Monday, December 6, 2010

Kind of a Huge deal

Minneapolis now has its first dedicated long-form improvisation theater. Today will be a day long remembered. Huge Theater was founded in 2005 by five of the Twin Cities' most prolific improvisers as "an artist-led company dedicated to supporting the Twin Cities improv community through performance and education." Since then, they've produced dozens of shows including their own showcase "Huge Wednesdays," annual improvised monster movie "Creature Feature," "Overheard in Minneapolis," based on the website of the same name, and the Twin Cities Improv Festival. Coupled with all of this excellent output was a desire to create a home base for the artform in the city.

For about the past decade, as the improv community here has grown, there have been theatrical institutions that feature improvisation: Stevie Ray's and ComedySportz largely showcase short-form improv games, like you'd find on Who's Line Is It Anyway?, and the Brave New Workshop features improvised scenes and stories, typically as a chaser to their scripted satirical sketch comedy. If you were producing an improv show, you rented space, either from one of these theaters, or the Bryant-Lake Bowl, Intermedia Arts, The Varsity Theater, or something more exotic like a café with a performance space like the Acadia, or some weird café-gift-shop-theater hybrid like the Old Arizona. Huge and the members thereof produced shows at all of these locations in the past. Now, they have a place to call their own: 3037 Lyndale Avenue South (above), in the space formerly occupied by the Lava Lounge. From overpriced clothing to affordable, quality entertainment; definitely a major improvement to the neighborhood.

Huge started their lease at the beginning of September. Following a flurry of renovation, the theater opened its doors last night for its first performance, appropriately the Improv a-Go-Go (4 groups, one dollar, every week — beat that). They've got a full schedule, with seven shows, six days a week, all cheap and all good. So, go check out some shows and share in my congratulations to Nels, Jill and Butch (pictured) on this momentous occasion. I look forward to playing in the space myself. Thankfully, I don't have long to wait, as tonight is Show X, featuring these three, plus up to nine more of the city's best improvisers. We go on at 8, and the show is only five dollars.

That being said, I really want to plug the hell out of the show that happens on Wednesdays (8PM, $5). Fingergun's style, developed over a decade of work, has been described as "controlled chaos." Will we gang up on each other in scenes of reprisal and belittlement? Will there be an orphan boy dreaming of a better life? Will there be scenes about cops? Probably. We hope you'll come find out. Also, get yourself over to Fingergun's Facebook page and Like us. We're currently at 154 followers. If we get to 500 by the end of Christmas Day, we will release another photo like this one:

You're welcome in advance.

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