This year’s Improv8
photos and texts by Eric Jackson
It’s improv, which means what a reporter saw one night is not going to be like the next night or the night before. But some of its practitioners are known quantities, some of the known quantities have improved since the last time, and this series of shows is historic to the Theatre Guild of Ancon, the nation’s oldest theatrical group in any language.
Yes, the Guild is community theater, but it’s also a place where outstanding professionals have learned their craft and lesser known but very good professionals have come to impart their influence. From past shows, this reporter expected that Joe Mezquita and Andres Clemente would be the excellent pillars of the performance. They were as good as expected but the rest of the cast, some of whom this reporter saw for the first time, rose to the occasion to the extent that it’s hard to pick a star for the night (Thursday, September 16) in question. Might it be said that this was ladies’ night, or a women’s year? The women — Rita Banús, Hillary Hughes, Lisa Palm and Andrea Marchosky — were collectively excellent in the context of a strong ensemble performance.
Once upon a time, the Guild would do popular Neil Simon plays and the like between Septemeber and April, then do quirkier, more demanding stuff to sharpen their skills in “vacation season.” Improv8 started under the direction of Danielle Miles, a British sometimes professional, as a summertime performance. Some of the usual Theatre Guild fans of the time were unimpressed. However, the shows attracted a bigger audience, mostly younger, largely of folks for whom English is a second language. The improv nights have grown into a great success and a logical choice to start the theater season in earnest in mid-September. But this year Miles passed the directorial baton on to Amit Nathani, and a lot of local musicians were incorporated for intermission and post-peformance shows.
Improv8 – 2016
by the Theatre Guild of Ancon
directed by Amit Nathani
produced by Carlota Allen
With Joe Mezquita, Hillary Hughes, Juan de la Guardia, Lisa Palm, Rita Banus, Yesui Aranda, Andres Clemente & Andrea Marchosky
Assistan prducer Cedric Carrere
Set design Stephanie Sanz
Set construction Cedric Carrere & Dean Hopster
Lighting design Juan de la Guardia
Lighting operation Andrés Díaz & Rob Getman
Sound design Alfonso Lewis
Sound operation Amit Nathani
Stage manager Sandra Sosa
Choreography Cristina Maduro
Marketing Maria Emma Faria
Poster & graphics Stephanie Sosa
Program design & photography Elena Nathani
Creative media design José Lopez and Dayana Moreno
Security Carlos Ortega
Membership Billy Foster
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