Improvisational comedy is the premiere format for live comedy. Famous comedians such as Richard Pryor, Billy Crystal, Lily Tomlin, Ellen DeGeneres and Adam Sandler got their start in improv comedy venues. These famous venues such as Second City and Comedy Works are usually found in big cities. For the third straight season, the Evergreen Players Improv Comedy troupe, EPiC, is bringing a weekend of improv to Evergreen.
“We’ve been doing two improvisation shows per season for the last three seasons,” says Scott Ogle, a member of EPiC. “We’ve really gotten to know each other and our comedic styles.”
Although the group has seen members come and go in the last three seasons, the cast of seven actors has remained relatively unchanged. Not only do the actors enjoy improvisational comedy, but audiences should recognize them as mainstays in Evergreen Players’ full-length productions, too. This year’s cast includes Matt Bachus, Lisa DeCaro, Beau Augustin, Sean Maslow, Bruce Montgomery, Gail Montgomery and Scott Ogle.
You might think that, given the extemporaneous nature of improv, the cast wouldn’t need to rehearse. However, cast members spend several rehearsals establishing a collaborative flow for the show.
“The show is always evolving,” Ogle says. “EPiC is lot like a professional sport. All of the players know how to play baseball or football, but when they get together for practice, they are getting into the rhythm of working together. For us, it’s about getting our minds in sync with one another before we do a show.”
The actors often begin a show with ideas provided by the audience. In the past the audience has simply yelled out suggestions, but in an effort to capture everyone’s ideas, EPiC’s actors are experimenting with written suggestions from the audience as well. The audience ideas then become the basis for the many improvisational “games” played during the performance.
One audience favorite is called “Goon River.” Based on Edgar Lee Masters “Spoon River Anthology,” the improv format consists of monologues. The story is not played, but told. The players line up in front of the audience, and, based on a single audience suggestion, they all tell the same story, each as her own character in that story. The resulting story is filled with surprises and laughs.
At $12 per ticket, and beverages from Stone Brewing Company for $2.50, an evening at the EPiC Improv is both fun and affordable.
“We like to say that for the same price as a 3-D movie ticket, you’re getting more entertainment and laughs when you come to an EPiC show,” says Susan Hoffner, public relations director for the Evergreen Players. “And you get all this right here in Evergreen without having the drive down the hill.”
Sara Miller, a freelance writer and a resident of Evergreen, lives with her husband, two children and a dog.
EPiC — Evergreen Players Improv Comedy
Presented by the Evergreen Players
Friday, Feb 10, and Saturday, Feb 11; both performances at 7:30 p.m. at Center/Stage in Evergreen, 27608 Fireweed Drive
Tickets: $12 general admission. For tickets or additional information, call 303-674-4934 or visit www.evergreenplayers.org.