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December, 2012

Secrets from Dec. 29, 2012, the last Austin Secrets show of Season 3

It’s been one hell of a ride, but now it’s over. Here are the secrets that we used in the final Austin Secrets show of Season 3.

Look for our triumphant return in 2013.

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Austin Secrets from Dec. 22, 2012

Here are the slides from our penultimate Austin Secrets show of 2012. After next week, it’s curtains until the next time!

As of writing this, there are 26 tickets left to the last show. Get them while you can!

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How You Won Maestro

Hey Audience, it turns out that last week YOU won Maestro, our weekly competition-based improv show.

How did this happen? Let’s hear from one of the directors, Marc Majcher:

Last Saturday, Eric Heiberg and I directed an unprecedented Maestro experience at the Hideout Theatre. I’ve personally directed almost a hundred Maestros, and I’ve never seen anything like it.

Eric and I have had many conversations about our improv philosophies, and one of the things we like to emphasize when playing or directing is this idea of “anything can happen”. Literally anything. Being comfortable with not being safe within whatever format or structure we’ve chosen to play with, but following our impulses to do whatever will be the most fun for us, for the other players, and for the audience.

So, this week, one of our twelve players – #10 – wasn’t able to make it to the show, and we couldn’t find anyone to fill in at the last minute. Eric and I decided to leave the chip for number ten in the bucket that we picked random players for games and scenes from, and figure out what to do when the time came.

The first time it happened, in the third scene of the night, I asked for an audience member to come up and play a scene at a restaurant, and gave them a bell to let them call back anything the other improvisers did that they didn’t like. After the scene, I asked him if he’d like to stay up on stage and play the rest of the show, or have us pick a new person each time number ten came up, and he chose the latter.

Game on!

Usually, a scene with an audience member will score a bit higher than a scene without, because we really love to see people going up on stage and taking risks, having fun, and being supported by the other improvisers up there.

So, over the course of the evening, we had three more audience members performing with us; a woman aggressively trying to cheer up Brad Hawkins at his birthday party, someone playing Chris Allen’s guardian angel giving him advice as he tried to work up the courage to hit on a beautiful woman at a bar, and a gentleman valiantly acting out and lip syncing a two-person Shakespearian scene that Peter Rogers provided all the dialog for.

Looking at the final scores after the last round, we saw that number ten – the audience – was tied for first place with Peter, so Eric and I had to come up with a tie-breaker that would provide a fitting end to this extraordinary night.

We sent the entire audience on a speak-in-one-voice date with Peter Rogers.

Peter sat at the front of the stage, we asked the audience what their name was, and they responded as a whole. He made small talk with them, and they came back with pleasant one or two word answers. We eventually asked them to tell Peter the secret they’d been meaning to tell him, and together, they all said “We’re pregnant!” Brilliant. Afterward, naturally, we had to have the audience score the two sides of the scene, to decide who would get the bonus point and win the title of Maestro for the evening, and of course, they voted for themselves. The show was over, and we invited the entire audience up on stage to receive their Canadian five dollar bill, and accept their victory.

I can honestly say, in all my years of playing and directing improv here in Austin and around the country, I’ve never seen anything like that happen, and probably never will again. But I can also honestly say, as long as we embrace the spirit of true playfulness and let go of whatever worries or fears we have of “doing it wrong” or trying desperately to be interesting or funny or following a structure too closely, as long as we accept that truly anything can happen, and it’ll be okay if we embrace the fun and roll with whatever comes our way, then we’ll see many, many more amazing things happen that will surprise and delight us, things that we could never have anticipated or planned.

What’s going to happen next week? We’ll see.

Maestro happens every Saturday at 10pm.

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The Austin Secrets from Dec. 8 and Dec. 15th, 2012

We did one Austin Secrets show on Dec. 8th, curated by the fabulous Jon Bolden.

We then did TWO on Dec. 15th, a 6pm and an 8pm show.

Here are the slides we used from all three shows:


As of writing this, there are only two Austin Secrets shows left. Please join us!

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Announcing the 2013 Season and Schedule

2013 is going to be a wild year for The Hideout Theatre (and Coffee House!)

It’s a year of growth and change, as we expand into the larger downstairs theater, and begin to integrate the theater with the coffee house more (aka drink specials!).

So as the first of the big, good things for the new year, here is the 2013 Mainstage schedule.

I’m super excited for this year.

In many ways, we’ve been leading up to a show like Fandom for YEARS. We love taking on different worlds to improvise in at The Hideout… from Hitchcock to film noir to Star Trek to Twilight Zone, to name just a few. Our goal is always to do them justice… to truly live in those universes, and not to make fun of them. In Fandom, we’ll be tackling a different, but much-beloved creation each week, with the same cast… and deconstructing what it means to be a fan along the way.

I’m excited for Strange Worlds for two reasons. For starters, the world of the pulps is rife with rich characters and dramatically painted vistas of the imagination. But even just as exciting, Jordan T. Maxwell will be the director. A staple of the Austin Improv scene all the way back to the days of the Well Hung Jury, and known for his boldly heroic style, Jordan is the perfect person to helm this project.

You probably know that we put on a competitive improv show called Maestro every Saturday. This format was created by Keith Johnstone, the man whose improv teachings form the basis of the work we do at The Hideout. But what you may not know is that Keith’s most popular and most performed format is not Maestro, but Theatresports. I love Theatresports. It’s more than a competition, and much more than an improv game show. In the perfect Theatresports show, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. And it’s in that spirit that this year’s run will be put on.

We’ve done our fair share (2 seasons) of improvised Shakespeare in the past. It’s a fun, challenging show that seems impossible to do. But we’ve never done a show like this one before. For the first time ever we’ll be starting with a scripted play. For a month leading up to the normal run of Fakespeare, we’ll be putting on an honest-to-goodness scripted Shakespearian play (to be determined). Then the same cast will roll over and throw out the script… and make up their own plays for the next 2 months.

Austin Secrets will enter its 4th season in a row. Ordinarily I would feel weird about bringing the same show back year after year, but the shows continue to inspire and thrill audiences and performers alike. Personally, I also feel like we’re still breaking new ground. It’s a learning experience, in the best way possible.

Finishing out the year will be a delightfully macabre show, directed by Valerie Ward. Inspired by the works of Edward Gorey, A Bedtime Gorey will combine elements of Victorian parlor games, gruesome story telling, pantomime, and the Christmas spirit.

Oh, and it’s definitely worth mentioning that many, if not all of these shows will be in the larger, downstairs theater.

It’s going to be a crazy, exciting year, and this is only the beginning.

Wanna join us? We’re offering season passes, good for a ticket to each of our six 2013 Mainstage shows for only $55 ($60 after Christmas).

You can purchase a season pass here.

See you in 2013!

Roy Janik
Co-Owner & Artistic Director

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Lovecraft Secrets

What a dumb idea, and what a delightful execution.

This past Thursday we mashed up two of our Mainstage shows… Austin Secrets and The Black Vault (improv in the style of H.P. Lovecraft). The show took the basic form of Austin Secrets, but all of the secrets were in the Lovecraftian vein…

Um, you’ll see what I mean. Behold:

That’s the Free Fringe for you. Never a dull moment.

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The Austin Secrets from Dec. 1, 2012

The Austin Secrets show from Dec. 1, 2012 was one of my favorite shows. It had just the right blend of comical and serious scenes, and the cast did them all justice.

Here are the secrets that were used in the show.

Austin Secrets runs through the end of December.

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