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Live from Austin on Saturday Night
pokemon
unwiredben
Last Saturday, after an excellent birthday gathering for satyric that is summarized by ocyn here, I got a chance to spend some time with one of the board gamers, the sweet and funny orangepaisley and go to the late performance of the Heroes of Comedy. This is an improv troop that performs at the Hideout and teaches classes. The only improvisational theater I'd seen in Austin was a few years earlier at the now-defunct Bad Dog Comedy Theater, and I'd somehow missed going to any Hideout programs at previous SXSWs, so this was an intro to both the group and the space. It was nice and intimate, and while the show didn't sell out, there was a healthy crowd.

The format for this group is Micetro, a competitive improv where the audience gives points to each group of performers, and actors get eliminated from the show as the evening progresses. I thought the actors did fairly well; there was some blocking going on in the scenes, but there was an awful lot of creative responses to the situations, and one actor did an amazing job with handling a variety of physical motions in one scene involving dismantling three different kinds of bombs. The impromptu sermon against the sin of dancing was also a lot of fun, and I really liked the "scene from nothing" which had two actors interacting without the aid of any sort of premise.

If I was going to be in Austin more reliably, I'd love to sign up for classes and start getting my own improv legs. I did some work in college with the Dramatech group and a lot of the writing for "The Show With No Name" was through an improv process. It's just incredibly fun to build off other people's ideas and construct a new mental space, and I'd love to do that on a regular basis.

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I had a good time, too. The fellow doing the bomb dismantling was Chris. He is an amazing physical actor and an all-around improv genius.

The Hideout always has something amazing going on. If you really want to see actors get weird, check out this Friday night's No Shame Theater. It's scripted, but it has an improv "wildness" about it.

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