Improv8 2017: the most nimble-witted of Theatre Guild shows

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Do not be the least bit surprised if you don’t see this scene when you catch the show. It’s improv, which is more or less by definition a different show every night.

Improv8 2017

Eric Jackson’s photos and appreciation

One can’t review improv in the normal way that one reviews a play and make much sense. The main theme is the 1970s but it’s a different situation every night and nobody knows what she or he might be called upon to do. Come to think about it, this would be good training for lawyers who have to think on their feet in courtrooms. It’s a number of years old now, but even before the summertime improv shows the Theatre Guild would do difficult or experimental stuff this time of the year, when audiences are reduced by people out traveling and the folks who do community theater have fewer constraints about steep learning curves to sharpen their skills.

What has happened, however, is that a younger crowd that mostly speaks English as a second language, does not have as much money to travel as the average person at a Guild show in, say, October and has a different set of tastes and expectations has glommed onto Improv8. Plus, since each show is different there is a hard core who come to multiple shows. Improv8 is not, therefore, the attendance doldrums that July presentations at the Guild’s wooden playhouse in Ancon were usually becalmed.

During intermissions and afterward there is a different band every night. So, what of the music inside and outside? This reporter got into the doo-wop and The Beatles covers, and didn’t get into the disco and Monkees cover. The Detroit Rockers Engaged in the Abolition of Disco (DREAD) indoctrination seems to have a lifelong hold, even unto buzzardly old age. But you may have entirely different tastes, and that’s fine.

On the press night, the night before opening night, who was the best performer in the eyes of this reporter? That’s hard to say. Most of the folks had been seen before and others had not. The overall quality of performance has improved over the years. To pick one person, it would be the MC, Ingrid MacCartney.

Imrov8 2017
Directed by Amit Nathani
Produced by Mónica Crespo
Starring Ingrid MacCartney (MC), Andrea Marchosky, Billy Shyne, HB Twohy, Hilary Hughes, Joe Mezquita, Juan de la Guardia, Lisa Palm, Yesui Aranda and Amit Nathani
Production assistant Sandra Sosa
Set design José Manuel López
Set construction Aylin Medina and Dean Hopster
Lighting design Juan de la Guardia
Lighting operation Andrés Díaz
Sound design and operation Amit Nathani
Stage manager Sandra Sosa
Costume design Keitha Kushner
Makeup and hair Dayana Moreno
Choreography Cristina Maduro
Marketing José Manuel López and María Emma Faria
Poster design José Manuel López
Graphic concept José Manuel López and Dayana Moreno
Program design Dayana Moreno
Photography Elena Nathani

Two more weeks, July 27-29 and August 3-5, shows at 8 p.m.

 

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