Davenger alum Brian Rumble is directing an improvised show featuring Adam Siry, Andrew Coppola, Bobby Lang, Corin Wells, Fred Brown, Jessica Ross, Joel Sumner, Kate Banford, and Whitney Harris.
The concept of Note To Self revolves around the characters’ inner monologues, delivered in real-time from improvisers right off-stage. Rumble discusses his vision for the show, which ends up being as poignant as often as it is funny.
WitOut: What types of moments do you hope Note To Self will explore that aren’t funny but simply profound/cathartic? How do you hope to package these moments in a way that suits the context of comedy theater?
Brian Rumble: It’s tough to say. For me, I’d be thrilled if the Note to Self world closes in a far different place than it opened. One of the key elements to this show is the fact that, in a persistent world, every choice has consequences. I want to see these characters struggle with these choices and come out changed on the other side. And these don’t have to be monumental changes. Just human ones, ones that build and maybe even fester over ten shows.
The comedy part of this show has been the least of my concerns because I think the concept is inherently funny and the cast are some of the funniest and smartest people I’ve ever met. The voyeurism in the show gives us a lot of tools to play with and even in the more profound or challenging scenes there’s the comic relief of the internal monologue. Hearing what someone wishes he could say against what they should or have to say is pretty great, even in some of the tougher moments.
WitOut: In an improvised show of this kind, lasting several nights, is there any concern about finding themes or beats and gravitating back towards them over the course of the run? Is the show entirely improvised?
Rumble: Events on the stage are entirely improvised. Each show starts with a “note to self” written by the audience to which the cast is not privy and the show builds from there. However, we do have a lot of structure created from this persistent world. So we have guidance on how characters will react to certain situations and how they’e expected to behave in different facets of their lives (work versus home, for example).
Finding the best themes is really just a matter of finding the most important ones. What do these characters care about most? Or, better yet, what do they want the most? Those themes will be so prevalent throughout the run of shows because we will hear the characters obsessing over them, even if they’re not able to act on them. The fun thing, of course, is that the entire cast can hear these wants and needs, too, and they can make achieving them as difficult as possible.
WitOut: Which of these performers are you particularly excited about directing, and why?
Rumble: I am so thrilled to be working with this entire group. Most of them are performers with whom I’d never worked before and I think all of them are among the best improvisers in the city. They’re a special group who came together instantly during auditions and they’ve not only brought this concept to life but they’ve been vital to helping me figure out all the moving pieces of what is, to be honest, a very challenging project. They’re the best co-directors I could have asked for and their enthusiasm for this whole thing has made the process so much easier.
For more on Note To Self, visit Figment Theater. Note To Self runs Thursday through Saturday @ 8:00pm and Sunday @ 3:00pm. Figment Theater is located at the Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine St.
David Mogolov’s one-man-show Eating My Garbage premiered at the 2014 FRIGID New York festival and comes this Wednesday to the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art.
A cultural satire about modern America, Eating My Garbage brings one-man’s existential quest to validate contemporary living. Garbage is directed by PHIT instructor Steve Kleinedler, who has worked extensively with Mogolov in the past:
“This is the fifth solo show I’ve worked on with David. I also directed him and another playwright in a 2-person show that was mostly interweaving monologues. I was the director and he was the head writer for the Ruckus, a house sketch team at ImprovBoston. We worked on 12 shows together. They all stand out in their own way; however, one that really stands out is when the Ruckus wrote the 8th Annual ImprovBoston Christmas Extravaganza — it was a very cohesive, slick, fun show that played to packed audiences when it wasn’t being cancelled by blizzards.”
We asked the Boston-based Mogolov–a 35 year old web design consultant and copywriter–if his show and its worldview are essentially pessimistic…
“The whole show really does revolve around a question of worldview, and my own struggle to maintain positivity in the face of a default pessimism. I very much like to paint things at their most dire and hopeless, but I don’t think any audience has left yet thinking it’s anything other than a very hopeful show. Against my better judgement, I am, ultimately, probably an optimist.”
Eating My Garbage runs Wednesday night at 8:00pm. Doors are 7:30. $5.00. PhilaMOCA is located at 531 N. 12th Street, a block north of Spring Garden. For more information, visit mogolov.com.
Tonight, Figment Theater takes roots with the debut of Sessions at Studio C, from their new space at the Asian Arts Initiative in (ahem) studio C, located on 1219 Vine Street between 12th and 13th.
Executive director Matt Nelson had a few words about the transition from vagabond to improv establishment.
“We’re overwhelmed by the support we’ve received over the past year. Our goal has been to create a permanent space to nurture and showcase artistic talent, with a foundation of risk, innovation and collaboration. Tonight marks a modest but big step forward in bringing that idea to fruition.”
Sessions at Studio C opens tonight with The Chain w/ Becca Trabin & Guests, and Night of 10 Minute Shows w/ Maggy Keegan and Caitlin Weigel. Maggy and Caitlin talk more about Night of 10 Minute Shows in this interview on Figment Theater’s website.–“We’re doing 5 different ten minute shows, each with an absurdly specific and bizarre premise. I’m a sucker for theme parties and that’s what these feel like to me – the improv version of ten minute theme parties.” Also appearing on the show will be Corin Wells, Dan Corkery, Dave Piccinetti, Derrick Hackett, and Frank Farrell.
In some local comedy news, there’s been a bit of backlash on social media against the organizers of The Cape May Comedy Festival.
Andrew Alexander–editor of It’s Always Funny in Philadelphia–found a participant from the festival to write an exposé on the proceedings. The resulting article is fascinating look at the shit show that comedians put themselves through, pretty much all the time.
