Tuesday, January 20, 2009

improvise [im-pruh-vahyz]
to compose and perform or deliver without previous preparation; extemporize; to compose, play, recite or sing on the spur of the moment
Synonyms include: make up, ad-lib, contrive
About a week and a half ago, Leia and I attended a play...well, I'm not sure it's really a play. It was - are you ready for this - Jane Austen Improv! On one of our weekly emails from Goldstar Events, there was a $10 ticket item for Jane Austen UnScripted. I'm not a Jane Austen fanatic, but I can't deny how much her work impacted English literature and how it affected the role of women in society. She was truly avant garde and as an aspiring writer who is trying to find her way, I admire her a great deal.
So Leia and I had dinner at a nearby Japanese restaurant one Friday night. After a hot bowl of ramen, we headed to the Impro Theatre on L.A.'s Theater Row. Did you all know we had a theater row? I seriously had no idea! Anyhoo, we honestly didn't know what to expect when we bought the tickets, and we certainly didn't have the faintest idea what exactly we'd be watching when we got there.
The Impro is a group of small theater houses situated in one building. The"box office" was a girl sitting behind a small counter desk who checked off our names on a list. The theater itself seats about 50 people - one aisle, 4-seat rows on each side. The distance from the edge of the stage to the last row of seats is probably about 15-20 feet. When the actors came onto the stage (a stage furnished with just one Sigmund Freudish couch, desk and chair), we applauded, they gave us a quick background for the show, and then they asked for a topic to base the "play" on.
"Sex!" someone yelled out.
"Sex it is!" said one of the actresses, and then the show began.
All the actors were dressed in costumes reminiscent of Jane Austen's time - long, empire waist dresses with puffed sleeves for the women, and suits with long-tailed coats for the men and all spoke in that wonderful English accent, speaking like characters straight out of Austen's stories.
Leia and I were impressed. The show was hilarious! I can't even begin to imagine what it's like to do Improv at all, but to do it based on what Jane Austen might've written? That's just insane! The actors reminded everyone that since it's improv, every show is different. Leia and I quite enjoyed it and may go see it again. Who's up for some Jane?

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