After seeing the show appear on our calendar, I was really curious to learn more about the 2019 version of When ____ Met ____: An Improvised Romantic Comedy.
It's the second year of this show where two audience volunteers play the leads. Don't worry! They're guided by trained improv performers. I saw a 2018 performance and felt VERY impressed with the way the improv performers fully immersed two audience members with absolutely no stage experience.
Baltimore TV station WJZ 13 stopped by The Big Theater. If you're new to us this segment is a great introduction to everything we do!
You have to really admire the inventors on the televisions Shark Tank. Putting themselves out there with an idea, often with little funding and resources. Believing in a product and the willingness to try to come up with a viable plan. Putting together what they can with what they have. These gritty creators often make a product and iterate, while most of us wouldn't even try. They have the willingness to ask for help. Perhaps that's why we admire the show.
The original Japanese version of the show went by The Tigers of Money. Before the show came to American networks, I recall watching the BBC version called Dragon's Den. Hannah Jeffrey is producing a comedy show inspired by the television hit, as she explains in the below transcript:
For many years we’ve relied on media and strangers visiting school assemblies to teach us valuable lessons.
You probably think I’m talking about hiring BIG to visit your school. You might even expect me to plug that we’re a rostered artist with Young Audiences of Maryland. And yes you're right, we total will do a true and actual educational program that visits your school and does an actual assembly. Sure, you could totally hire us!
However!! That’s not what this post is about. This time we're presenting a comedy show in response to all of the adults who taught us valuable lessons as kids. Producer Alexa Sciuto tells us about the show After School Special and the performers of improv team Ready, Set, NO in the below interview transcript.
Short Form Improv is a series of quick, exciting, and fun games. Each game has its own chance for audience interaction. Think of a game like Pictionary where you know who draws and who guesses.
Most shows at Baltimore Improv Group tackle explore audience suggestion(s) or ideas over the course of several scenes. Each scene is built in the moment without restriction that goes on at such length that it's actually called Long Form Improv.
Luckily for us, we have performer and coach Kim Scarfe (GUS) bringing together some of our cities top performers to compete – not to the death. In the below transcript, we find explore Comedy Deathmatch 3000 and it's producer in the past, present, and future:
What is an indie team? They’re performers who – as an independent group – aren’t connected to a theater. It could even be you!!
You get to take the initiative to pick the players you want to play with. Sometimes when your team or project ends a run of shows – or as a students, you end a session of classes – you want to stick together.
Sometimes your practice group or improv jam's great dynamic makes you want to keep playing. Other times, you have an idea for a type of show. You ask around and find a team who wants to try it.
Sometimes the stars align. You don’t even know how it happened.
You get to decide on your own priorities. You don’t have to follow any rules! You can make big comedy choices. Play for drama, genre, or tragedy. You can be a solo act, two people, or bring way too many people on stage to see what happens.
Brian Shea produces The BIG Indie Showcase that helps you put your ideas in front of a crowd. Read the transcript below to find out more.
Some might easily argue that improv classes with Baltimore Improv Group completely replace a standard college education regardless of your desired career path.
Still, improviser Julia Gerhardt found a way to support those who choose a more traditional university based path.
Scholars Among Men is that way.
In the below transcript, find out more about this comedy show and about the person behind it.
Jen Diamond and Pam Hugi – also known as Baltimore-based indie comedy duo OLGA – formed in 2014. OLGA performs must see long-form improv, original sketches, and duo-stand up. They do a very good job.
Both are members of Surprise Party and helped create BIG's weekly bring-your-own team show, Impropourri. They happen to host a night of improv with teams of two at Baltimore Improv Group called The BIG Duo Feature.
When I was a child and teenager, teachers and adults told me I acted too curious and asked too many questions. That may have turned out to be true in the below transcript. And it was worth it and delightful.
Some people train their bodies extensively to test their stamina for 26 grueling miles. For 17 years, Heather Moyer has trained for the comedic equivalent - the performance challenge of a lifetime.
