The 6th Annual Improvaganza, the Hawai’i Festival of Improv, makes its return to Honolulu this coming weekend, September 22, 23 and 24. Originated by famed local improvisor and festival Executive Director, Garrick Paikai in 2006, this year’s Improvaganza is shaping up to be the best one yet! Nineteen improv teams, including 6 of Hawai’i’s own homegrown teams and several national headlining acts will descend on Honolulu for this three night celebration of all-things improv!
For a majority of the public, improv is something they may be familiar with through the hit show “Whose Line Is It Anyway” which featured short-form improv games and scored major ratings and a dedicated fan-base for ABC for several years. Improv is so much more than that though and Improvaganza, in Paikai’s vision, seeks to allow the great people of Honolulu to expand and explore the marvelous world of Improv in all its wonders by bringing in and showcasing the best of improv from across the country. And with this year’s line-up of varied talent and styles, he continues to hit another homerun in this 6th iteration of Improvaganza.
Over the past several years, Hawai’i’s improv scene has blossomed through the work of Paikai with the annual Improvaganza which has spotlighted and showcased Improv at its finest to the community as well as through the work of Shannon Winpenny who established the FISW (Fundamentals of Improv with Shannon Winpenny) training center out of Laughtrack Theater in Chinatown which has trained a new generation of Honolulu improvisers (including yours truly) and featured and given Improv a permanent home and venue featuring shows each weekend. Many of Winpenny’s graduates (Chocolate Squirrel, Homewreckers, Something Classy) take the stage this weekend alongside the many Mainland headliners who will be joining us in Honolulu for Improvaganza.
This year’s Improvaganza showtimes run throughout the weekend as follows:
- Thursday, September 22, 2011, 7:30 p.m. at the Arts at Mark’s Garage
- Friday, September 23, 2011, 8:00 p.m. at the Venue
- Friday, September 23, 2011, 8:30 p.m. at the Arts at Mark’s Garage
- Friday, September 23, 2011, 10:00 p.m. at the Venue
- Friday, September 23, 2011, 10:30 p.m., at the Arts at the Mark’s Garage
- Saturday, September 24, 2011, 8:00 p.m. at the Venue
- Saturday, September 24, 2011, 8:30 p.m. at the Arts at Mark’s Garage
- Saturday, September 24, 2011, 10:00 p.m. at the Venue
- Saturday, September 24, 2011, 10:30 p.m., at the Arts at the Mark’s Garage
Each show is $10.
Featured performers include:
- Bunker 13: Seattle-based long-form improv show set during the Vietnam War revolving around the lives of 5 soldiers .
- Chocolate Squirrel: Hawai’i based troupe consisting of Fernando Pacheco, John Waihee and Jennifer Waihee performing their long-form hit, “The Greatest Improv Show Ever” where they conceive what would be the Greatest Improv Show Known to Man based on an audience suggestion while poking a little fun at the art each other. Truly witty and hilarious. 🙂
- Crayons!: This troupe brings its own brand of short-form improv to Hawaii all the way from Tulsa, OK.
- Dicks + Jane: Hawaii-based Improv troupe comprised of regular performers at Laughtrack Theater. Their form explores relationships amongst people.
- Dirty Laundry: Seattle-based Improv group who perform a couple’s therapy form whereby a couple is picked out of the audience and thrust into a therapy session. The description alone sounds hilarious!
- Galapagos: Phoenix-based long form Improv group making their third appearance at Improvaganza!
- Hello Laser: NYC-based improv group formed by improv legend Armando Diaz who will be performing their form, “The Snapshot.”
- Homewreckers: Hawaii-based improv troupe coming out of the FISW training center at Laughtrack Theater.
- Landry + Summers: Improv duo performing together since 1986. They’ll be performing their hit show, “Yes We Are F*cking!”
- Megalou: NYC-based Improv duo making their second Improvaganza appearance.
- mmmmK: Austin, TX based Improv duo who will be performing their form, “P.S.” where the characters explore their world through the “written” word.
- Morally Impoverished: Juneau, Alaska based Improv group who will perform, “An Improbable Act” whereby they take a page of a locally written play and flesh it out into an improvised play structure.
- Oil in the Alley: Hawai’i’s hit duo of R. Kevin Garcia Doyle and Sean T.C. O’Malley who bring improvised rock to the stage. Not to be missed!
- On the Spot: The “House/Host Team” of Improvaganza. OTS is Hawai’i’s longest running Improv troupe. They will be performing two of their hit forms throughout the weekend, “Hush” a silent improv (truly a wonder to behold!) and “Tell-Tale Dreadful” which is set in Victorian London and inspired by the works of Charles Dickens and Edgar Allen Poe.
- Puppet This: Seattle-based Improv troupe who perform through Puppets.
- Revlis: Improv solo act featuring Kristin Firth as she presents her solo improv show, “Revlis Improv from the Future.”
- Something Classy: Hawaii-based Improv troupe coming out of the FISW training center at Laughtrack Theater.
- Super Mega Art Show: improv duo who are one of the Two featured performers at this year’s Improvaganza.
- Twinprov: Oklahoma City-based improv duo consisting of twin brothers Buck and Clint Vrazel who will present “Rap-sody,” which features improvished rap/hip-hop music. Not to be missed!
For more detailed descriptions of the performers, their shows, showtimes and ticket purchase visit the official Improvaganza website.
In addition to the shows, Improvaganza weekend also features various workshops on Improv conducted by some of the various expert performers and teachers in town for the weekend. This year’s workshops will be conducted on Saturday at the Arts at Mark’s Garage. For workshop information and registration you can visit this link on the Improvaganza website.
Two weeks ago I had the privilege of attending Improvaganza Preview Night and was thoroughly impressed with the show. Preview night featured performances by “Something Classy,” “Chocolate Squirrel” and “On the Spot.” Here’s some quick shots and impressions of Preview Night.
Something Classy getting physical with each other while going on about cats during Preview Night.
Chocolate Squirrel musing about what they’ll do to produce the “Greatest Improv Show EVER!”
R. Kevin Garcia Doyle getting ready to “Hush” it up with OTS on Preview Night.
Alissa Joy Lee and Improvaganza Executive Director/OTS Artistic Director Garrick Paikai during “Hushs” set on Preview Night.
Rod Cachola playing King Kong with OTS during their performance of “Hush” on Preview Night.
R. Kevin Garcia Doyle about to be beheaded by Garrick Paikai while a Rod Cachola and a guest performer pulled from the audience look on.
Full set of photos from Preview Night are here.
Don’t miss Improvaganza, Hawai’i’s Festival of Improv!