Less than a day removed from Saturday and events have already become somewhat blurry, so apologies for vagueness in recaps. Workshops began promptly 15 or so minutes after scheduled as bleary eyed improvisers and instructors stumbled in to the theater and ate bagels with a voraciousness typically associated with animals on the Serengeti. Lou Leonardo, Ken Keech and the fine, fine people at Geva Comedy Improv led some enthusiastic if fatigued improvisers through the finer details of short form, long form and establishing a group mind. Kudos to all.
Following the formal workshops, a handful of groups got together on the stage to share their favorite short form games, see what works and what works better, and share old war stories before the evening's events began.
Wit & Will from Albany kicked off the evening's events with a tight short form set, bringing some grade A acting chops to the festivities. Buffalo's Phil in the Blank followed with an original long form construction that saw the birth and subsequent demise of a political party based on freedom from wrappings. Oregon Fail took a Text From Last Night and turned it in to an elaborate long form piece, and Rochester's Search Engine Improv introduced the festival to the Lazy Susan which I am still struggling vainly to describe to people that weren't there.
30-minute two person improv is not to be attempted lightly, but the festival had TWO groups take it head on. One half of Syracuse's Dinosaur Society and the cross country connection Outside the Realm of Destiny both showed us all how to work without a net.
Don't Feed the Actors, Syracuse's veteran short form group, wrapped up the official festivities with original twists on classic games before inviting the entire crew of performers on stage for a round of Scenes From a Hat. When the last Scene was pulled from the hat, a free form improv jam emerged with scenes being performed all across the St. Clare Theater.
And then we cleaned up. And locked the doors. And there may or may not have been festivities held off site afterwards that I can neither confirm nor deny. Thanks to everyone who showed up in support of our great shared art form.
The 2011 Festival may be over, but Thumbs UPstate is just getting started. Keep an eye on the blog and on Facebook for much more to come.