At the end of the day, it’s hard to sympathize with the masochistic lifestyle choice of the standup comedian, which puts oneself through a dignity juicer semi-nightly for the belief that their voice and point of view are important. (Or, simply for funsies.) Still, when you see a “talented” comedian coming out the other end, you should admire their tolerance for the sausage grinder which takes experiences like this one and learns how to process it into laughs, in pretty much any setting.
Tim Butterly opens the show with a great standup set, including a bit about how deals with annoying sports-related small-talk at work.
Members of Dog Mountain show how there can be many different forms of “That Guy” at a party.
A doctor restores a woman’s hearing with a cochlear implant, only for her to find that her husband’s voice and taste in music are insufferable.
A public service announcement: man reads his brother’s very unlikely last text message before dying in a very unlikely car accident.
[Show Stealer!] Sometimes a “bad cop” can lose half his body function in a stroke and end up being even scarier.
Liberal-minded man lambastes neighbor for his unconscionably bad-for-society day-jobs.
Grieving parents are easily distracted by pop-culture recollections. “Who was the guy from that sitcom….”
Dog Mountain performs again tonight at PHIT, 9:00pm.
There are some rare extra comedy treats happening this weekend. In addition to many of the regular shows you can find on our calendar, here are a handful of must-see performances.
Jim Jeffries@ The Keswick Theater. 8:00pm
If you haven’t seen his comedy, give yourself a quick sample on YouTube. He’s like an Austrailian Doug Stanhope. He may some day go down as one of the greats.
Hang On With Aaron Nevins@ The Adrienne Playground. 8:00pm.
Outstanding panel comedy featuring very funny Philly comedians. Tonight’s guests are the creators of High Maintenance–named Best Web Series by USA Today and The Guardian–and Ethan T. Berlin the creator of IFC’s Bunk (who’s also been a writer on Superjail and Da Ali G Show).
Davenger’s Final Show@ PHIT. 9:00pm.
The former WitOut Award Winner for best new act features many of Philadelphia’s best young improv talent. They’re likely to sell out, so get your tickets online.
Ted Alexandro@ Helium. 7:30pm & 10:00pm.
Very funny Letterman regular. Catch him here at a small club before he starts doing theaters.
Sam Scavuzzo’s monthly improv showcase ran Tuesday night in Manayunk. Parking was actually not atrocious despite large deposits of snow on the ground, and it being Manayunk. Laughs were had. PBR’s were $3 bucks. You should come to the next one.
Members of Cake Bear hunt a tiger that has learned to pick up their weapon!
Members of 4AM in Thailand participated in the Olympic event for unqualified suburban bobsledders.
Dave Terruso kills it with bits about his girlfriend leaving hair-merkins on the shower wall and falling asleep while “driving stick shift”.
Members of Bed Savage convene the Kitty Council.
Members of The Corpse of Dan Rodden are paranoid that a high-school softball star is really an android.
Are you running a comedy show in Philly? Send us photos so you don’t have to get captured on my iPhone 4!
This past Saturday night at the Adrienne Theater, audiences enjoyed a great show-down between Philadelphia Fighting Amish and rival NJ Turnpikes.
In case anyone hasn’t checked out one of Philadelphia’s longest running shows, ComedySportz follows a similar format to that of the television show Whose Line Is It Anyway? The hour and half long show consists of various short-form improvisation games. Topics are based on audience suggestions and or instructions from the referee. After all these years, their color-coordinated jerseys, tennis shoes and team spirit still excite audiences.
Prepared to sing, dance and act, ComedySportz’s athletic form reminds us all that comedians are versatile athletes in their own right.
“The games were challenging, fun and clever, which made the show really funny,” stated a thoroughly pleased audience member. Games included “Story,” “Forward/Reverse,” and “What Are You Doing?” During the game “Story,” the entire team lines up on stage and either the audience or referee will suggest the concept of the story. Players have to make up the story as they go and have to stop talking as soon as the referee cuts them off.
Philadelphia ComedySportz runs classes on improv and corporate trainings on team building. In addition, they also do birthday parties and perform at corporate events. They also perform a kid’s show at 11:00a.m. on the last Saturday of every month.
** You can catch ComedySportz tonight at The Playground at Adrienne Theater (2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia 19103) from 7:30p.m. to 9:30p.m. ($17/$14 for Students/Seniors/Military)
Dan Vetrano warms up the crowd, getting big laughs for being a fan of “old” Miley Cyrus.
Dave Metter and Allison Allison (Jacquie Baker) host YNP.
Consumer critic Barb Bootsnider (Katlin Thompson) gives bad products The Boot!
But the critical lifestyle has caught up with her, and she decides to give herself the boot [not pictured because of photographer laughing too hard.]
Alexa & Darren (Martha Cooney and Chris Calletta) give a point/counterpoint debate on whether or not to give John Mayer a try.
Production assistant Colin Armstrong (Dan Corkery) suffers an existential crises as his chewing gum fails to stay in its package.
Joe Moore (far left) and Roger Snair (far right) with a panel of improvisers (from left to right: Steve Swan, Alex Newman, Aubrie Williams and Kaitlin Thompson) tribute the winter games by reading actual advice from Ask.com in Russian accents.
Roger closes the show with his important hip-hop message.
Paul Triggiani (left) and Rob Baniewicz (right) kick off the first TV Party in the theater space.
A theater full of comedians ‘celebrates’ the hilariously bad post-apocalyptic TV experiment from 1992 called Whoops.
We also toasted this failed attempt at a sitcom version of Ferris Bueler’s Day Off from 1990: