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617 Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701 Map

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October, 2011

Announcing the 2012 Season and Schedule

I’m super pleased to finally announce the Hideout’s 2012 Season schedule.

LOTS to announce, so here we go!

First off, here is the Mainstage Schedule:

I’m so excited about each of these. It’s been YEARS since we’ve done Start Trekkin’, and to combine with the Twilight Zone should be pretty overpowering.

Process marks the return of Jeremy Lamb to the loving embrace of Austin improv, bringing with him a show concept first pioneered by The Well Hung Jury.

We’ve been wanting to do a musical show for awhile now, and a friggin’ ROCK OPERA directed by Brockman and Samiee sounds like the best thing ever.

The Woody Allen based show is something Jon Bolden’s been talking about for years, and I know a lot of folks have been clamoring for him to do it (so they can be in it). ANY SHOW that has Bolden doing a Woody Allen impersonation is going to get my support. But I’m even more excited that both Valerie and Jon are finally making their directing debuts.

I’ve been a fan of H.P. Lovecraft for a very long time, and a fan of Marc Majcher’s since I’ve known him. I know he has enough of a dark/nihilistic streak in him to do this show justice. Not that there is any justice in this cold, uncaring universe.

And of course, words can’t describe how happy I am to return to Austin Secrets.

So that’s the mainstage.

Also, we’ll be bringing back our favorite big events for 2012:

April 12-15: The 2nd Annual Improvised Play Festival
a full weekend of improvised one-act plays both from Austin and all over the world (hopefully!)

May 31-June 2nd: The 43 Hour Improv Marathonn
8 improvisers perform for 43 hours straight with the help of local troupes and shows.

November 15-17: The 11th Annual WaffleFest
All You Can Eat improv comedy and waffles.

December 30th: Same Years Eve
Every improviser in Austin is invited to perform in a crazy show and crazier after-party to help ring in the same year.

PLUS, We’re changing up the Friday 8pm shows in 2012.
When we settled on the current lineup of Friday 8pm shows, it was our goal to give students and newer improvisers a chance to perform more in low pressure environments. To that end, we started the monthly tradition of The Fancy Pants Mashup, and on other weeks gave folks a chance to play in The Lottery. Now we’re opening it up even more.

Every 1st Friday:
The Fancy Pants Mashup. 20+ improvisers put their names in a hat and are called up onstage in pairs to do whatever they want with whoever has been called up with them. PLUS, they dress real fancy-like.

Every 2nd Friday:
Pick Your Own Path. A show heavy on audience participation, based on the old Choose Your Own Adventure books. This will be much like it has been the past year, except we’ll be doing multiple adventures and including more improvisers in the mix.

Every 3rd Friday:
The Narrative Improv Jam. We held the world’s first narrative improv jam at the Improvised Play Festival, and it was a blast. The entire audience is invited to participate, as the host guides us all through an improvised story once scene at a time. My favorite (and most unanticipated) part of this show is that if a scene calls for a dance party, we can get 30 people up on stage to make it happen.buy disney jumpers

Every 4th Friday:
STUDENT. MAESTRO. (better name pending)

Every 5th Friday:
we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

And the not quite figured out yet…

We got the green light from the coffeeshop to add a new Thursday night show. So starting at 10pm on Thursdays in the New Year, we’ll have an additional show! I don’t know quite what it is yet, but I do know I’m excited to expand the schedule.

Also not listed here… our plan for 2012 is to add a number of limited run (2-3 weekend) shows that play in the downstairs theater. This weekend’s Halloween Batman shows are our first stab at something like that. Some possibilities include: a cheerleading show created by Kaci Beeler and Halyn Lee Erickson, a TheatreSports tournament, a brief descent back into the Violet Underbelly, and who knows what. But I’ll leave it at that until we have more details.

Oh, and you can pick up season passes for the 2012 Mainstage shows for $55 until December 1st, here:

Buy Now

2012 Season Pass – $60
1 ticket to each of our 2012 Mainstage shows

If you buy a season pass, you’ll be emailed codes so that you can reserve your tickets online ahead of time, and not have to worry about the show selling out.

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The Girl Who Plays the Boy Wonder

Kaci Beeler, in addition to being The Hideout’s Director of Visual Design, is also the creator and director of The Hideout’s hit show, Holy 1960s Batman, Batman! She also, for some crazy reason, plays Robin the Boy Wonder.

On the eve of the show’s return for two Halloween-themed nights of capes, criminals, and crime-fighting, we decided to ask Kaci some questions about the show and her role in it.

You’ve said repeatedly that your goal with Holy 1960s Batman, Batman is to make it as true to the original show as possible. So the obvious question is, why are you playing Robin, when you’re, you know, a girl?

