EPIC improv comedy provides needed laughs at summer’s end

-A A +A
By Sara Miller

The first day of school is just around the corner. Perhaps it’s been a joyful summer of memories that will be recorded in your family scrapbook, or perhaps you’ve been counting the minutes until the little ones are thrown back into a daily routine. Either way, summer vacation is a bit like improvisational comedy — you spend three months with people who have no filter, and you make things up on the fly to keep them entertained. You can only hope that at the end of it all you find yourself laughing.

If your summer has felt a bit like the unpredictable nature of improv, why not let the professionals take over. Nothing eases the pain (or joy) of back-to-school like a little improv comedy from the seasoned players of the Evergreen Players Improv Comedy, or EPiC.

2014 marks the fourth season that the EPiC actors have filled Center/Stage with the random hilarity of a completely unscripted show for a bi-annual celebration of comedy. The popularity of the EPiC shows stems from the ever-changing nature of improv. The actors often begin a show with ideas provided by the audience, so no two shows are ever the same. The audience ideas then become the basis for the many improvisational “games” played during the performance.

One such game is called “Interrogation.” An EPiC cast member is sent off stage while the other players solicit ideas for a location, an activity and a celebrity from the audience. When the “criminal” returns, he is interrogated for a crime by the other players acting as police officers. The catch is that the criminal doesn’t know any of the details about the crime he committed. Through “guessing” during the interrogation, the criminal tries to determine the atrocities of which he is accused. The crimes are typically lighthearted and often sound similar to many of the things that may have been on the list of your teenager’s vacation hijinks this summer.

In another improv sketch called “Family Dinner,” the EPiC performers briefly interview an audience participant about the members of their family. The cast creates a scene about dinner at the audience member’s house. If the scene seems accurate, the audience member rings a bell; otherwise, the audience member will make a sound like a buzzer. If the players get “buzzed,” they must redo their last action or line of dialogue until the audience member makes the bell sound. The dinner tableaux might leave you feeling that your family is the most normal on the block, or it may remind you why back-to-school can’t come quickly enough.

Whatever your preference — a kid-free night out to celebrate the first week of school or one last hurrah with your family before the seriousness of another school year kicks in — the EPiC shows are sure to deliver. Audience members should arrive early and come hungry, because Up in Smoke will be serving barbecue beginning at 6 p.m. each night. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will be available from the Center/Stage concession at both performances.

To learn more about EPiC or to order tickets, call 303-674-4934 or visit www.evergreenplayers.com.

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

7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 22 and 23, at Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Lane in Evergreen

Directed by Scott Ogle

Tickets: $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, $10 for youths 12 and under

Rated: PG-13

303-674-4934 or www.evergreenplayers.com