Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Well Oiled Machine

This week I had my first meeting with our director, David Buckman, and it went great!

We're super lucky to have Dave directing the show as he has a history directing great shows. He directed, trained, managed, and wrote for 2 world renown improvisation companies, including 20+ actors who advanced to major films and television programs including Saturday Night Live, Mad TV. He currently lives in Austin, TX where he has produced and grown the 7-day comedy festival Out Of Bounds by 100% in 2 years. He has showcased 8 stages, 200 acts, 800 performers, and 7,500 attendees, overseeing all creative, business, and technical operations. He teaches at the Coldtowne Theater and performs with the critically-acclaimed troupe, The Frank Mills, selected Frontera Fest - Best of the Fest 2007, winner of the B. Iden Payne Award, Outstanding Improvisational Troupe 2006 & 2008, and winner of the Austin Improv Collective, Best Troupe 2006 & 2008.

Dave and I met over dinner to talk about the challenges of "Off The Reef." We agreed that it is a big endeavor. We are creating a show that has 16 improvisers, including improvisers doing puppeteering, story development, music and lighting... all in the dark under black-lights.  To help us make the show manageable, we are splitting the cast into two groups -- principle performers and puppet techs. We are going to rehearse with each group until they are independently a well oiled machine. Then we are going to bring the groups back together to rehearse the entire show (like the Wonder Twins, or the Power Rangers and their Megazord! -- I'm KIDDING! there are no aliens or robots in this show!! Jeeze.)

We are also building some internal structure into the show to guarantee that each night will be a well crafted, yet new and unique show. But more on that in the days to come!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

First Rehearsal, Check!

We had our first rehearsal tonight and it went really well. We worked on group movement and some black-light puppetry basics.

We are excited for next week and our photo shoot with our favorite photographer, Annie Ray -- -- which we will use to promote the show.

Sidebar -- We will wear all black during our show, but one of the things we learned last time is that some detergents make your clothes look a bit fluorescent in black-light.
Some of the whiteners in detergent work by making your clothing a bit fluorescent. Even though clothing is rinsed after washing, residues on white clothing cause it to glow bluish-white under a black light. Blueing agents and softening agents often contain fluorescent dyes, too. The presence of these molecules sometimes causes white clothing to appear blue in photographs.\
In honor of that, here is a link to OTHER things that fluoresce under black-light. ;-)

Friday, August 3, 2012

"Off The Reef" Cast Announced

The Puppet Improv Project is very lucky to have such a great cast for our upcoming show, Off The Reef. In addition to our five company members, we are joined by the incomparable Amy Smith, Eric Heiberg, and Shana Merlin. Also gracing the stage with us will be Alyse Deller, Jenna Howard, Nancy Lyon, Ellen Pittsford, Jessica Salinas, and Gino Sandoval as our puppet techs.

 A seemingly insignificant problem escalates into one of epic proportions and sends our hero off on the adventure of a lifetime. "Off The Reef" is an improvised, black-light puppet spectacular that literally glows with an ocean full of colorful characters.

Dave Buckman

Sara Farr
Topping Haggerty
Eric Heiberg
Amy McKenna Smith
Shana Merlin
Patrick Knisley
Jesse Overright
Chadwick Smith

Alyse Deller
Jenna Howard
Nancy Lyon
Ellen Pittsford
Jessica Salinas
Gino Sandoval

Thank you to all who showed an interest in helping out with the show. If you still want to get involved with the PIP, remember we have some UT Informal classes coming up this fall. Check out our Workshops page for more info.