Listen closely to the accusations shouted out at the beginning of “Blak Cloud: The Improvised Salem Witch Trial,” by the comedy troupe Jet City Improv. For they’ll give you a clue as to how the rest of the show is going to progress.
The show opened October 3 and will run most Thursdays and Fridays through November 22 at the troupe's theater in Seattle's University District. A witch trial is a perfect theme for the Halloween season, and the talented nine-member cast has great fun with the premise (and the title spelling is deliberate by the way, taken from an actual quote by a magistrate: "After the events had transpired and the dust had settled in the village, a blak cloud had spread over Salem”).
The ball gets rolling when two audience members are chosen to accuse the suspected witch of evil misdeeds. The story that followed on the night “Examiner” was present featured a scheming single woman, references to a mysterious rash circulating among the town’s residents, a lonely widow, a suspiciously close brother and sister, and a leering magistrate. The humorous dialogue flowed with such ease, it’s hard to believe it was all improvised.
But attend the show a second time (which you can do at a discounted price), and the plot will be completely different. The ending will be different too, for everyone who attends is not just in the audience — you’re also automatically member of the jury. As you enter the theater, you’re given a special bag containing two rocks, one black, and one white, to cast your vote at the show’s end, pronouncing the accused witch innocent or guilty. The full bar on hand also helps liven up the proceedings.
Luckily, Halloween falls on a Thursday this year, and “Blak Cloud” should provide a lot of spooky thrills on that night.