Many years ago, I used to do improv comedy. I worked with a troupe that had been selected to perform at the Denver International Airport during December, as part of DIA’s plan to entertain angry and impatient passengers while they waited to catch their flight home. Performing improv comedy to a few hundred tired and angry travelers was clearly not the best plan. “Hey everyone! I know you have been waiting in this airport for six hours, you are exhausted and upset and you just want to go home. But can someone give us a location and a movie title?!”
Following my DIA-Improv experience, one thing was clear. Improv comedy is one of the toughest games in town. With no script and only the trust of their fellow improvisers to help them out on stage, an improv show can go one of two ways. It can be truly hilarious, showcasing brilliant talent and amazing skill for timing. Or it can be dreadfully painful, with a few hours of awkward silence and pitiable laughs from a bored audience (trust me. I know.)
However, when you get some truly talented comics on stage, with genuine chemistry together, and pair that with an eager crowd of comedy-loving audience members, the result can be pure comedic magic. Plus, every now and then, something extra special comes along and, with a few brilliant twists, your average improv comedy show transforms from simple improv games to something far more ingenious and definitely more entertaining. For those in the know, SCRIPTprov is that show.
Since 2009 The Dishwater Blondes have been presenting SCRIPTprov, a unique blend of scripted theatre and improv comedy, in a full night of hilarity - one that is unmatched by many other improv shows in town. The evening’s entertainment begins as four guest actors, nicknamed “The Legit Players” do cold readings of monologues, randomly selected by members of the audience. Once those readings are completed the improv comics from The Dishwater Blondes take the stage and create a long-form improv show (roughly 45 minutes) based on the four monologues that were just read. This first portion of the show is already a winner. It is clear that the Blondes know each other well, with all the necessary chemistry and trust that goes in to creating a cohesive improv comedy troupe.
In the second act, things change. The Blondes are sequestered while The Legit Players return and present a scene from a play (or musical.) Once that scene is completed, a random Blonde is chosen to take the place of one of the actors from the “legit” scene, and the scene is then repeated. Only this time, the improv comedy begins, as the Blonde has no script, no idea what play she is in and she must use her improv skills to create a funny and cohesive scene. It’s a truly original idea in blending improv comedy with live theatre, creating a fascinating mix of the two art forms. One can only imagine how terrifying it would be to be on stage, in front of an audience, with no script and no idea what was happening. But the Blondes make it look easy. And funny.
Since the show changes every time it is performed, you will never see the same show twice. Cindy Laudadio-Hill and Sarah Kirwin were the two randomly selected Blondes for the “legit” scenes on the night I attended, and both were absolutely hysterical. There was never a moment of hesitation as each brought so much quick wit and on-the-spot hilarity to every moment of the scene. Deb Persoff and Michael Nuccio kept up well as the Legit Players, and the audience was rewarded with enough laughter to have them rolling in the aisles while host John Crockett kept everything running smoothly.
SCRIPTprov is a show for anyone that loves live theatre. It’s a show for anyone that loves improv comedy. It’s a show for anyone that loves to laugh. Really, it’s a show that everyone will enjoy. Keep an eye on the SCRIPTprov website for upcoming performances and the next time you are looking for something different to do with your Friday or Saturday night, take the chance and check this out. You’ll be glad you did.