IA Update

It has been a frustrating year being a member of IA. Just a couple of years ago we were in the Chicago Improv Festival, we had great members, and we thought that we were really growing into one of the top groups here in KC. Ever since Chicago, things have been up and down...but mostly down.

It is easy to say that it's because most of the members have left, or are involved in many other improv related things outside of the group, but that's not it. There were frustrations and no communication, and the group was slowly becoming a very negative thing for me personally.

So...we had a meeting on Friday and we got some things out that were bugging us. Most importantly, everyone shared their frustrations and talked about what they would like to see from the group in the next year or so...and everyone listened...it didn't hurt that we had beer and food too.

It was tough, but it was necessary. We learned a very simple fact. If you are frustrated with something, you have to talk about it with the directors and/or the group. Otherwise, you may find yourself showing up to rehearsal, with nothing being resolved, finding yourself more frustrated. I for one was doing this, complaining about things to my wife, but never to the people who needed to hear it most. So, in a way, I was part of the problem.

Hopefully the meeting helped. Only time will tell. In fact, in a month we will begin to see whether things are better or worse when we play at the Impfest.


The growth of improv in KC

I was fortunate enough to host the last round of Thunderdome which in my humble opinion was the best round I have seen. All 3 teams had great shows, if I was an audience member, it would have been a tough vote.

More importantly. Conversations after the show really made me proud to be an improviser here in KC. I think people are starting to realize that this can't be the next Chicago, LA, or NY. It just can't. They are larger cities, with a larger talent pool. However, I had some great conversations with people that agree with me on one thing we can do to help improv all around.

Why can't we be a stepping stone to those cities? Many people that come from Second City, and other established improv institutions, say that it was their University. So, it gets me thinking that Kansas City could be a High School of Improv, or (gasp) a Community College for those larger established institutions.

Roving Imp has started something that no one else in KC has right now. The ability to take improv classes, and perform as well. If that isn't a start to a training center, then I don't know what is.

There are no tiered levels, there is not enough interest yet to create the levels, but the pieces are in place, and I for one am proud to know that if anyone can handle it. It is the Roving Imp Theater. It is amazing to think what that Theater has done in 2 and a half years, and it will be amazing to see what it can accomplish in the next 2 and a half.

Kansas City Improv is making a turn right now. There are the great groups that have been around a while, but now there are groups that have sustained themselves for at least 2-3 years. We are starting to see some High School and College improvisers, but they need a place to perform and a place to train. (of course, collaboration with the aforementioned groups would be nice, but that is a whole other topic)

There is Exit 16, but that is for Liberty High School students only. (Don't get me wrong, if it wasn't for this program, improv would be less relevant in KC.) The College improvisers just made a name for themselves and created their own shows, which is inspiring to see. But it would be nice to see High School and College students interested in improv have a place to train and perform here in KC.

So, my question is, where do you see it going? What is the next step?



Have you ever heard a goat yell like a man?


Times, they are a changing

After November. I am going to be taking some time off from improv. I may do a Dictionary Soup show, and help Dennis out if he needs it, but other than that I will not be doing a lot of improv. I will most likely take a 1-2 month break from IA because we rehearse on Tuesday nights at 7 and usually have monthly shows on Friday nights around 7 also. My work schedule usually keeps me till 6:45-7:00 at night, and I hate feeling hurried, or making others wait on me.

Looking back on this blog, at one point I was doing Comedy City, CounterClockwiseComedy, IA, Roving Imp, and Thunderdome...I have no idea how I did it. I remember thinking to myself that I was getting a lot of stage time to really work on things, but some stage time was not so helpful, and some of the groups were more of a frustration than anything.

I have always told myself that I do this for fun, and if it isn't fun anymore, then I wouldn't do it. Comedy City was more frustrating than fun, and so was CCC. So I had to quit those groups. Everything else has been a blast, but I am sure that I am going to have to make some tough decisions again once January hits.

This time, it won't have anything to do with frustration and fun. It actually has to do with improv not getting in the way of other priorities. I am not looking forward to some of the decisions I will have to make, but I have to remember that they are for the best.

I will still be doing improv in some capacity, but as to what that will be...only time will tell.


KCiF: 9

I just want to say that Susan Messing and Mark Sutton put on one of the best improv shows I have seen in years, if not my entire life. You can tell that they have each been doing this for years and that they each have a wonderful sense of play. That being said, great festival, great crowds, great after parties...just great.

IA kicked off Saturday night and I felt really happy with the way the show turned out. We all were very calm before the show and I think that everyone came out ready to have fun, I know I did. Even better was the fact that we were then able to sit down and watch the next 3 groups go on. After the curtain call we went to tower tavern, drank, and reflected on a job well done by everyone involved. I think everyone was very pleased with how the festival was run.

It will be very interesting to see what happens next year.