Monday, October 13, 2008

Halloween Traditions: Creature Feature

Another Halloween tradition I have kept recently is participation in Creature Feature, the annual improvised monster movie show put on by Huge Theater. Since 2004, Creature Feature has been a staple of the Minneapolis improv scene every October, and I've had a freaking blast playing with a group of funny, talented people.

Here's how it works: every show, one performer is The Monster for the night. They get a suggestion from the audience of a monster that might star in a movie, and a title for that movie. For instance, this past Thursday: "Furballs From Hell," about a gigantic, murderous hamster. The rest of the cast sets a scene, describing an atmospheric location in which the "movie" will open. Then the Monster actor does a solo scene as the creature's first victim. After their grisly death, the cast introduces themselves in monologues as the characters they will play for the rest of the show. The scenes that follow show the characters conspiring, teaming up, backbiting, hiding, fleeing, and getting picked off by the hamsters or butterfly or clowns or mermaids or whatever.

Some favorite Creature Feature memories:
  • Kim Sigler crosses gender lines to play a Cub Scout caught between two rival park rangers / surrogate fathers (Butch Roy & Dan Hetzel). She spends much of the set running up & down their respective observation towers as they yell at each other.
  • Tim Uren plays a registered sex offender who ultimately prevails over the monster of the week, a Minotaur. Following his victory, he explains that it is he who is the real monster.
  • Aric McKeown, week after week and year after year, comes up with some of my favorite character names including Rusty Trombone, Dr. Assless Chaps, and Prof. F. T. Quickdraw. His names are the ones I never forget in the middle of a set.
If you've seen the show in the past, please share some of your favorite bits in the comments.

You should come see the show. This year as last, we're playing in a double bill with the Survivors of the Undead Plague, who I've written about before, and are really excellent. Their set this past week, in which the heirs of Wendy's and McDonald's teamed up in a helicopter and then a tank to brave hordes of zombies and rescue their aggressively lesbian half-sister while an eight-year-old grew up really fast as he was forced to take out both of his zombie parents and drive a car, was a thing of beauty. Come see them so we can talk knowingly together about how awesome they were.

Here are the details on the remaining shows:

Creature Feature, featuring the Survivors of the Undead Plague
October 16th, 23rd and 30th at 8PM
Tickets $10 via, call 612-332-6620, or visit the box office at 2605 Hennepin Ave S in Minneapolis

Creature Feature
Directed by Mike Fotis
Lauren Anderson
Fred Beukema
Joe Bozic
Josh Eakright

Eric Knobel
Hannah Kuhlmann
Nels Lennes
Aric McKeown
Michael Ritchie
Jen Scott
Tim Uren

Hope to see you there!

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