Yes, And?

30 Apr 2013, Posted by admin in Packages,Two Bank, No Comments. Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Yes, And?


That’s the go-with-the-flow mantra of Highly Improvable, an improv group bursting onto the Cincinnati comedy scene.

Story, photos and video by Michelle Brandstetter

There is no sound quite like 100 people laughing in unison. It’s loud, and sudden, and it carries with it a burst of energy far greater than that of the sound waves passing through the air.

This energy, this sound, is exactly what could be found at Highly Improvable’s show at the Lebanon Theater Company in late March.

Highly Improvable’s performance was not their first ­– they’ve had a few smaller shows ­– but it was, in troupe member Matt Rolfe’s mind, their big debut because of the size of the audience.

Highly Improvable

Members talk backstage before the show in late March.

“We had had other shows before,” Rolfe said, “but I don’t think we really had the word out until this most recent show.”

The show impressed Emily Blatz, who was in the audience. “It was really entertaining,” she said. “The group really worked well together.”

Building chemistry is a huge part of improv comedy, said David Rhodenbaugh, one of the troupe members.

“When you rehearse improv, you aren’t building jokes,” Rhodenbaugh said. “You’re building reflexes, you’re building intuition, you’re building a sense of timing and a sense of comfort with your other players.”

That level of comfort is vital for taking a suggestion and turning it into a story. Confidence in players’ ability to react is incredibly important, Rolfe said.

“One of the main rules of improv is to accept and build,” Rolfe said. “If you say there’s a giant space meteor coming to destroy earth, and the other person says no, then they’ve ruined it. If you deny what anyone else says in the scene, you kill the scene.”

This rule is reflected in Highly Improvable’s mantra, “yes, and?” which troupe members say at the beginning of each scene.

“The ‘yes, and?’ thing,” Rolfe said, “is like, ‘Yes, there is a giant meteor, and look, Bruce Willis is standing on it!

“Improv teaches you about the flow of comedy. You don’t really know what the heck you’re doing, but you’re trusting in the other person to go with it,” Rolfe said.

Highly Improvable

A pre-show warmup helps build a sense of comfort.

Their show in late March went so well that the Lebanon Theater Company invited them back to perform again.

“I think our next show will be in the next two to three months,” Rolfe said. “And if our numbers keep growing like they have been, hopefully we’ll be able to have even more varied shows with different directors and themes.”

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