From Saturday, Dec. 1 at 8 a.m. to Sunday, Dec. 2 at 1 a.m., MOYERTHON will present a continuous stream of long and short improv performances - and Moyer will be in every single one of them. That’s right: Moyer is performing improv for 17 hours straight. It’s not only an anniversary celebration of Moyer’s 17 years as an improviser but also a way to raise money and champion Baltimore’s improv community. With your support, Moyer will help the Baltimore Improv Group (BIG) take a significant step towards its 2018 fundraising goal of $50,000.
Moyer is one of the founding members of BIG. “It’s so exciting to see how many people we have (in the improv community) now,” she says. “I’ve loved seeing us grow. Creating a safe space with opportunities to perform every night of the week for people from all backgrounds and experience levels is just as much fun now as when I started. It’s a supportive community and a non-competitive environment, and I know lots of generous folks are going to come out for this night.”
To keep up her strength and keep it interesting, Moyer will be joined on stage by some of the region’s most talented performers. Every hour contains fresh material, with new situations and faces to help refuel her creative juices. There will be BIG house teams, indie (independent) teams, special projects, and never before seen bit shows.
Moyer is no stranger to taking improv risks. “I love really ridiculous silly characters and fast paced games and scenes,” Moyer says. “I try hard to make my scene partners look good - to always be someone that people want to play with. Over the years I’ve gotten much more comfortable with my style. Heather with Strangers [a show in which Moyer performs improv with an audience member who’s never done improv before] is so much fun. Every single time, it’s gone well. Watching people realize how great it is to build something on stage, to play make believe, and to realize you have the confidence to do it - on your first try!- brings the magic of improv to life in a tangible way.”
But the Moyerthon will take Heather’s adventurous improv to a new level. "This event is a semi-maniacal twist on a classic improv stunt: the improv marathon,” says Terry Withers, Managing Director of BIG. “Improv theatres often run 12-24 hour nonstop improv marathons, but no one has ever improvised for 17 hours straight! Heather is making history here, and I would say you don't even need to be an improv fan to appreciate the endurance and daring spirit required for this! If you like people putting their necks on the line for what they believe in, I wouldn't miss it."
How will she get through it? With your help, of course! Concerned, generous audience members can donate help for Heather during the marathon - $5 for a Gatorade, $10 to sit in a chair. How much will pep talks, shoulder rubs, and hugs cost as she reaches the peak of improv marathon madness? We’re hoping enough to push BIG closer and closer to its $50,000 fundraising goal.
“I’m super excited - and nervous. I have no idea how to prepare for this,” Heather says. “I’ve never performed for longer than an hour, and I have no idea what it’s going to be like. I will probably feel insane, probably well before the end. There will be a lot of peaks and valleys. Will it be more fun to watch me on my first breakdown, or my fourth? Depends on how weird you’re going to want to get.. ‘cause it’s definitely going to get weird.”
$17 gets you a ticket to all the action. Check the schedule to see when your favorites are on stage, or bring some popcorn and your pillow and settle in for some serious binge watching. To celebrate this accomplishment there will be a party starting at 9 p.m. - not only for Heather, but the entire improv community.
The BIG MOYERTHON is Saturday, Dec 1st: 8 a.m. - Sunday, Dec 2nd, 1 a.m.
Suggested donation is $17. After party is free to attend and starts at 9 p.m.
Additional donations are strongly encouraged. Buy tickets online at www.bigimprov.org/moyerthon.
What is the true nature of time and the universe? I can’t really speak on behalf of the Baltimore Improv Group as an organization or even this blog in any official capacity. Unofficially speaking, I believe the below interview with improviser* Richard Gorelick of team Thick Mints answers this and other questions about the nature of the universe. Especially the part of universe with local public speakers and improvisors*.
Read the below interview transcript for burning answers about interview show BIG Time.
Various BIG members and friends contribute to the blog. Enjoy!