Insomniac Alert: Get Dazed and Amused this weekend

08/26/2010

Ever get an itch for live comedy at 4AM? Then your insomnia-fueled dreams are about to come true my friend, as improvisers from both Philadelphia and Los Angeles take to the Adrienne’s Second Stage tomorrow for DAZED & AMUSED: THE 24 HOUR IMPROV MARATHON.

Produced by the PHILADELPHIA JOKE INITIATIVE and directed by MARY CARPENTER, the second year of this ambitious show runs from Friday at 10PM until Saturday at 10PM, featuring a full 24 consecutive hours of non-stop improv. Joining Carpenter on stage are Los Angelenos ALEXIS SIMPSON & THOMAS FOWLER (both former Philadelphians), in addition to local comedians MARIO FRABONINATHAN HOLT, KAREN GETZ, ALLI SOOWAL, JIM CARPENTER and DAVE DRITSAS.

The cast plans to keep a bit of variety in their games, performing both long and shortform formats. While they will remain on stage for the full marathon, cast members are allowed two 30 minute naps… however they must do so in full view of the audience, in one of two cots that will sit onstage. The only time anyone will be able to leave the stage is to use facilities, because according to cast member Simpson “hey, who wants to see that?”

In a world where the actors create everything, sleep-deprived hallucinations should pose no threat. “Not only did we survive,” recalls Carpenter of last year’s endeavor, “we put on a fantastic show.”

She adds, “Improv always makes people ask ‘How’d they do that?’ Doing it for 24 straight hours, well that’s ‘How’d they do that’ to the nth degree. For those final minutes, the entire audience was on its feet.”

All proceeds after production expenses benefit EDUCATIONWORKS, a non-profit organization that provides unique educational opportunities and academic enrichment for students in the Philadelphia area.

PJI has a variety of ticket options available… so if you want to just catch the opening or closing, want to come see middle of the night insanity or are brave enough to forge through the whole shebang, there’s an option to fit your both your wallet and your sleeping habits (or lack thereof).

DAZED & AMUSED
THE 24 HOUR IMPROV MARATHON

FRI 8/27 @ 10PM – SAT 8/28 @ 10PM
ADRIENNE SECOND STAGE | 2030 SANSOM ST
TICKETS: $7 – $24


Blitzkrieg of Talent

07/19/2007

Tonight the audience decides the fate of nine hopefuls in the Season Two Finale of Troika.

Who will go on to challenge PonyCoat in the Grand Championship? Will it be ‘Z’ For Effort (Jason Stockdale, Jay Brenner & Kelly Vrooman), with their stylized backwards format? Perhaps The 12 Seed (Gregg Gethard, Todd Schaffer & Cubby Altobelli standing in for Kristin Mellor) with their retrospective conversations? Or will it be Knots Gordian (David Dritsas, David Warick & Thomas Highland) with their song extravaganzas? Only time and the audience will tell…

Last season we had some stiff competition and methinks tonight will prove to be little different. With such a myriad of talent, backgrounds and approaches, this is going to be a fun night.

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Troika Season Two Finals
Tonight, 8pm
The Actors Center | 257 N Third St
Tickets $10 at the door


Reports from CSz National Tournament – Part Three

07/17/2007

Whew. It’s over, and I can’t wait to go back.

First, the details of Philly’s incredible comeback victory over Chicago. After a less-than-stellar round of Elimination Rap, our team forged an incredible round of Sing-It, complete with Alexis’ Grandma sticking her sexy tongue in my face to close out the final song. Coupled with perhaps the greatest game of Bedtime Story I’ve ever been a part of (including TWO eager audience volunteers), Philly pulled out the dramatic 15-10 victory.

 After sharing a delicious meal with our new friends from Chicago, we ventured to Jumer’s Rock Island Casino. The atmosphere was decidedly old-school. Or let’s just say old. It smelled funny. However, $1 roulette minimums could not keep us away. Two hours later and $80 lighter, I returned to the hotel vaguely happy.

The rest of the weekend was a blur of memories. More board games. An awards ceremony where we received a 15-year plaque, and Dave gave a great speech. A superb championship match where Quad Cities grinded out a win vs. Dick Chudnow and Milwaukee’s Finest. There is nothing funnier than a 7 foot 350 pound man singing a ballad and strumming a guitar. And of course, the all-nighter we pulled before travelling home, complete with stunning dance party.

I can honestly say this was a great week. It made me think about how lucky we all are, to be “in-the-know” about improv and its magical, mystical, recuperative, restorative powers. To be a part of this community, both here in Philly (WOOT!) and around the world (Manchester, word!). We are the laughers, the healers, the makers of dreams and blurring agents of reality.

Myles Nye from LA said it best, in describing the events of the week: “Imagine moving to a village where no one gets tired of playing games. You can’t live there forever, but the time you do spend there is priceless.”

Next year, the village is Portland. And I can’t wait.

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Jason


Reports from CSz National Tournament – Part Two

07/13/2007

Despite a rollicking game of Arms Expert and superb efforts from the hometown crew, Philly fell last night to the team from Milwaukee by a final score of 20-5. Alexis captained us within one moment of victory, but the team fell just short in a tightly called game of Free-For-All Freeze. Kudos to the Milwaukee team, from the city where ComedySportz originated.

Of course, the story here isn’t in the winning or the losing. It feels so great to play with people from all over and to share in an art that we all live for. And to be able to do it non-stop, if only for a few days, is amazing. It’s a reminder of what the world should be like.

And the moments are so memorable. Starting each day off at 10:30 AM with a rousing version of the CSz Anthem (lyrics rewritten daily by Dick Chudnow, CSz founder). Playing board games in the hotel lobby until 4am. Making new friends over Root Beer Floater ice cream at the local cafe.

There is an energy present around us at all times. It’s strange how I can dread going to my 9-5 after 8 full hours of sleepytime, but how after just four hours of sleep here I’m ready and pumping to go. Being here reinvigorates the mind and soul of my inner artist; I feel like I can conquer the world by just making stuff up.

Tonight, we play Chicago, then it’s riverboat gambling and perhaps some more board games. Our time remaining is short, but I plan on making it last.
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Jason


Reports from CSz National Tournament – Part One.

07/12/2007

Man, I’m exhausted.

I just took a morning workshop with Joe Bill. It was like eating an improv steak dinner. More on that later – first, the details for the uninitiated:

ComedySportz every year holds a National Tournament – a chance for “act-letes” from around the country (and Manchester!) to get together, play and perform. This year, we are in Quad Cities, right on the Illinois/Iowa border. Dave Dritsas, Julia Frey, Alexis Simpson, Kristin Finger and I are eating, breathing and drinking vast quantities of improv.

Gotta go to a workshop in five minutes, but before I go, let me leave you with the five best names of places to eat/drink in Rock Island. These places really exist:

5: Doctor Gyro’s
4: Huckleberry’s Pizza and Calzones
3: Whitey’s Ice Cream Parlor (multiple locations in the Quad Cities area!!!)
2: The Thirsty Beaver
1: Mulkey’s: Home of the Henny Penny

If we had time, I’d frequent them all.
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Jason