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Submissions for 2012 are open!

We are now accepting submissions for 2012. 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.

That’s a wrap.

The festival was a HUGE success. Thanks to everyone who performed in, helped out with, or came to see it. We’ll definitely do it again forever. In the meantime, check out our weekly schedule at HideoutTheatre.com.

Interview with Code Duello

Code Duello are about to do their first ever show in Austin as part of the Improvised Play Festival. We sat down and chatted with Neil & Matt to get a little backstory.

Roy: Let’s get the basics out of the way first. How long have you two been performing together, and how did the idea for Code Duello come into being? What’s your origin story, basically?

Neil: Matt and I performed together on a larger team as part of the now-defunct Tribe Theatre in Boston.  We enjoyed playing together and seemed to share some sensibilities, so when the Tribe Theatre put out a call for two-person shows, we found each other and started brainstorming.

Reenacting the Burr-Hamilton duel was more of a joke than a proposal when Matt first pitched it, but the more we thought about it, the more attached we grew to the premise.  We developed the show and premiered it at the Tribe in 2006, and just a month or two later the theatre imploded.  Determined to keep doing the show, we applied to a handful of festivals, the biggest of which was the ’06 Del Close Marathon at UCBNY.

We owe much of our success to our first performance at the DCM, which in turn we owe to the helping hands of Anthony King and Chris Gethard, who became our advocates in NY.  Since 2006 we’ve toured nationally, always seeming to have an easier time booking shows abroad than in Boston, and in 2010 we partnered with the UCB TourCo.

Later in 2010, Matt moved to NY and I moved to LA.  The Austin Festival will be a reunion of sorts — our first show in over a year.

Roy: What is it about the show that you think has such staying power? Something tells me it isn’t America’s insatiable hunger for historical plays.

Neil: Beyond the usual draws of improv, I think Code Duello strives to ground absurdity in real emotions and motivations.  Although the show often veers into the fantastical, whimsical, or plain old stupid, we always try to play from honesty, intelligence, and vulnerability.  We love to take risks and love it even more when risks pay off.

I also think we have a built-in hook, which is that you’re always going to see Alexander Hamilton get shot (or stabbed, or run over, or mauled by a whale) by the end of the show — the meandering river that leads us there is part guessing-game.

Roy: Mauled by a whale? Did that seriously happen in a show?

Neil: I… I think so?  Maybe it was a dolphin.  Or a bird.  We had a year of shows in which we tended to run afoul of wild beasts and critters.  It always developed organically from the audience suggestion, but after the fourth or fifth animal-centric show, we started to notice the pattern, and moved to avoid it.  Which is not to say that you won’t see a giant fucking menagerie in our next show.

Roy: I think the show I saw at The Providence Improv Fest years ago involved a horse. Granted, the suggestion was “runaway horse”, so it makes sense. So how *has* the show evolved over time, besides becoming less animal-centric?

Matt: Hey I just noticed that the show is now mentioned on the Hamilton-Burr Duel Wikipedia page! Neil did you do that? I guess that’s one evolution. When we started, we were mocking a historical event that we learned about from Wikipedia, now we are officially a part of the Wikipedia page of the historical event we are mocking. We are a part of history! We’ve also been using the same pants since 2006 so we can see how our guts have evolved.

I think the show itself has gone through different periods of evolution. In our first run, it felt simple and fun and easy. We’ve gone through phases where it didn’t feel that way. It’s felt labored and complicated. I think Neil and I have worked to try to stay in that place of simplicity by reminding ourselves to remain focused on what is the core of the show.

It always comes back to these two guys and how they relate to each other. Everything else comes out of that relationship.

Roy: Thanks, guys. Everyone, this is seriously one of my favorite improv shows of all time, and I’ve seen a lot. Come check them out Saturday, July 2nd at 10pm.

Get your tickets here.