Selling the Drama
Self-proclaimed 'improvisers of
tragedy,' Harsh, have added a lighter comedic touch to their work.
from left: Mikal Reich, Eileen Malone, Kassi Dougherty, Evan
Morgenstern, John Montague, Betsy Stover, Lauren Hunter and Michael
Harsh, the improvised tragedy group, has made a wise move away from
strictly dramatic improvisations, toward performances that still have
tragic aspects but largely aim toward comedic improv, judging by the
first show of several Mondays they are booked at the People’s Improv
Theater over the next two months.
Mikal Reich and John Montague exemplified this balance from the very
beginning of the show as a duo watching a burglary take place across the
street from their house, and Reich reacts with an anxious freak-out as
Montague urges him to do something. Then Montague is injured shaving,
and Reich’s anxiety keeps him from doing anything at all.
Betsy Stover got it as well as a crazed hostile mother to Lauren Hunter
as her daughter, moving them again after losing a fifth job in just as
many towns in one year. Hunter’s sad refrain “I just started making
friends here” dryly sets the scene.
And Michael Marinoff with Kassi Dougherty were excellent counterparts as
a spacey yet authoritative son and a worried mom trying to find a file
for her job without which she would be fired. Marinoff stays oblivious
to the idea that college is something she pays for and has to work for.
Technically, Harsh overuses a device in which scenes begin
simultaneously with the endings of previous scenes, which can make it
hard to follow either one, but they also do this less now than they used
to. However, for the finale of this performance, it worked at putting
three different storylines together side by side after they were already
presented in detail.