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April, 2016

Improvised Play Festival Spotlight: Instant Theatre

Wherein we spotlight a show playing in the 2016 Improvised Play Festival, happening Thursday April 14 – Saturday April 16! Get your tickets here!

Instant Theatre comes to The Improvised Play Festival from Vancouver, British Columbia. Their format is simple: they ask the audience what they know about Canada, what the people are like, what the sites are. Then they improvise a rich, character based one-act play based on those suggestions.

We talked with the members of Instant Theatre (Janet Davidson, Shane McLean, Kerri Donaldson, Dan Willows, Chelsey Stuyt, Newman Scott Hunter) and they gave us the dirt on their show and life as a Canadian.

 1. Can you give us a “Mom, it’s improv. We’re making it up. Yes. We don’t know what’s going to happen” summary of your show?

We know Canada, you know Canada, this is your Canada, eh?

2.  What are you most looking forward to about your show?

We’re excited to connect and find real moments on stage, to ratchet up the tension, and enjoy the fireworks as it all explodes. Also, “When it’s over, I won’t have to wear pants.” – Dan Willows.

3. We’ve heard tale that Canadians are relentlessly polite. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever apologized for?

“Yesterday a madman came into the Hideout and knocked all the cafe things off the counter. I apologized and offered to buy the bartender a drink” – Shane McLean.

“Once, I saw two men bump into one another on the street. I apologized to both of them.” Dan Willows.

“I stepped on a slightly uneven floor and thought it was Dan’s foot. I apologized and he asked what for? So I guess I apologized to the floor.”  – Kerri Donaldson.

“My brother and I got into an argument because we didn’t believe the other was sincere in their apologies. Eventually we apologized for not apologizing correctly. Then we apologized for the argument about apologies. Finally we apologized for taking up the time to apologize over the apology argument. Full apology-ception.” – Chelsey Stuyt.

“I apologized for accidentally swallowing a piece of gum instead of chewing it. It was my friend’s last piece and I felt bad that I didn’t enjoy it more. I offered to buy him more gum so we could try again.” – Newman Scott Hunter

Instant Theatre performs tonight at the Improvised Play Festival at 8:30pm. Get your tickets here!

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Improvised Play Festival Spotlight: An Englishman and A Belle

 

Wherein we spotlight a show playing in the 2016 Improvised Play Festival, happening Thursday April 14 – Saturday April 16! Get your tickets here!

Mark Tindle is from England. Aspen Webster is from Florida. They are a duo. They bring their disparate point of view together to form “An Englishman and A Belle”. We talked to Aspen and Mark about why their duo works so well.

1. What inspired this pairing?

Mark was invited to play at the Tampa Improv Festival late last year and wanted to perform with someone from the USA, and Aspen was his absolute first choice. We had played together in Free Fringes and gotten very close as friends since Mark first came to Austin in 2014, so Aspen was someone he wanted to play with. Luckily, she said yes! And we had a most wonderful show in Tampa together.

2. What do you like best about working together?

Mark: I love playing with Aspen. She has such a beautifully warm and supportive approach onstage. I’m increasingly loving playing grounded, emotionally-driven scenes and this is something that we share the desire to do. Plus, she’s a dear friend and is just so fun and exciting to play with! Aspen: Mark is a delightful, mischievous, and supportive person. Which means he’s also exactly those things on stage. Connection with him is effortless, and he’s always striving for fun and honesty. I’m so lucky to be his friend and get to work with him! Also have you heard his accent? He’s the cutest.

3. Tell us something exciting about your improvised play festival show!

We’re going to create snapshot vignettes of people’s lives, influenced by the strong emotions that people have. We’re so excited to play this show at the Hideout, as it was through here that we not only met, but were inspired down this path of performance.

“An Englishman and A Belle” plays tonight at 10:30pm. Get your tickets here!

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Improvised Play Festival Spotlight: Boy, Howdy!

Wherein we spotlight a show playing in the 2016 Improvised Play Festival, happening Thursday April 14 – Saturday April 16! Get your tickets here!

Boy, Howdy! is an improvised 1960s TV western in the style of Bonanza and The Big Valley that originally had a mainstage run at The Hideout in November and December of last year. We decided to bring it back for the Improvised Play Festival because of its heartfelt and charming nature. We talked to Boy, Howdy! director Kaci Beeler about the shiny world of Boy, Howdy!

 

1.  How does it feel to be bringing this show back?

It feels great! Especially after our brush-up rehearsal, I’m extra excited. Hearing the music and sound effects, playing with all the fun character-types and tropes – it reminded me how much I love this show and this cast. We were at a Saturday 8amrehearsal and we were having so much fun with each other – that’s definitely something special. 

 

2. Can you give us the “I haven’t seen you in forever but we’re just passing each other on the street but I can’t stop because I have to be somewhere” version of the show premise?

Boy, Howdy! is a hilarious and delightful homage to the squeaky-clean morality-filled western tv shows of the 1960s. Each “episode” is improvised from scratch, but you’ll feel like you’ve known these characters for ages.

 

3. Michael Landon or Pernell Roberts?

Michael Landon! Little Joe! Gotta love that boyish charm. He’s impetuous and always ready for a fight! I stop liking him as much though when Pernell leaves the show and is not around to be his foil.

I’m all about the OG Cartwrights.

Boy, Howdy plays tonight (Friday April 15) at 8pm. Get your tickets here!

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Improvised Play Festival Spotlight: Teenage Wasteland

Wherein we spotlight a show playing in the 2016 Improvised Play Festival, happening Thursday April 14 – Saturday April 16! Get your tickets here!

