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Empress Theatre to host night of Improv comedy

An improvisational comedy team made up of Empress Theatre summer staff members and actors from Drama Nutz performed July 22 at the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod. Andy Jenkins, Erica Barr and Greg Wilson teamed up to become a three-headed performer. The Empress will host an Improv night at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11.

Actors are known to have a recurring nightmare in which they have forgotten their lines as a live show opens in front of a large audience.
A group of actors will live that nightmare at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11 during Empress Theatre Improv.
In improvisational comedy actors use suggestions for scenes from the audience, and make up their lines as they go along.
“The No. 1 challenge is you get more jitters than you do for any other show,” Empress Theatre summer program co-ordinator Andy Jenkins said. “When you’re doing Improv you live that nightmare for the first minute of the show. Once you get rolling with it you feel pretty good about it.”
Empress Theatre actors will team up Thursday with the Lethbridge Drama Nutz, an Improv troupe that entertains at corporate functions and other events.
The actors will rely heavily on each other due to the spontaneity of the 50-minute show.
“The whole goal of Improv is to make the other guy look good,” Jenkins said.
Taking suggestions for scenes from the audience, the actors create their lines and the plot as they go.
“It’s an incredible feeling after the show to look at all the great stuff that came out of nothing,” Jenkins said.
Improv has been around for centuries but its popularity rose recently through its use by Loose Moose Theatre in Calgary and The Second City group in Chicago.
For actors, Improv is a chance to sharpen one’s skills.
The spontaneous nature of Improv forces an actor to be “present” throughout the show, listening to what others are saying and preparing their own lines.
“Improv comes right from within,” Jenkins explained. “We call it releasing the beast.”
Improv also provides the audience with a chance to shape the show they are about to watch.
“It’s fun for the audience to feel like they’re part of the show,” Jenkins said. “But it also proves we’re improvising.”

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