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How I Found Inspiration For An Improv Show

Jordan Maxwell, co-director of our newest mainstage “How I Saved The World Over Summer Vacation“, shares with us his inspiration for this 1980s sci-fi kids-on-bikes adventure. 

How I Saved The World Over Summer Vacation runs Saturdays at 8pm May 6 – July 1. Get your tickets now!

5.  Monster Squad:  Rock Until You Drop


Every great 80s movie has to have a montage, and this is one of my all time favorites if only because of the absolute absurdity of it.  Just imagine the planning session:  “Okay, Rudy, we’re going to need you to steal and/or make a bunch of weapons for us!  Meanwhile, we’ll be busy making business cards, writing adorable letters to the Army, and playing dress up with a reanimated corpse!  Oh, and let’s make sure to get naked pictures of Patrick’s sister so we can blackmail her into doing the ceremony since she’s the only virgin we know who speaks German, even though we’re all virgins and apparently Scary German Guy can just coach us through the pronunciation anyway!  Because boobs!  GO SQUAD, GO!”

4.  Super 8:  Letting Go 

These stories tend to be strong coming of age tales as well as standard sci-fi adventure fare.  So the creatures the kids encounter, as friend, foe, or force of nature, tend to represent some inner struggle or challenge as well.  Here, Joe witnesses the alien, held captive and tortured, building a ship to go home (mirroring his own model building) out of all of the metal in town.  Reunited with his father and with the emotional strains on their relationship healed, the ship requires one last sacrifice:  the locket of Joe’s dead mother.  He grabs at it, unable to let go at first, but looks at her picture one last time, and then lets go with a smile, setting both himself and the alien free from captivity and grief.  And in letting go of the past, he is able to better grasp at the possibilities of the future!

3.  The Lost Boys:  Comic Book Shop 


The introduction of the Frog brothers, and thus the forming of the nucleus of what will be our friend group for the movie.  They sniff the new kid Sam out territorially, sparring back and forth over geeky minutiae of comic books in the coded language of fanboys (though in such an awkward approximation of what a Hollywood screenwriter must think comic book fans sound like that it’s bound to put true fans on edge), bonding in an odd chest thumping over triviality that mirrors Michael’s own more dangerous initiation into the “tribe”.  Furthering that dark contrast, while Michael is being turned into a vampire, his little brother is getting an education that “might just save your life” on the creatures of the night.  Who says comics never taught you anything?

2.  E.T.:  Bicycle Chase


The first and probably most iconic “kids on bikes save the world” scene!  The logic of it doesn’t hold up to great scrutiny (why didn’t they just take the van the whole way?  How were they able to outrun cop cars, but cops on foot caught up to them?  Why didn’t they fly the whole time?  Why do they keep pedaling when they’re in the air?), but it doesn’t matter.  That’s grownup logic.  It makes perfect kid sense, the laughter of watching them jump and swerve and dodge everyone through the neighborhood, the wonder of seeing them take off and soar against the setting sun, that swelling John Williams score.  Grown ups are dumb!  Kids on bikes rule!

1.  The Goonies:  Our Time, Down Here 

The pre-pubescent St. Crispin’s Day speech and rallying cry of every underage adventurer.  Surrounded by the coins that represent the town’s wishes and dreams (Mouth’s plaintive “This was my dream, my wish, and it didn’t come true.  So I’m taking it back.  I’m taking ’em all back…” plays as a frustrated call to rebellion against Mikey’s hopeful speech to come), with escape at the fingertips, this is the turning point for the group.  It stops becoming an adventure of circumstance and becomes one of choice instead.  Mikey clearly lays out that there is a time and a world for grown ups, but this one belongs to them.  In that moment, they are all Goonies…and Goonies NEVER say die!

How I Saved The World Over Summer Vacation runs Saturdays at 8pm May 6 – July 1. Get your tickets now!

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