Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Blink and you'll miss us

This is a great video of a fantastic event, but it's the :30 mark that I think is the most awesome.

DISHES Event from Daylight Blue Media on Vimeo.

Oh! And the really neat venue in the video? That's where the festival will be. Thanks, Northside UP!

Thumbs UP Profile - Pappy Parker Players

The Pappy Parker Players of Binghamton are, to the best of my knowledge, the only group attending the festival named after a chicken dish. So they have that going for them. Corrections from other chicken-named groups may be left in the comments. In any case, I sat down with Tim Crawley via "the internet" so he could answer these questions.

Q: Why is this improv troupe different from all other improv troupes?

A: The Pappys are set apart from all other improv groups because of our hip style, phat moves, and dope comedy (kids still use adjectives like that right?) (Editor's note: our sources say yes, yes they do).

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thumbs UP Profile - Phil in the Blank

Phil in the Blank appears from a distance to be a pun, until you realize no one in the troupe is named Phil. And then we don't know what it is. But they're coming from Buffalo which earns them the reward of "Most Area Codes Crossed"  to get here... for now.

Q: Holy crap, you guys are babies. By which I mean, your troupe hasn't been together that long. What inspired you to form a team?
A: That is actually quite the story, see, we didn't actually form our own troupe. All of the Phils, including myself, were a part of a club on campus called UBImprov. After performing in this club for about a semester, the troupe running the club thought we were ready to form our own troupe. They asked us if we were interested, and if so, they threw a troupe together based on who works well together. So, really we've only been a troupe for half a semester now. However, it turned out extremely well. We recently became more individualized running our own troupe, and have added more members; and with these new members creates the official troupe Phil in the Blank.

So, we half formed our troupe; it was really more of a process that happened on its own. We just worked with it. (I'm hoping that made sense.)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thumbs UP Profile - Oregon Fail

Oregon Fail of Syracuse, NY is the home of one of the Thumbs UPstate Co-Directors Joe Blum. To avoid any conflicts of interest, I asked my twelve year old niece to provide the questions. In a further effort to avoid any conflicts of interest, Joe asked fellow Failure (?) Mike Borden to do answer the questions. One of us annoyed someone unnecessarily.

Q: Oregon Fail, huh? What's that about?
Oregon Fail is a group of five hilarious friends who like to hang out and do longform improv in public places. Sometimes people gather around to laugh at them, but they're ok with that. They like to fail, and fail hard.

Q: Why would I want to watch you instead of a group with better looking people?
Because it's what's on the inside that counts, and we're mostly very tall, so logically we have more guts and "stuff" inside of us. Also, we choose a charity for every show and donate all of our profits to them. So you can come to one of our shows and tell all your friends that you spent Friday night "being philanthropic". Your secret is safe with us.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thumbs UP Profile - Wit & Will

I was... surprised?  Confused?  Flattered?  Let's go with confused.  I was confused when Parker Cross from Albany's Wit & Will Theatre asked me to conduct his profile dressed as Prospero from The Tempest. Doubly so because we conducted it over email. But he was totally right and I think it comes through in the interview.

Q: How did Wit & Will form?

As we imagine all improv groups do: we were in a production of HAMLET, liked the improv acting exercises, identified more with the Players and the Gravedigger than that whiny guy, and decided to continue as a short form improv group that does scripted plays and long form occasionally. It was either that or do CORIOLANUS, and that's been done to death.

parker cross ~ jennifer vaniderstyne ~ harold gosling ~ andrea kannes ~ matt o'connor

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thumbs UP Profile - RIT Improv

RIT Improv is an umbrella organization... my first umbrella organization that is not part of an elaborate, multinational, corporate conspiracy. Kyle O'Neil, their president and an absolutely fantastic speller, responded to this email questionnaire. 

Q: Tell us a little about how RIT Improv came to be.
RIT Improv was effectively created in 2006 to fill a much needed gap at RIT. There was no dedicated improv group at the time, and all comedy events cost money. The six founding members of BrainWreck Improv decided to bring free, quality improv comedy to the campus on a very frequent basis. As we grew, we began teaching free improv workshops, and formed the umbrella organization of RIT Improv. We now have two troupes - BrainWreck Improv and the Improvessionals - and have been going strong for almost five years now.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thumbs UP Profile - Don't Feed the Actors

Don't Feed the Actors from Syracuse, NY registered for the festival before the virtual ink was dry on the virtual paper, so it only fitting that they are the first group to receive the Thumbs UP profile treatment. I sat down with DftA's Dustin Czarny over a snifter of 15 year old brandy and this is the lively discussion that ensued.

Q: Tell us about how your group formed
Our group officially started doing shows a little over three years ago.  However the idea of doing improv had been there for a long time.  Many of us have been working in local theater together for over 15 years and for three or four years held annual improv parties where we played many of the games off of Whose Line is it Anyway which, of course, we adored.  The idea of doing an improv show came about as a way to do a fundraiser for Appleseed productions a local theater company many of us were active in.  The initial fundraiser was such a success we ended up doing four more fundraisers over the next year there.  Finally we decided that we wanted to do more shows and in 2009 branched out on our own.  We have averaged 2-3 shows a month since then and it has been a blast.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


The following workshops are on the menu on Saturday, April 9.

11am - 1pm: Short Form workshop led by Geva Comedy Improv from Rochester

We have imported the big guns from the 585 to go over some of the finer points of short form improv.

11am - 1pm: Long Form scene work led by Ken Keech

Mr. Keech has taught literally dozens of people the ins and outs of long form improvisation.

2pm - 4pm: Introduction to Improv led by Mike Intaglietta  

For the person off the street just looking for something new.  Techniques can be used in long form, short form, job interviews, or first dates.  Seriously.

2pm - 4pm: Introduction to Long Form Improv led by Ken Keech

Ken demanded two workshops.  It's in his contract.

4:30pm - 5:30ish: Short Form Share the Game

Short form groups get together and either share a game they've invented or put their own twist on, or show off a game they feel they play particularly well.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Experimental Improv

I suppose improv is by its nature experimental.  But what we're thinking of here is the stuff you haven't tried before.  Got a new form or game you want to try?  Want to put together a team of people you've never met?  Maybe a set in Swahili?  Actors in blind folds?  Smellprov?  I'm just throwing out ideas here.

If you or your team want to try something a little different, drop us an email at thumbsupstate@gmail.com.  We'll set aside a slot during our experimental blocks in the later hours either Friday or Saturday.

Registration Deadline March 13!

The deadline for improv groups to register to perform is March 13. Performance spots are filling up quickly so get your team registered as soon as possible.

We are finalizing details for the workshops. If you are interested in attending a workshop but not in performing, please email us at thumbsupstate@gmail.com.

We look forward to seeing everyone in April for some awesome improv action!