Improv can be tricky. Actors performing without a net in front of a live audience with suggestions from the crowd is a precarious affair, even at its best.
When you're a new troupe with no real history with your comic comrades, it becomes quite tricky indeed. This is the challenge that Armstrong Atlantic State University's Masquers players will face when they perform their improv show at the Jenkins Hall Black Box Theater March 28-29.
According to Armstrong University's arts marketing director Mario Incorvaia, this two-night-only affair will be student directed with student performers and is a continuation of an ongoing improv series that has been happening at Armstrong for a couple of years now.
"I believe this is the fourth semester of this free-and-open-admission, fight-for-your-seats-at-the-door IMPROV Night series," Incorvaia said. "It's audience participative, so everyone has fun."
Though the series itself has been happening for a while, this performance will be the first time this particular configuration of actors has performed together as a troupe. Student director Kelsey Dabney hosted auditions for the Masquers troupe a few weeks ago, and has the utmost confidence that everything will go off without a hitch.
"We're trying to get a troupe together so we can make this a constantly recurring thing," Dabney said. "I want it to take on a new dynamic and make it the best that it can be."
The Armstrong IMPROV Nights are off to a solid start, according to Dabney, and if she can wrangle together a solid troupe of ongoing players, they'll join the ranks of what seems to be a growing improv scene here in Savannah.
"It's fun," Dabney said. "People love improv. Especially when you get a group of people who have good chemistry and you understand each other and know what someone is going to do next before they do it."
Fair warning though: The shows may not be 100 percent kid friendly. As Dabney admits, a little bit of off-color humor can be a fun time, as well, but she doesn't anticipate there being too much of that element since they want to appeal to as wide an audience as possible.
"The crowds are really diverse," she said. "We get a lot of students and also a lot of older people from the community. It's really exciting. But it's also hard because we hold it in the black box theater, which only holds 35 people, so sometimes we have to turn people away."
Having too many people turn up for your show is a good problem to have, though. Dabney hopes to piggyback on the success of past shows and make the Masquers a permanent staple at Armstrong.
"Every theater department deserves to have improv," Dabney said. "There's no greater interaction than being yourself and being funny and having people love it."