Broadway’s annual Autumn Festival, featuring a wide variety of craft, artisan, food, and retail vendors, along with classic cars, is just around the corner (September 9). But unlike previous festivals, this one will also feature live entertainment, courtesy of The Off Broadway Players (OBP)! That’s right – throughout the day of the festival, students currently enrolled in the OBP’s Comedy Improv class will be presenting half-hour improv showcases at both 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
If you’ve ever seen the hit game show, Whose Line Is It, Anyway?, you already know how much fun it can be to watch an improv show. Comedy improvisation, unlike traditional scripted theatre, is a type of performance where the actors totally make up the script as they go along. Many of the routines even allow the audience to provide input on the types of characters or plot lines that will be developed onstage. Attending a comedy improvisation performance is a lot like attending a party – everyone involved, both onstage and off, are guaranteed a good time!
For the past month, the “students” enrolled in the Comedy Improv class (a motley assortment of teens, professionals, and retirees) have been exploring the foundational concepts of improvisation. Through participation in a variety of exercises and games, students are strengthening their skills of focus, teamwork, mime, and character – all of the things that, together, lend themselves to a formula for successful improvisation. During the final class sessions, they will also learn the structure of some of the more well-known improv routines such as “Party Quirks” and “Freeze Tag” which will be featured at the showcase performances during the Autumn Festival.
Both showcase performances will be held behind the old Broadway School, about a block south of the festival’s classic car show on Main Street. For those unfamiliar with the building, it’s the one that sits on the opposite end of the park from the town offices and diagonally across the street from The Gobbler Grill. If you attend one of the improv showcases, you will also have the opportunity to peek inside the top floor of this historic building. For most of the 20th century, it served as both the cafeteria (bottom floor) and gymnasium/auditorium (top floor) for the school. It is the only structure that still remains after the rest of the school was razed during the late 1970’s. As you may have heard in the news, the Town of Broadway purchased this building several years ago with the intent to someday restore it and turn it into both an events center for the town and also a permanent performance space for OBP productions.
Architectural drawings as well as a miniature model of proposed designs for the building’s top floor will be on display, along with historic photos of what it looked like during its days as a school. So be sure to swing by and enjoy a few laughs at one of our improv performances at either 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. during the Autumn Festival on September 9th. See you there!