Breaking Bob

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.

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The 2014 Schedule and Tickets are Up!

stephen-kearinAs 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 Festival Begins

F Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald having too good a time at the 2013 festival

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 Let’s do this, Austin!

Passes and Workshops for 2013

TTMLS_Vintage 10Big 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.

2013 Schedule & Tickets are Live!

The Tribunal, one of the many acts in 2013

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.

Submissions for 2013 are Open!

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.

Watch the 2012 Festival NOW

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:

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.

Interview with the Sarge of Bunker 13

Roy here.

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?

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Schedule and Tickets Are Available

Stay tuned for the announcement of the 2013 lineup. For now, browse the acts that were part of the 2012 festival.

2012 Lineup Announced

The tentative lineup of acts for 2012 have been announced. Take a look at the groups page for a sneak peek at what the festival holds this year!

The big news that The Improv Playhouse from San Francisco will be headlining the festival this year.