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Palm Coast Monday, Aug. 12, 2019 7 months ago

Flagler Playhouse invites community to improv night

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Half of the tickets for the Aug. 17 event are already sold, and the Playhouse is expecting a full house.
by: Joey Pellegrino Staff Writer

A night of improv is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Flagler Playhouse, with optional participation for an audience of 16 and older. Those who want to participate should move quickly, though, because half of the $5 tickets have already been sold.

Milt Harris, vice president of the Playhouse, could not be happier. At this rate, he said, the Playhouse may have to move the event to the main stage. He and his wife Teresa, who will host the event, have wanted to put on an improv night ever since they came to Bunnell.

Playhouse President Monica Clark agreed that it was an invaluable opportunity.

“We need more of this kind of thing,” Clark said.

Everyone involved hopes it will bring in more of the community, young people in particular.

The Flagler Playhouse still has a name recognition problem, according to Clark. “People don’t know we’re here,” she said.

Audience members will be able to volunteer for the fun and games and submit sketch ideas upon admission to the lounge (which Harris calls “the cabaret”), where the improv will take place.

The Playhouse staff is confident that the night’s infectious spirit will sweep away the shyness of nearly anyone in attendance.

“By the end of the night,” said Harris, recalling past events in other states, “you’ve got pretty much everyone participating.”

The event will incorporate games of the kind seen on game shows like "Whose Line Is It, Anyway?" — Sound Effects, Questions Only, Scenes from a Hat, and so on.

Teresa’s years of teaching improv to actors, Harris said, have taught her how to read a room, making her an ideal host.

Attendees may learn something, too.

“Improv teaches you to listen,” Harris said, onstage and off.

 For that reason, Clark and Harris hope many of the community’s actors will show up to hone their skills. Yet more important, they said, was the chance to welcome a new batch of potential thespians into a world they may not have dreamed of entering — possibly even talented individuals who could form a regular improv troupe.

“There’ll be people in the audience that have never been onstage,” Harris said, “but they might have a secret passion. This eases them into it.”

Clark and Harris, veterans of community and regional theatre, think newcomers will enjoy themselves even if the lines in their heads don’t work out as they had planned.

“It’s off-the-cuff,” Clark said, “it’s spontaneous. It’s a community get-together.”

Every actor knows, Harris said, “The shows you remember are the ones that go sideways.”

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