Comedy is alive and well in Houston. Station theater, located near the theater district, in the heart of downtown provides top quality improv. According to the history on the website, “Station theater is bringing Houston’s first conservatory and performance space dedicated to longform improv and comedy.” Every Thursday through Saturday, you can see different acts live on stage and best part of all the theater is “BYOB” (bring your own beverage). A casual, “intimate” setting allows audience ease to enjoy the laughs.
Last night, there were three different acts that took the stage and each one funny, unique and intriguing in their own way. The night opened with a group called Launchpad and opened by asking the audience for a suggestion. The first suggestion that came from the audience was “piccolo” and then cast jumped into action. The group, Launchpad, is the newest student troupe yet from the ease with which they commanded the stage and maintained composure the audience would never have guessed that they weren’t seasoned professionals.
The next group to take the stage was Padded Cell. This is a group of three members David Toscano, Matt Gawloski & Steven Saltsman (Conservatory Manager). Each one of these guys is equally talented, funny and entertaining. This group was the personal favorite of my evening offering both clever, witty and intelligent humor suited both for the audience and performance. These guys have a great on stage chemistry which allows the improve to follow as if it were entirely scripted.
The last piece of the night came from Structure where they presented the Monoscene. As described on the site, “The monoscene form is single long scene in the same space and time, similar to an act of a play.” For the performance last night, the scene was a group of mental patients led by a seemingly unsure psychiatrist. The entire humorous and multi-talented cast consisted of Aaron Garrett, Shyla Ray (theater director), Brenda Valdivia, Ned Gayle and Antoine W.B.
Actor Garrett, was a too well studied mental patient group member, commanded the stage and seemed to set the tone for the other cast members, all of which provided laughs in their own unique way. The entire cast deserves a mention for their performances but Ray, as a masochist “everyone hates me” character and Gayle as the “I hate everyone and no one touch me” character provided serious entertainment. A moment between Gayle and a fellow cast member received the biggest laughs of the night. Overall, this piece was a perfect end to the night of laughs.
On top of the performances that are offered weekly, they also offer classes for differing performance levels. Each week at 7:30 pm on Fridays, the theater offers a “FREE Intro to Improv Class”. Not only can audiences come out and see the shows, they can also be a part of the action and best of all they can find out free, if this is the area for them.
Be sure to browse around the website for additional information about purchasing tickets for shows each week, special events, class and workshop events, information about staffing and other wonderful tidbits of knowledge. Station theater is also social, be sure to like them on Facebook to stay up to date on all the latest happening of the theater. Be sure to check back Sunday for a follow up to this article. I will be attending the Saturday show as well.