A little over a year ago, Dwayne produced a show at the Boxcar Theatre, a show whose entire format was improvised. At one point, I volunteered with a fellow improviser to play a short form game called Three-Headed Expert. The third head came from someone who had never done improv before, and Dwayne was our interviewer. There’s a photo of that game that shows the newbie at the center of our troika, her eyes closed and mouth wide open in a fit of laughter, flanked by two improvisers grinning in the direction of their interviewer.
At the iO European tour in Copenhagen a few months later, Tara and Rance selected some of their students at random to perform with them in a show, and I saw the parallel of what had happened in Dwayne’s short form game in a long-form context. I wanted to create a similar experience but hadn’t even been improvising for two years at that point and organizing something like that felt more like an aspirational goal.
A year passed, and I had an Amy Poehler quote stuck in my head:
Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that- that’s what life is. You might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s really special and if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself.
In an effort to learn something new about myself, I’m producing Guest Appearance, a free show this Friday at 8pm in San Francisco’s Stage Werx Theatre. The idea behind the show is simple: have someone with limited (possibly zero) improv experience perform an entire show with seasoned improvisers. Most of the folks performing in Friday’s show are either members of Cat Dance or have performed with Cat Dance in the past. Of course, there is also the mystery person who will fill out our ranks, and I’m confident that this group will provide the support needed to bring out that person’s inner poet, artist, and genius.
Who that mystery person is depends on who comes to the show, which is proving to be one of the more interesting parts of producing. Until now, my main experience with production has come from helping out with production responsibilities at EndGames for shows like Harold Night, for which EndGames helps with the promotion of the show. This marks the first time that I’m working directly with Stage Werx and have had to work on how to design the poster, the show description, etc. Thankfully, I’ve taken advice and help from friends. Shirley has been acting as a co-producer and helping to promote the show, and she’s had some great suggestions about how to bring in audiences. Dwayne has shared some of his wisdom and experience, as well.
This will be an exciting experiment, and I hope you’ll join us for its debut. Be our guest!