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Stetson University opens its 107th season with an unscripted comedy show featuring a variety of improvised scenes and games. The interactive, improvised show draws on a popular comedy style known as "long-form improv," which has been sweeping the nation.
Kevin Kearney, a guest director for Stetson who has produced award-winning improv comedy in Chicago, directs "An Evening at the Improv." The show will run from Thursday, Sept. 27, through Sunday, Sept. 30, at Stetson Theatre Arts' "Second Stage" inside the Museum of Florida Art, 600 N. Woodland Blvd., adjacent to campus.
Blending several forms of comedy, this improvised show will be unlike any you have seen in the past. The familiar games, ala "Whose Line is it Anyway," in which performers compete against each other to get the biggest laugh, will be taken to new heights. Not just games, but entire scenes are improvised, which means the show doesn't stop when the buzzer goes off, and the characters can wind up going anywhere. Wacky, zany characters will be given the chance to develop throughout the evening, and can find themselves dropping in on scenes where you would never expect them. The audience has to be on their toes, too; the performers will base their improv on audience suggestions, and participation is a must! Some lucky volunteers will even get to see their own lives dramatized in front of them, through the wild lens of improv comedy. It is certain to be an exciting, fun-filled night - and every performance is different!
"Improvised comedy is always a thrill to watch, but what we're doing at Stetson is particularly interesting," director Kearney said. "The performers aren't just rattling off punch lines; they are drawing on their formal theatrical training, injecting comedic games with quality acting. The stakes are high, because the show is not limited by the rules of any one game, so the scenes could really go anywhere. The most impressive part of this kind of comedy isn't the gut busting humor - though that's certainly there - it's the ability of the performers to develop themes through their improvisation, elevating the show to the level of a scripted play."
The ensemble cast of improvisors includes Caitlyn Foster, Katie Jared, Amanda Roy, Emily Stevenson, Danny Loecken, Jacob Manos, Dylan Mullins, Nick Pollitt and Tony Recktenwald. More than 22 years of improv experience are represented between the performers and director.
"An Evening at the Improv" will be presented at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The final performance will be a matinee at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Admission is $12 for adults and $10 for senior citizens and non-Stetson students. Stetson students, faculty and staff presenting valid I.D. will be admitted free. Parking is free. Tickets will be available at the door, and can be purchased with cash or a check. Reserved tickets must be picked up 30 minutes prior to the start of each show.
For information or reservations, call Stetson Theatre's "Second Stage" box office at (386) 822-8700. Box-office hours are from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. every weekday afternoon from Sept. 17-28, and one hour prior to curtain of each performance.