Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010

Counter-Programming With After School Special Improv

The Alchemist Theatre Presents Improv During Super Bowl

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Admit it. The Super Bowl is intensely boring. Beyond the flashy ads and slickly polished production design of one of the most-watched sports games in the world, the game itself is usually quite boring. The NFC Championship game is the real end of the post-season. The Super Bowl is perfunctory--the final number at the end of the long, complex equation that is an NFL season.

A couple of hours after the start of the big game, Alchemist Theatre presents a show that’s going to be a lot more interesting than the Saints/Colts game. High School Improv group After School Special performs at the Alchemist Theatre Sunday, February 7th at 8pm. The group consists of the impressive young talents of Joel Boyd, Anna Wolfe, Kevin Gerrity and Nevin Langhus.  The group takes a suggestion from the audience and fuses long-form improv around it in a format not altogether unlike the long-running ABC series of cautionary tales. High school improv probably doesn’t sound that good. And it probably wouldn’t be were it not formed under the inspirational direction of talented comic performer Patrick Schmitz. After School Special has a rare comic dynamic that looks remarkably sophisticated next to the easy comedy of most adult improv groups. Forced to look away from traditional adult-oriented barroom improv subjects, After School Special ends up being able to get away with a kind of comedy that adult improv wouldn’t be able to do. It’s a greater challenge and it’s a lot more fun to watch than most improv.

And you didn’t really need to watch the Super Bowl anyway.

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