Kaci: Hah! You ask the tough ones first! Okay, okay. Well, I’ve been a fan of Robin since waaaay back. Like way back to when I was 15 and first saw the original show on TV Land. I guess I knew about Robin being Batman’s partner before that, but it was seeing Burt Ward – young, adorable, and over-zealous, fighting crime in a brightly colored costume – that really brought the character to my attention.

After that one encounter, I set forth with a new hobby (bird watching?). I read countless Robin comics (yes, he has his own comic, well, *they* do… there are multiple Robins), watched way too many episodes of both the television and animated series, dressed as Robin for halloween, drew myself as Robin in a self-portrait, and just in general became a big ole dorky fan of the little bird.

Fast forward to several years later, when improviser Jeremy Lamb asked me to do a duo show with him in December of 2006. We wondered aloud what kind of specific format we could do, and an idea popped into my head. What about a two-person 1960s Batman episode? He didn’t really know the show, but we watched some of it together and then BAM, did the show. It was super, super fun, and the seed was planted in my mind for a future show concept. I played Robin in this duo show, along with a lot of the other characters. It just seemed natural to me. I enjoyed playing him true to the way Burt Ward did. And I’m young and have a lot of spunk myself. It just made sense.

Following in the footsteps of actresses like Mary Martin and Cathy Rigby who played Peter Pan, I believe that onstage a girl can play a prepubescent boy really well, sometimes better than a grown man can. I considered casting a dude in the role if I found a guy who could do it, but ultimately I was excited by the challenge to take on the role myself and play it as honestly as I could. Also, I’ve always had a soft spot in my storytelling heart for adventurous young male characters.

What do you like most about Robin?

Kaci: The 1960s Robin? Well, I’d have to say his over-eager nature paired with his squeaky-clean and naive point of view. His is just so. darn. ready. to fight those criminals and so. darn. irked. by their plots on the poor unsuspecting masses of Gotham City. I love the sharp little nods he makes as he pounds his fist into his hand. Like he’s paying attention to the goings-on 100% at every given moment.

I also love that he’s a “normal” teenager the rest of the time… if “normal” is an over-achiving, straight-A student, who is in several clubs and on several sports teams, as well as a regular practitioner of whatever new hobby Bruce Wayne throws his way. Burt Ward said Dick Grayson was completely “anti-septic”, and I just love that description.

What do you think is the essence of the relationship between Batman and Robin?

Kaci: Trust and respect. They completely trust each other in their roles. Robin thinks the world of Batman and is forever learning and growing under his…dare I say it…wing. 🙂

Even though Robin is just a teen, Batman really trusts him in this important crime-fighting role, and with his secret identity. The respect is undeniable. You don’t see them question each other’s authority. Robin doesn’t back-talk Batman in the 1960s show. When Robin questions Batman, or vice-versa, it happens in this academic, almost intellectual discussion kind of way, like two scientists examining what’s under a microscope.

Now…in our show, well. Let’s just say we have more fun with the dynamic. Robin and Batman overstep their bounds sometimes. Hilarity ensues.

Have you sustained any injuries in the fight scenes so far?

Kaci: Haha! Yes. Sadly. It’s really easy to become over-excited in the moment and hurt yourself in an improv show. You’re riding this performance high and it seems as though nothing can hurt you. You move faster than you need to and you forget to check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Well, if your name is Kaci Beeler and you’re playing Robin to Deano Jones’ Batman, you’re going to get hurt. Batman has stomped on my feet (numerous times), picked me up so hard he knocked the wind out of me, punched me in the arm and side, and flung me across the stage into other people/set pieces/the floor. All on accident, of course. Henchmen have picked me up and choked me, banged my limbs into other people/set pieces/the floor as they carried me off, and stepped on my feet (numerous times).
None of this was too serious, all on accident, and mostly lead to me yelling, “Ouch!” or “Put me down! Seriously!” or “Batman, you’re my worst enemy!”

As a director I can yell, “slow down!” in rehearsal. Onstage, I can only react in character. My girlish squeal becomes an adolescent squeak, and comedy results from pain. I can always kick Deano’s shins in revenge backstage when he isn’t paying attention. In fact, I usually do. I mean, if I’m going to play a child, why can’t I sometimes act like one?

Holy 1960s Batman returns Friday the 28th and Saturday the 29th at 8pm. Tickets are available here.

“Come see my show!” -teenage Kaci

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Statesman Review for Spirited

A Review for Spirited just came out in the Austin American Statesman. Have a look:

Review: ‘Spirited’
By Cate Blouke | Tuesday, October 11, 2011, 09:56 AM

Improvised theater is often a lot like a child’s imagination — the stories that emerge are filled with unexpected twists and turns, an eclectic array of characters, and a general disregard for logic or the laws of gravity.

