Improv8 2016

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Before the show, Andres Clemente ponders the burning issues of our time. He’s a Muppets fan, draws the distinction between that and Sesame Street, and doesn’t much care for Rocky & Bullwinkle.

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.

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One way to prepare for the show.

 

The pre-show exercises were something that Danielle Miles started and the tradition continues.
The pre-show exercises were something that Danielle Miles started and the tradition continues.

 

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To be eaten alive by Hillary — what a terrible fate!

 

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Andrea Marchosky, one of the “newer” cast members.

 

With this weapon, we will DESTROY THE WORLD! Bwahahahahaha!
With this weapon, we will DESTROY THE WORLD! Bwahahahahaha!

 

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The doo wop performance was, in this buzzardly old reporter’s opinion, the best part of the night.

 

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Joe and Andres, who have been pillars of the Guild’s improv casts since the start.

 

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Hillary Hughes, Rita Banús and Lisa Palm.

 

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Director and doo wop accompanist Amit Nathani.

 

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The cast, catching Lisa Palm.

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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