IT'S been said that people go to performances to see other people be brave.
That couldn’t be more true for the art of improv.
For (it), Savannah Stage Company’s growing troupe of quick-witted comedians and actors, vulnerability and confidence are the keys to innovation, creativity, and the future of SSC. Taking suggestions from the audiences and unfolding them into side-splitting scenarios, the bunch offers fast-paced fun for the 18+ crowd at their performance at Indigo Sky Gallery.
Oh! There’s free beer, too.
While touring theatrical productions are SSC’s bread and butter, the organization’s founding members are always looking for new ways to offer Savannah diversity in the performing arts.
“In terms of growth, we asked, ‘what is the bravest thing we can do?’ Well, not have any scripts,” shares founding member and Artistic Director Jayme Tinti.
“How can we make that as imaginative as possible? Okay, we’re going to do improv!”
And thus, the community and education-driven collective got into the world of interactive comedy; Tinti is proud to say this year is their strongest yet.
“We’re playing to the top of our intelligence,” she says. “We’re not ‘living in the potty’—we say that all the time, ‘get out of the potty!’”
The style of (it) runs on creativity and imagination—don’t expect streams of puns or up-to-the-minute political jokes. Instead, marvel in the quick-stepping chops of a bunch of locals who dare to dream.
(it)’s current lineup includes Tinti, Sarah Alice Michael, Wesley Pridgen, Chris Davison, Dylan Elizabeth Good, Amelia Lux, Ian Maule, the newest member, and David McCall, who provides musical accompaniment.
The troupe’s performance at Indigo Sky will be a great introduction to improv for folks who have never experienced it and an A-game performance for longtime fans of the art form.
“It’s all prompts from the audience,” Tinti explains. “We do a lot of short form, a lot of games...things people would see on Whose Line is it Anyway? Then we take an intermission, come back, and do a long form, which starts from one suggestion, and we expand on that for about thirty minutes.”
In (it), as well as all things SSC, the troupe strives to reach people who may not have access to theatre and the performing arts. In addition to evenings like the Indigo Sky show, you can find (it) in wonderfully unexpected places, like Chuck’s Bar. With Chuck’s being a hot-spot for both stand-up comedy and karaoke, Tinti says hosting a show in the beloved River Street dive just works.
“It’s in our mission and it’s in our values: we’re thinking about ways to take theatre out of the theatre and get non-theatre goers involved in what we’re doing,” she explains. “So we can go to Chuck’s Bar at ten o’clock at night and serve people who are not going to come to a traditional play.”
Plus, for the ever-learning troupe, a change of environment is a welcome challenge.
“We’ve all had some training here and there,” says Tinti.
Improv was a big part of her conservatory studies, but for spur-of-the-moment action, it’s all trial, error, and lots of rehearsal time.
“We approach everything from a learning standpoint, so it’s very educational,” she explains. “We’re all learning how to do this and figure it out.”
Above all, (it) values honesty in performance, and Tinti says that kind of truth shines particularly brightly in this round-up of performers.
“I think of all these people as actors,” Tinti says. “And I know there are one or two stand-up comedians in there who wouldn’t necessarily think of themselves as actors, but they are an actor. We ask for honesty in acting, in the same way we’d ask for it in a play rehearsal. I wouldn’t want someone to get up there ‘schmacting’ or being untrue.”
“No one’s going to want to engage with someone whose onstage not being truthful,” she observes. “So if we’re in an igloo, don’t be fake. Be in an igloo! We will be engaged because you’re in an igloo. And whatever happens, happens.”