Free beer, free cupcakes and heaping doses of hilarious improv comedy. What more could one want from a night on the town?
The Savannah Stage Company is a relatively new kid on the theater block, and Indigo Sky Gallery is hosting its quirky troupe of nimble-humored thespians Dec. 5. The group will perform long-form improvisation and coax the belly laughs out in buckets.
"People love improv because it requires audience participation and it's always risky," said Jayme Tinti, associate artistic director of the Savannah Stage Company and 1/5 of its improv group. "They like watching people take the stage and take big risks."
Their comedy takes cues from the style of improvisation originally developed by the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York and Los Angeles that spawned comic royalty like Amy Poehler. The show takes place in two acts based on audience suggestions. The first act is a rapid-fire round of random short skits and free-association that includes crowd participation, then the second takes on a more sustained theme with a prolonged comedic sketch based around a monologue by one of the players, developed from a single word from the audience.
It's the kind of spontaneous comedy that can only come from years of practice. Even though the particular jokes and routines are unrehearsed and performed on the spot, the skills required to deliver the laughs don't come overnight. All of the performers are long-time professional actors and [it] Improv is just one aspect of what they do.
These aren't weekend hobbyists. They know what the hell they're doing and what works and what doesn't.
"We do a lot of things at the Savannah Stage Company, and just one of those things is improv," Tinti said.
Since establishing themselves in July 2012, the Savannah Stage Company has done free performances of Shakespeare in Forsyth Park, regular open mic nights at places like Chuck's Bar, a playwright workshop series with some of the established talent around town and various shows for schools, book fairs and retirement homes, among many other things.
"Part of what we do - part of our mission and values - is to be accessible to everyone," Tinti said. "To kids, to the elderly, to low-income families. That's the artistic vision we want to share with people."
Part of that vision is a sliding scale for tickets for some of the plays they perform for folks who may not be able to regularly afford it.
"We do a pay-what-you-can policy," Tinti said. "So no matter what, whoever you are and however much money you have, you can come to see professional theater."
Of course, the admittance for their improv show is imminently affordable. At s$7 a pop with free beer and cupcakes, you pretty much can't go wrong. But be sure to come early, because the gallery holds less than 50 people and it's sure to be packed.
If you make it, you'll be rewarded with an electric atmosphere and an experience full of fast and furious laughs conjured through a combination of imagination and bravery - two of the Savannah Stage Company's abiding watchwords.