Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Improvisational Repertory Theatre Ensemble Presents a Comedy of Terrors with "The Scary"

Poster for "The Scary"
Re-printed with permission
The Improvisational Repertory Theatre Ensemble (ITRE) has taken up residency at The Producers' Club (358 W. 44th St) for a series of five improv shows running through August 2014.

This past weekend, WGINY attended the currently-running show, "The Scary," directed by Pat Shay, in which the cast created an hour-long improvisational sketch inspired by Stephen King. Rather than solicit cold ideas from the audience, IRTE invented various ways to have audience members choose common themes from the master of horror's psyche. The show needed a hero or heroine, so after having an audience-member reach into a dirty box of ideas, Alex Decaneas became the "unpopular girl with paranormal abilities, while Nannette Deasy, IRTE's Artistic Director, traded her founder's hat for an "evil clown" wig and makeup. In true terrifying fashion, two masked twins then came out to accost an audience member into selecting a scene location by way of a large Origami fortune teller. The chosen location was a creepy hotel in Maine.

Together with their comical colleague, Curt Dixon, Deasy and Decaneas are familiar from their raucous stint together in Gotham City Improv's "Off the Top of Our Heads." Also with a Gotham City Improv history, IRTE member Marcia Sofley has a clear knack for character acting. Read about the full 2014 ensemble here. Together they draw from a wealth of credits including off-Broadway, national tours and feature film.

L to R: Jamie Maloney; Marcia Sofley; Nannette Deasy; Graceann Dorse; Alex Decaneas; Robert Baumgardner; Curt Dixon.
Not pictured: Guest performer Evie Aronson.
Photo provided by IRTE
As for "The Scary," the wacky cast of characters in this dark comedy improvisation utilized various props to keep the storylines alive - hats, wigs, masks, silly string, fake blood, alcohol bottles - as they created sketches within their sketch, improvising scenes at a truck stop, an automobile shop, and a prom, eventually resolving all storylines at the creepy hotel. It was clear that the creative ensemble members were having a blast, although their interactions appeared a bit rough around the edges. There's definitely potential here.

During a short intermission, IRTE welcomed musical guest Pablo Blues Boy, who struck a chord with WGINY as an introspective, John Mayer meets JJ Grey singer-songwriter. His short set was extremely entertaining. All of IRTE's shows at The Producers' Club include live musical interludes, with rotating performers from the NYC indie music scene.

Watch ITRE's "The Scary" promo video here, and read more about the improv group on ITRE's website. "The Scary" closes on Saturday, April 26, with musical guest Gift of TonguesTickets for "The Scary" are $10, or you can purchase a $40 season pass for access to the entire 2014 season of shows.

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