Improvapalooza ’09: Whimsy Never Left the Building, Y’all

So Washington Improv Theater just wrapped up its 3rd annual Improvapalooza, a 16-hour marathon of improv programming from the city’s giddiest minds.

Here are some photo highlights with commentary:

(All photos courtesy of Red Turtle Photography.)

THURSDAY NIGHT

Fired! was an appropriately titled show about jobs and working. I’m guessing they made at least one joke about how Friday was right around the corner! Their show’s dress code was more formal than the one at my office.

A delightful show I envisioned and performed in mixing stand up and improv called Whose Punchline Is It Anyway? (surplus thanks to Sean and Jake for bringing their A-game). This scene was about two hand models waiting to audition and trying to one-up each other. Careful boys! All that time in moisturizing gloves will go to waste if an injury is sustained.

The Circle emulated a creative writing workshop. I didn’t get to see it, but um, I could watch a show about this idea at any time. Operators are on hold.

This was a hip-hop themed show my brilliant friend Mark let me be in called Hip Hop From Mom’s Basement. (click to go to his blog/film project that inspired the show). We had fly girls, and oh boy, they were the flyest. That is me making loud gestures. One of the fly girls called me “a trip” after the show. Swoonz. My poserdom is finally reaping dividends, I mean, grim-reaping skrilla!

This is a show called Jinx Springsteen and the 14th Street Band that involved my group Jinx being a band with extremely unprofessional and diva-like behavior (we even had real instruments and sparkles and sunglasses and scarves). We had to practice looking really offended and refusing to play “Free Bird” to prep for this show.

This was a show that I’m in love with that I submitted called EmoProv. I couldn’t have done it without my friends Mikael and Jaime. I got to make up bad poetry and read it on the spot. I compared myself to a raisin. My own costume was depicted in my last blog entry. It involved a lot of angst in case you didn’t pick up on that already.

Oh yay, this was a show called Celebritation starring Sylvester Stallone, Christopher Walken, and Kathy Lee Gifford. I really wish they were all BFFs in real life. Just because I think they’d bring out the best in each other.

As part of the delightful debut sketch show from Ames Aimes, reporting live from Little Ukraine was Morning Borscht! For future reference, don’t drink coffee while you’re watching unless you’re prepared for multiple spit takes.

The night was capped with a visit from the cast of Second City’s “Barack Stars” who were in town all week. They were outstanding both in their performance and in their graciousness afterward (as if they had been professionally trained in both improv and manners).

FRIDAY NIGHT

So You Think You Can WIT was a smash-hit! Here, one of the night’s contestants really feels (up) the music as “Cat Deeley” looks on…

My group Jinx also did a show called Heightened Senses where we all wore taped-over masquerade masks so none of us could see. So we all looked like we were at a costume party in the dark. Someone later reported that when someone on stage said “graveyard” at one point, four people on stage started miming digging at the exact same time. *clapping hands in delight* Group mind! Group mind! I was not one of the four.

One of my favorite shows was DinoProv! *cue Jurassic Park theme music with slide whistles* 

SATURDAY (ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY AND NIGHT)

OdinProv starring Odin the Standard Poodle! Look at him mugging. He was a delightful scene partner.

Cooking with Sean & Jordan involved making peach cobbler but it might as well have been called peach quibbler. Joost keeding! Nothing like some friendly onstage banter/fighting/hugging it out to get those TV ratings up.

Speaking of TV, this was a travel-themed show called Destination: Fun, Population: You! These ladies should be Loreal’s fresh faces of hilarity. In Thailand, hijinks and overly familiar massages ensued.

Washington Improv Radio Theater. I love the genre of film noir already, but especially when the detective is an insurance investigator named Candy Jones and she is on the hunt for a missing Chevelle.

J Skool = Some cool guys (I know) rapping! Awwww yeah, family!

This was a show called La Familia about being Italian. They served real cannolis to audience members in the beginning. Then cheek kissing happened. Then some fighting. Then some making up! Tutto bene!

One of my favorite shows, Moxie, was set in the 1940s (Mad Men-style), which is my favorite era of English diction. Everything that came after and before that is all horsefeathers, see?!

This was an improv group reunion show several years in the future. Think Zack Attack but less dysfunctional.

Uh oh, nothing says wax museum statues coming to life like being double flipped off by one of them. The bar has been raised since Kim Cattrall starred in Mannequin over two decades ago (*single geriatric tear*).

Another one of my favorite shows was a fake improvised soap opera called Bitchwood. This eyepatch found a home on Tyler’s head. It looks like he and only he was born to wear it. Also I like a town where the evil corporate head honcho’s last name is Guillotine.

Two Men in a Tub. I feel confident that to add any commentary to this picture would be to detract from its magnificence.

My friend Karen and I did some hosted bits in costume. We did an angel/devil point/counterpoint segment. My impression of an angel involves a ’60s blonde wig.

We also showed up as beings from the future. Performance art? Well. We’re certainly on the rightish track.

The Bullshit Factor! People! With! Opinions! Yelling! Them! Out!

Blue Cop Town taught me that I like fake moustaches too much, especially when they fall off and Mikael has to mime one with his finger for the rest of the show. Hypothetically speaking.

IMusical did a silent movie! They even wore black and white for it. Despite Katie’s face above, it was not a reenactment of Home Alone.

Inside the Improviser’s Studio. Being interviewed is never easy but especially when you have to make up your answers but tell the truth at the same time. Never a bad season for James Lipton Tea though.

A few shows took place literally In Bed. And delved into topics that were befitting that location. One person literally wore their undaroos. Method acting.

Time for a Road Trip!!! These stools get great mileage, and they’re not too shabby for the environment either!

We did a show at summer camp called WIT Hot American Summer. In the end, everyone was murdered by a psychopathic demon except one camper who turned out to be Harry Potter. I wish I was JK(Rowl)ing, but I am drop-dead serious.

Cast half full (really whoever was left in the theater by the end of Saturday night). Some people had to defect early for many worthy reasons including illness, illness of a significant other/spouse, prior family commitment, note from the doctor, boredom, malaise, fatigue, intrigue, malnutrition, and relocating to another city for job-related purposes.

In conclusion, I am so lucky to work with and witness so many inspired and shiny minds at play. My brain needs to wear sunglasses sometimes from being around so much dazzle. Thank you to everybody who makes (W)IT happen.

3 thoughts on “Improvapalooza ’09: Whimsy Never Left the Building, Y’all

  1. DragonKat says:

    What a fun recap!! Thanks for the props for photos. I spent roughly 12 hours that weekend watching improv through a viewfinder. Best. Weekend. Ever.

  2. Jordan Hirsch says:

    Great post, Aparna! Thanks to you, I got to relive the whole thing in just a few minutes (which was nearly as much fun and only half as exhausting). EmoProv was brilliant, by the way.

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