Anything can happen in TheatreSports. Well, almost anything. The usual caveats such as the law of gravity apply, of course. Although there are occasions when what the actors get up to on stage appears to defy some of the natural laws.
For the uninitiated, TheatreSports is improvised acting (improv), with the actors taking their cues from the audience (no you do not participate except to shout out absurd things like “porcupine”, or, “the beginner’s guide to belly button fluff picking”).
What transpires on stage rarely fails to be funny, and is always original. Unique actually. It’s just the nature of improv that its base note is comedy.
Even this past Tuesday at the Kalk Bay Theatre where we were treated to quite a bit of film noire with gothic overtones, the show was still a hoot. A bit like the Adams Family. It might have been B-grade horror but it was first class comedy.
The quality of the show depends on the ability of the actors not only to act, but to think quickly, and laterally, in order to interpret the absurd directions thrown at them by the audience.
It’s completely unscripted but not without structure. Over the years various ‘games’ or ‘frameworks’ have been devised. But what then happens on this platform is anyone’s guess.
A most hilarious game is one in which one of the actors has to communicate in sign language. Brett Anderson had us in stitches as he employed a highly original made-up-on-the-spot signs interpreting an interview between Candace D’Arcy as a TV show host and Anne Hirsch as the author of the beginner’s guide to belly button fluff picking.
Also on stage was Megan Furniss, who founded TheatreSports in Cape Town 18 years ago, and Ryan Jales, with Sven Goldin on piano providing the soundtrack.
Over a glass of wine after the show, Megan supplied some background to this form of improvisational theatre.
Apparently it all started with “the guru” of improv, Keith Johnstone, in Calgary, Canada some 40 years ago. Originally it was an exercise to get actors to loosen up, think on their feet and unlearn some bad habits.
People started dropping in to the workshops and enjoyed them so much he eventually realised he was onto a good thing and effectively franchised the concept.
Megan came across it at workshops at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg and figured it would be a good thing to bring down to the Cape. She now has the only licensed Theatre Sports group in South Africa.
So if you haven’t experienced the fast-paced comedy of TheatreSports yet, it’s about time you got yourself an education and a good time, and if you have seen it before you might recall that you had a bloody good laugh and realise its about time you did that again.
It’s a really inexpensive night out at R50, or you can shell out another 50 and get a beer and burger into the bargain if you see it at the Kalk Bay Theatre when it runs there on a Tuesday night.
It also runs at the Intimate Theatre on Hiddingh campus every Monday.
To book at Kalk Bay Theatre call 072 939 3351 or for more info go to