Each year the Hideout Theatre in Austin assembles a full weekend of improvised one-act plays. The schedule is packed with The Hideout’s own repertoire of shows, exciting new shows from other theaters in Austin, and special out-of-town guest troupes.
When I was approached by (producer and cast member) Seth Johnson to direct Beware of Female Spies, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I’ve always loved spy stories and according to Netflix, I love films with a strong female lead. (It’s true!) It wasn’t until I began crafting the format of the show that I started doubting myself. I had never directed a narrative improv show before. How could I do this? I have been in narrative shows but I was trained in Chicago style improv.
After freaking out and looking back at every narrative show I’ve been in and how it was crafted I started to calm down. I really liked all of them and they all approached story in different ways. I thought more about it and realized that every improv show I have ever been in has had a story. They may not always be linear stories that go from point A to point B but the human brain loves to create stories and that is what all improv does, even if it is in seemingly unrelated vignettes. If a long-form narrative improvised play is like a novel, Chicago style improv is a collection of short stories. Each scene tells a story and there is a reason each scene is in the same collection. Continue Reading
We’re selling All-Access Festival Passes!
They’re only $45, and they get you into every single show over the course of the 3 days… be it PGraph, Bunker 13, Stephen Kearin’s Project, Beware of Female Spies, Kenjutsu, or any of the other shows. That’s over a $105 value.
BeauMoMa, Beware of Female Spies, Breaking Beckett, Bunker 13 (from Seattle!), Camp Madeuponthespotta, Confidence Men: Improvised David Mamet, GOOFS, In Our Prime, Kenjutsu: The Art of the Sword, Parallelogramophonograph, Past Lives, Strange Worlds, The Black Vault, The Escorts, The Instant Movie (from Atlanta!), The Next Chapter, The Stephen Kearin Project!, The Steve Moore Project, and What the F@#$
Buy Your Pass Now
By Bob Olmstead
“Hi, my name is Bob and Im a recovering executive” followed by the obligatory “Hi, Bob- it works when you DON’T work it.” No, not a typo and no, not a recovery meeting. My first year in improv at The Hideout felt like that every single time I showed up to class. I was so riddled with defense mechanisms that getting an honest moment out of me was like trying to hug an enraged Bantha! Almost four years later to the month, I return to The Hideout Theater with a dramatic improvised play that I produce, direct and narrate; a show- ironically, about emotional transparency. Could someone please cue “Circle of Life” from the booth? Thanks!
My first exposure to improvised narrative was at my first PGraph show, Roy sitting with the audience yelling out emotionally charged dialog to a rather intense (this will be a shocker) Kareem, who Im sure was flying through the air or something like that. They bantered back and forth and yet in their comedy, heartfelt moments of purity just organically appeared. Wow, you can do that? I then spent an entire weekend studying narrative improv with PGraph, changing my view of improv forever.
As we approach the beginning of the festival, the complete schedule (and ticket links) are up. Every group performing has its own page, so feel free to click around to learn more about theacts in the festival.
Pay particular attention to our out of town guests: Bunker 13 (Seattle), The Instant Movie (Atlanta), and our two special projects directed by Stephen Kearin (LA) and Steve Moore (Physical Plant Theatre).
See the complete schedule here.
The Fitzgeralds having too good a time at the 2013 festival
THIS IS IT! This is the weekend you see something fun, different, and affordable! This is the weekend of the one and only Improvised Play Festival. Now in its 4th year, hosted by us at The Hideout Theatre right here in Downtown Austin! Each show is in a different genre or style, such as Summer Camp Tales, 1960s Female Spy films, Mamet, Samurai epics, Vietnam bunker war stories, Beckett, 1940s pulp, 1920s cosmic horror, and more. Plus, hilarious challenges and special directed projects by guest directors Steve Moore and Stephen Kearin. Yeah, it’s gonna be *that* good. Tickets are 5 to 15 dollars (festival passes are $45), and you can see the whole schedule at http://ImprovPlayFest.com/schedule Let’s do this, Austin!
Big news! Here are a couple of “firsts” for the Improvised Play Festival.
For the first time ever, we are offering festival passes that will get you into every show. They are only $45, and that includes admission to every show over the course of the 3 days.
For improvisers, there’s another first: workshops! Specifically, Jules and Heather from the United Kingdom are teaching a 3 hour workshop on Finding Love in Improv and Improvising Love Stories. That’s Saturday, April 13th from noon to 3pm, for $35.
The Tribunal, one of the many acts new in 2013
Oh happy day.
The schedule has now been released, and tickets are on sale for the 2013 Improvised Play Festival.
There are more shows than ever, in both the upstairs and downstairs theaters. And we’ve got guests from Montreal, The UK, New York, and Dallas… not to mention a wide assortment of Austin-based groups.
See the full schedule here.
We are now accepting submissions for 2013. It’s totally free, and all online. It only takes a few minutes. The sooner you apply, the more likely you are to get in.
Here is the application.
We look forward to hearing from you. Submissions are due no later than March 5th.
Wanna get a feel for what the Improvised Play Festival is like? Watch the acts from 2012 in their entirety online right now. There’s a Vimeo channel with all the shows: https://vimeo.com/channels/2012ipf
Here’s one of our favorites… The Improv Playhouse of San Francisco Presents: The Naked Stage:
Improvised Play Festival 2012 – Improv Playhouse of San Francisco: The Naked Stage from The Hideout Theatre on Vimeo.
Bunker 13 is an improv group from Seattle that is coming down for the Improvised Play Festival. They do a completely improvised show set in the midst of the Vietname War. Fatigues, cammo, explosions, and letters from home are the order of the day.
In anticipation of their upcoming show, I asked Mike Christensen, the creator of Bunker 13, some questions. As the director, it’s only fitting that in the show his character is “Sarge”.
ROY: How did Bunker 13 get its start, and what was the motivation behind it?