annual
South Florida Improv Jam to benefit Gilda's Club South Florida
was mentioned in the Palm Beach Daily News in an article by Jan
Sjostrom. If you would like to view the whole article, click
here for the Palm Beach Daily News.
The portion about THEY reads:
to flow at Improv Jam
Performers for Gilda's Club benefit to eschew scripts in workshops,
show Saturday at Kravis Center
Jan Sjostrom, Daily News Arts Editor
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Mod 27, known
for its shows at Klein Dance, will perform
Saturday at the Kravis. Troupe members, from
left, are Tom O'Donnell, Jeff Rifenberg, Kat
Keirnan, Dave Hyland and Dustin Sharpe.
So, you think you're funny.
Or maybe you'd just like to be. Either way, you can sharpen your
wits during the free improvisational comedy workshops Saturday
at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.
The workshops lead into
the South Florida Improv Jam, held that night at Persson Hall
in the Cohen Pavilion. Five improv troupes hailing from Palm
Beach to Miami-Dade counties will participate.
The Miami-based troupe
Just the Funny started the event four years ago, "to
get the groups to finally start talking and working together,"
said David Christopher, co-founder of Just the Funny. They've
played to packed audiences at the three previous jams.
Five years ago, South
Florida had only a couple of professional improv troupes,
said Christopher, who created Just the Funny in 1999. Now,
www.improvsouthflorida.com lists eight companies in the
tri-county area. Saturday's lineup will feature Impromedy,
Just the Funny, Laughing Gas, Mod 27 and THEY improv.
Improv is getting
a boost from several quarters, Christopher said. Although
it's been around since the 1950s, improv really hit its
stride when television shows such as Whose Line Is
It Anyway?, Saturday Night Live and MADtv
began exposing it to broader audiences. "People have
gotten interested from there and have formed their own
groups and shows," Christopher said.
Other than Second
City, which is booked again this season, the Kravis
hasn't presented much improv. But there's a lot of interest
in it locally. "Many of our high schools and colleges
have improv troupes as part of their drama clubs or
a separate activity," said Tracy Butler, the Kravis'
director of education.
which are taught by the performers, came about because
the Kravis is committed to education, and because
teaching improv is a good way to build audiences,
said Dave Hyland, co-director of Mod 27, the Lake
Worth-based troupe hosting this year's jam.
popularity is growing, most troupes have trouble
finding places to perform regularly, which is why
they typically get stuck in late-night slots, Christopher
said. Theaters are busy with their own programming
and comedy clubs prefer more profitable, well-known
comedians. Mod 27 is among the few improv troupes
with a consistent venue. It performs on the first
and third Saturdays of the month at Klein Dance
in Lake Worth.
often imperfectly understood. "A lot of people
when they hear the word improv think it's stand-up,"
Hyland said. "That couldn't be further from
what we're doing."
comedians typically work from a script, whereas
improv players rarely have more than an outline
as a springboard.
on Saturday will impose even more uncertainties.
Instead of working with their usual colleagues,
the troupes will be broken into four mixed
groups. The groups will get three or four
hours to rehearse, then they'll go on stage,
where they'll have about 25 minutes each.
The show will end with all players united
in a mega jam session.
comes in a number of packages — short form
(based on a game), long form (extended into
full scenes), sketch (pre-rehearsed), extreme
(like short form, but with elements of danger),
dramatic (not necessarily funny). Audiences
on Saturday probably will see examples of
knowing what will happen next is the allure
of improv. "It's so scary it's exciting,"
Hyland said. And anyway, "A lot of
times my sense of humor gets me into trouble,"
he said. "This is a way for me to
have an outlet without getting into trouble."
can be a channel for others, too, he
said. "Everybody can be funny,
if we just get out of our own way,"
topics are: long form, sketch writing,
short form and scene study. The workshops
will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
in the Cohen Pavilion. Reservations
are required. The show, which costs
$12, will start at 8 p.m. Proceeds
will benefit Gilda's Club in South
Florida, which provides support in
a home setting for people living with
information, call the Kravis at
THEY improv is an informal group of actors
getting together and performing improv, often for charities and
always for the betterment of everyone. For now there is no corporate
structure and no financial relationship, with their first several
performances to be done for charities and the money never even
being seen by the troupe. Marketing funds and efforts will either
be donated by the members or provided by the charities themselves.