“Teenage Wasteland” played in October of last year as part of The Hideout’s Student Mainstage series. It comes back tonight for one final party at 8:30pm! Director Jordan Maxwell gives us the lowdown on the show.

1. Can you give us your “I’m in the middle of a keg stand at a raging party but I have to tell you this” version of the “Teenage Wasteland” premise?

You know that dream where you’re back in high school and it’s the day of the big exam but you haven’t studied for it at all and in fact you haven’t been to a single class all semester long and oh yeah you’re also completely naked? This is like that, but instead of being back in class you’re back at every party rolled into one, surrounded by your friends and the cool kids you wished would have been your friends and the shy kids who should have been your friends, and there’s plenty to eat and drink and smoke and every song is the perfect soundtrack to what you’re feeling, and hey there’s that guy or girl you always wanted to kiss and they’re looking right at you and you might not ever have another chance because there will never be another tonight! You’re still naked, though…

2. How excited are you to bring “Teenage Wasteland” back?

Well, let’s just say if I’m still this excited four hours after the show ends, I’m going to need to consult my physician. Excessive awesomeness is a real medical condition, y’all!

 

2. What was your favorite part of putting “Teenage Wasteland” up in its original run?

Getting to see the cast and crew grow and develop and evolve over the course of every rehearsal and hang out and performance. It’s what I love most about theatre, how strangers become friends and friends become family…oh, wait, I should say something funny instead, right? Sorry, I’ll try again…THE AFTER PARTY, BUUUUUUUUUUDY!

Teenage Wasteland returns to The Hideout for The Improvised Play Festival tonight at 8:30pm! Get your tickets here!

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Improvised Play Festival Spotlight: Express Yourself

Wherein we spotlight a show playing in the 2016 Improvised Play Festival, happening Thursday April 14 – Saturday April 16! Get your tickets here!

“Express Yourself” originally played at ColdTowne Theater in February and March, selling out consistently throughout the run and receiving much critical acclaim. Set in a high school classroom, “Express Yourself “tells the story of a diverse group of students navigating the perils of growing up, sexuality, peer pressure and the current sociopolitical climate in the United States.

We talked with “Express Yourself” co-director Ryan Darbonne (who co-directed with Frank Netscher) about the show.

1. What makes “Express Yourself” special?

A couple of things made the show special. First and foremost the image of seeing ten confident people of color on stage, fucking owning it week after week, was amazing. I don’t know if we’re going to get a chance to see that again anytime soon. Second, the show was unapologetic in the issues that we dealt with. We never wanted to walk on egg shells because for us that would belittle the topic. Our themes ranged from police brutality to reproductive rights. We gave our guest speakers carte blanche to be as serious as they wanted to be resulting in stories that were heart breaking. The beauty about live theater is that you can’t change the channel, or close a tab. As an audience member (unless you walk out) you’re forced to confront these issues head on…in real time.

2. What did you learn directing “Express Yourself” that surprised you?

The biggest thing I learned co-directing “Express Yourself’ was to trust the process. I have a background in film so I’m used to wielding, for better AND for worse, a lot of creative control. However, with improv I had to let go of my pride/ego and TRUST that everything would take care of itself once a tone was set. Improv, just like theatre, is an actors medium and at the end of the day there was only so much my co-director Frank and I could do. Luckily for us, our cast was fucking killer.

3. Why do you think audiences respond so enthusiastically to “Express Yourself”?

It’s no big secret that Austin isn’t the most diverse city in the world. I think audiences responded well to the show because they were hungry for perspectives that differed from their own.

“Express Yourself” plays in the Improvised Play Festival this Thursday at 8pm. Get your tickets here!

 

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2016 Austin Secrets Archive

Here are the slideshows of the secrets that were used in each of our 2016 Austin Secrets shows (new ones are added as the shows happen). Some of them include photos of the show!

Got your own secret to share? Share it here!
http://www.hideouttheatre.com/send-us-your-secrets

Is it April 2016 still? Wanna see the show? Get tickets here:
http://www.hideouttheatre.com/shows/austinsecrets

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Improvised Play Festival Spotlight: The Half-Written Play

Wherein we spotlight a show playing in the 2016 Improvised Play Festival, happening Thursday April 14 – Saturday April 16! Get your tickets here!

Last year at The Improvised Play Festival, Jon Bolden premiered “The Half-Written Play”. The name explains it pretty well: the first act of a play is written before the show and then is read onstage by a group of improvisors who have no idea what the script contains. When the actors finish reading the script, they improvise what comes next.

Last year’s show was a collaboration with Physical Plant Theater playwright Steve Moore. This year’s play is written by local playwright and improvisor Addison Billingsley.

We asked Jon Bolden (he’s the director, by the way) “hey, what’s up with this show?” and here’s what he had to say:

1) What inspired “The Half-Written Play”?

 I’ve always loved the idea of having actors thrusted into a world that’s been thought-out and developed and seeing them discover their way through it. It’s also fun to be so familiar with a script and see what people do with it having only been exposed to it for about 20 minutes.

2) Why did you want to bring it back?
Last year’s show was a rewarding experience on and off stage and so many people asked me if it was going to happen again. I felt like it had to be done!

3) What is most exciting about this year’s performance of “The Half-Written Play”?

I’m most excited about working with people that I love but rarely get to work closely with and having some members from ColdTowne Theatre and The Institution Theater as a part of The Hideout’s festival. We love including as much of the Austin community as possible.

 “The Half-Written Play”: Thursday April 14 at 10pm. Get your tickets here!

Cast: Amy Averett, Byron Brown, Carlos LaRotta, Cené Hale, Chuy Zarate, and Courtney Hopkin

photos by Michael Yew

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