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617 Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701 Map

(512) H-I-D-E-O-U-T

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Ryan Austin on Wanderlust

Wanderlust runs Saturdays at 8pm in January and February
Get your tickets here! 

by Wanderlust cast member Ryan Austin

As a performer, this show has a very epic feel to it in terms of its challenges. I’m both very thrilled to be tackling them and also overwhelmed. For an ENTIRE HOUR AND A HALF two improvisors are, well, improvising. There are no side characters that share the plot with the protagonists. There are no “Best Friends” of the main guy and girl that also happen to fall in love despite hating each other to fill some time. Nope, this is a full, focused hour and a half on TWO PEOPLE and two people alone.

That’s terrifying. I’m in two very different duo groups and I’ve learned that any kind of improv you do as a duo is very exhausting. Not “can be exhausting” but IS exhausting. You have to play more characters or dig deeper into the ones you’re playing if it’s just those two. You’ve got to work harder to stay inspired, gauge the audience and their needs, gauge the story or show/game/scene and its needs, support your partner, tease/mess with/delight your partner, stay present but also keep the good of the show in mind and do these things ALL while actually PERFORMING THE SHOW. Which, as you probably know, is completely made up on the spot.

When you’re performing with more people, you have time to clear your head while you’re not in a scene. You can read the moments and the story and find new inspiration. But when there’s just two of you, 25 minutes of random scenes can wipe you out very fast. But this isn’t exactly a duo show. Yes, there are two main characters and it’s THEIR story and no one else’s, however, there is a whole ensemble cast that is also on stage filling in the world. They’re watching and listening to every move we make so they can swarm the stage and become a forest, a bakery or Times Square. Then, the trees come alive and lean in to hear one of us confess a truth. The bakery becomes a death trap of walking ovens and spinning knives as the two protagonists argue. Or the giant screen in Times Square loosens and wraps up the character who was staring up at it dreaming of stardom. In short, they’re supporting us. Listening and picking up on what the show is and what it needs. They’re making moves that highlight what we find and often initiate new scenes. They’re taking the massive show burden and sharing it between all of us so although there will mostly be just two performers speaking, it still feels as helpful and freeing as any show with a cast of 12.

So I’m very excited by this challenge of being a main character in every scene for an hour and a half. Especially with the ensemble at my side to help. And I won’t have to be part of the duo every week! The rest of the time I’ll be in the ensemble supporting two other brave performers. Organically moving and shifting with the rest of the ensemble to form the world.

However, I can’t organically move to the rhythm of 8 other people to save my life. Everyone curls up and becomes a rock in the Sahara and I’m dancing like we’re in a night club. So yeah, challenges. And I’m loving it!

 Ryan Austin plays a highlighted role
January 10th with Andreas Fabis
and
February 14th with Cat Drago

Get your tickets here! 

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