So it’s particularly fitting that The Hideout Theatre’s new show, “Spirited” running Saturdays through October 29th, follows a little girl’s adventures in an imaginative and dream-like world of animate objects.

Subtitled “Improvised Dreamscapes” and under the direction of Asaf Ronen, “Spirited” is inspired by the likes of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are,” and the work of Japanese manga artist and director Hayao Miyazaki. As a result, the show is both the most family-friendly improv we’ve ever seen and the most imaginative.

On Saturday night, Halyn Erickson donned a frilly red dress and took us on her journey to a land of rocks, geckos, talking canoes, and surprising prophecies. Aided by a particularly large cast (there were 12 improvisers on stage this Saturday), Erickson instigated a human whirlpool, a high-five induced jailbreak, and a delightful rainbow dream sequence.

The whirlpool, rainbow, and a skit involving flaming rocks wouldn’t have been half as exciting if it weren’t for the animated lighting and sound design of Neal Tibrewala and David Zimmerman. The lights and sound in “Spirited” are just as energetic and involved in the story’s development as the actors are themselves.

As can happen with improv, Saturday night’s plot was initially a bit convoluted. Though the performance was clearly spontaneous and frequently amusing, the audience suggestions for both a vice and a virtue of childhood never really materialized as thematic devices or plot points. Eventually, though, storylines emerged as Erickson skipped her way into a series of shenanigans in the unfamiliar world. The highlights included animate jailhouse bars going on strike, flying a dream kite to catch pleasant dreams, and rhyming friendship competition that ended in cake for everyone.

Featuring friendship and hugs, rainbows and puppies, cake-filled dreams and calculus-induced nightmares, “Spirited” is a family-friendly romp into childhood that will leave you smiling as you skip out the door.

“Spirited” continues 6 and 8 p.m. Saturdays Oct. 29.
Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Ave.

Cate Blouke is an American-Statesman freelance arts critic.

Photo by Steve Rogers.

Original article here.

Interested? Spirited runs through October 29th, with shows at 6pm and 8pm on Saturdays. Get your tickets here.

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The Making of The Hideout Logo

I thought it would be fun to take a look at how we arrived at the current Hideout Theatre logo. We’re often asked what its significance is, and if it’s anyone’s face in particular.

First let’s go way back. Sean Hill was the first owner and the founder of The Hideout. But it almost wasn’t called The Hideout Theatre at all. The other name in the running according to Sean was “The Hippodrome”, which featured a pretty awesome hippo in the hypothetical logo.

When Kareem and Jessica and I took over as owners, we knew we wanted to have a distinct logo / look for The Hideout. And working with Kaci Beeler, our Director of Design, we all decided that the overall look should be Art Nouveau in style. So I started pouring over old Art Nouveau posters for something to adapt for our logo. I kinda obsessed over it.

Here are some of the logos I toyed with:

That brocolli-haired lady in the top middle was the top contender for awhile. I messed around with a lot of variations of her:

But eventually I thought she looked a bit too pretentious. We ultimately settled on the stargazer (as we called her) because she was looking up… which implied that she was hopeful, and also our theater is upstairs.

So I mucked around with her for a bit:

Also, scandal! Here is the original painting by Maxfield Parrish that the logo is drawn from (nude painting follows):

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Wow, theater makes a difference

I have to admit that I really, really love playing in the Flying Theater Machine.

I love the giggles, the unfiltered kid feedback, and having the kids on-stage is always a bit out of control in the best possible way. I can always tell immediately that I am entertaining kids – believe me we know the second that we become a bit too slow- but I guess I just take it on faith that I’m also teaching kids good lessons about theater, empowerment, and creativity. Or mostly on faith because every once in a while we get a letter like this:


“Both my daughters had a huge time and have been talking about it since then, telling anyone who would listen their recreation of the story of the ants and sandwiches and the hysterical cow. They get some confused looks, especially when they segue into describing the talking lemon, but it’s clear they had a great time.

I think it also had a bigger impact on my younger daughter, who is six. She has a performance coming up at school – her first grade class is going to recite a poem on stage in front of the several other classes, and she has been nervous about this. But yesterday, as I picked her up from school, I heard her talking to her friends on the playground, telling them about the show.

“Being on a stage is not scary at all” she told them. “I was on a stage twice – one as an ant, and once dancing – and it was super fun! It was fun and not scary at all!”

She was clearly delighted and proud and excited. Her whole attitude about her upcoming performance has changed from thinking it as some kind of test or judgment, to approaching it as a chance to share and have fun. She is now eagerly awaiting the chance be on stage again – and the chance to come back to the Hideout.

So please pass on to the rest of your troupe my appreciation of the show, and of great work you are doing.

See you soon,

How great is that? I created something that I love AND it is a force for positive change – can’t get better than that!


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