Odyssey Theatre Ensemble (Ron Sossi, Artistic Director) and Impro Theatre (Dan O'Connor, Artistic Director) announce a limited engagement of two productions in repertory as part of the Odyssey's 2012 subscription season. The West Los Angeles premieres of CHEKHOV UNSCRIPTED and TWILIGHT ZONE UNSCRIPTED begin tonight, September 15, 2012 and will perform through November 4, 2012.
A brand new play created at each performance! Under the direction of Artistic Director Dan O'Connor, the improvisational theatre company, Impro Theatre, bring their particular brand of comic genius to the world of the one and only Anton Chekhov with CHEKHOV UNSCRIPTED. The beautiful, damaged, poetic, joyous, petty, coarse and yearning characters of Chekhov's plays serve as inspiration, along with audience suggestions, to help the Impro Theatre ensemble instantly create an all-new, never-before-seen Chekhovian play right before your eyes.
"Improvising Chekhov is literally the most fun I have ever had onstage," O'Connor says. "His writing is so truthful and real. The more I read about Chekhov, the more he feels incredibly relevant today. Theatre critics at the time described audiences as looking borderline giddy because they were so amazed to see characters in Chekhov's plays behaving in the same silly, stupid way that real people do. I imagine it was like watching reality TV for the first time."
Directed by Impro Theatre Company members Jo McGinley and Stephen Kearin, the venerable troupe also presents TWILIGHT ZONE UNSCRIPTED. The audience will enter another dimension each night as the cast hurl themselves into the fantastical world of the unknown and the unexplored, by improvising all-new "Twilight Zone"-Inspired episodes based on audience suggestions at each performance.
"To truly enter the world of "The Twilight Zone" meant we had to come to know the life of its creator. The more we studied Serling's motivations, the deeper our respect grew for his writing and his vision," McGinley says.
"We wish we could travel back in time and be a part of that original series," McGinley adds. "Fans that come to Impro's Twilight Zone Unscripted will see a group of actors completely devoted to the themes and style of the original show, yet open to the portal that surprises us and takes us into the Twilight Zone."
"Great writing creates a tremendous foundation for what Impro does," she continues. "Both Serling and Chekhov wrote with a strong point-of-view, with a social conscience and compassion for their fellow man. I think they would be fascinated and inspired by our creative and collaborative process."
The multi-talented ensemble has appeared in an impressive range of acclaimed film, television, and Theatre Projects, including "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Parks & Recreation," "Community," "Family Guy," Thanks, Megamind, "Arrested Development," Miss March, "Wilfred," "Reno 911," "MadTV," Madagascar 2 and 3, "Seinfeld," Balls of Fury, "Big Love," Fellowship! A Musical Parody of Lord of the Rings, and A Mighty Wind.
The ensemble includes Lisa Fredrickson, Kelly Holden-Bashar, Lisette Jean-Marie, Brian Jones, Stephen Kearin, Amy Kidd, Lauren Rose Lewis, Brian Lohmann, Rebecca Lowman, Nick Massouh, Michael Manuel, Jo McGinley, Dan O'Connor, Edi Patterson, Paul Rogan, Ryan Smith, Michelle Spears, Floyd Van Buskirk, and Patty Wortham.
Impro Theatre is an improvisational theatre company that improvises, or "makes up" plays in the moment, as they're happening. Their productions are rooted in the great classics of literature and theatre, and they use these as a springboard for their unique improvised twists with a 21st century appeal. They exhaustively study and research the works of the playwright or author they are performing, then learn what the character archetypes and rules of the world are. They rehearse, discuss, share info, rehearse some more, and then seemingly magically perform all-new, never-before-seen, (and never-before-even-thought-of) plays that feel as if they could have been written by the authors themselves. They have no idea what characters they will play or what the story will be on any given night. At the beginning of a show, the cast knows as much as the audience knows about the show--absolutely nothing. Therein lies the excitement audiences feel when they attend an Impro Theatre show. The audience and cast are getting on a roller coaster at the same time, and there's no telling the twists and turns it will take.