Improv On The Fly
A combination of top PIT groups
experiments with live on-location video scenes within their improvised
Members of Neutrino.
People’s Improv Theater-based groups Neutrino and Centralia joined
forces with video makers to present a special two part show at the
theater on September 11. Calling themselves Trailer Park, the performers
first presented videos of movie trailer parodies, and then extended the
video motif into live shots from outside the theater and the sushi
restaurant next door for some of the scenes in their long-form
performance, which were projected onto a screen in the rear of the
The live video was a bold experiment, although didn’t always work
because it made it easier for performers to miss or misplay possible
connections and logic of scenes and characters. Still, have to marvel
that these performers could pull it off to any success at all, often
running back and forth between the stage and outside to start up whole
But the performers did find one compelling and amusing storyline,
largely while on the stage itself, about fish attacking humans, complete
with a musical interlude. Another main storyline, of a family that sees
knowing math as a stigma, meandered a bit, but had its moments, largely
when one player or another played up the math and numbers shtick. The
video also amplified scenes on the stage by projecting close-ups of some
of the players onto the screen behind them, similar to how film editing
cuts between close-ups of actors.
The comedic movie trailers were a bit hit or miss. The highlight was
clearly “8 ½ Mile,” a reworking of the classic Fellini flick to the
music of Eminem – although a parody of Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic rant
using scenes re-cut together from “Signs” looked entertaining until it
was stopped due to a problem with the speed of its soundtrack.
Other “mash-ups” devised didn’t hang together quite so well as “8 ½
Mile,” like one merging animation from “Toy Story” with dialogue from
the R-rated “Requiem For A Dream,” and another titled “Searching for
Jimmy Hoffa” which had more to do with showcasing some of the performers
from Trailer Park.
Overall, both the trailers and the video-assisted improv can certainly
get better if the groups attempt it again -- particularly in the back
and forth between outside and onstage scenes -- as they will certainly
get a better feel for the overall flow between the two.