Theoretically, it doesn’t seem that difficult to produce an improv comedy show outdoors. Theoretically, and especially during the whole pandemic situation, an improv comedy show outdoors seems like a great idea.
Theoretically, space travel is not that difficult either. And space travel is also a great idea. It’s the pesky, unpredictable details that pop up unexpectedly that make something theoretically great into something that is actually really weird and complicated.
We started putting the practical pieces together for outdoor shows all the way back in August. The first problem to tackle was the issue of sound. Our actors are all trained to project and so normally we don’t use any mics. Normally, there are walls between us and the light rail though, and outdoors there would only be wind between our ribald humor and the train itself. Adding the safety of face masks to the mix, it was clear that we would need our performers to wear microphones. And not just any microphones would do! The mics we need would have to be portable, wireless, hands free and, most of all, affordable. Picture a Janet Jackson or a Brittney Spears head mic situation… but like 140 steps down in fanciness and overall quality. I dusted off my very best bargain hunting skills to find us a wireless microphone system that would work for our needs.
“Yay! Shows are ON! It’s going to HAPPEN!” We thought to ourselves in September. “Think of the fun we will have! Halloween shows in the lovely weather! Nothing can go wrong,” we thought! …and we jinxed it.
The portable mic system was unusable due to wavelength interference or something like that. Our techs couldn’t find channels that would work and so the October shows were delayed. I guess that’s what you get when you set your sights so much lower than Janet and Brittney.
Luckily for us, we were directed to a very very awesome audio tech named Kurt who helped us to identify the tech problem and solve it!
“Yay! It’s SO GREAT to have a network of helpful and amazing friends and partners who can help us find the right people to solve our problems,” we thought. “Yay! SHows will be back on again any day now!” It was already November. “Take that, Janet and Brittney,” we thought. …and we jinxed it.
Construction things came up that pushed us back again and some family health trouble, unfortunately, pushed us back even further. However, by the end of December- it looked like we would be ready to rock and roll! “New Year’s shows will be amazing! Yay,” we thought …and we jinxed it.
Early on Christmas Eve we discovered that our trailer of supplies had been burgled, and most of our equipment had been stolen. If we are being honest, at this point I was leaning into the idea that perhaps the universe simply did NOT want any outdoor improv comedy shows to happen. IT was a major emotional crossroads. But just then, as in all things, I thought to myself- what would Janet and Brittney do? Would THEY give up? No! And we don’t give up either, do we? Heck no! Not after the first minor disaster, and not after the fifth minor disaster either!
Steve Nielsen of Fox 10 News did a lovely story on our struggle to put on a show and lo and behold, folks jumped up to lend their hands. A wonderful gentleman donated amazing soundboard equipment and our friends in the community helped us to raise more than enough money to replace the equipment we had lost and get the show back on the road again!
Finally, Outdoor Improv Comedy SHows launched in March in the super cool SLiver Lot on Main Street. I really can’t tell you enough how wonderful, life affirming and precious it is to hear real live people real life laughing. It truly fills your soul up with delight. I mean, really… it’s amazing what joy and love you can whip up in an empty lot between two buildings.
It was a long, crazy road to get here and we sure didn’t get to do nearly as many outdoor improv comedy shows as we would have liked to do. The last two shows coming up on April 24tha nd May 1st are practically guaranteed to be exploding with Janet/Britteny energy.
After that, we are excited for what is coming in the very near future! We simply can not wait to see you and laugh with you again very, very soon… theoretically.