If you’ve ever found yourself fixated on some absurdly detailed and equally useless bit of information – like the decomposition cycle of a whale, the Bristol Scale, the Catholic Church’s categories of demonic possession, or the political platforms of republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum – then you’ve already got something in common with the stellar cast of Search Engine. With shared roots and experience dating back as far as The Deconstruction and 4 Track, they’re guaranteed to provide you with one of the most invigorating, entertaining and downright fun hours of your weekend – specifically at 8:30pm on Friday, January 13.
Starting with a suggestion from the audience of anything you wish you knew more about – perhaps Lepufology – Search Engine will go to work sharing what they know. Meanwhile, the Search Engine Research Assistant in the booth – that’s right, they’ve got a Research Assistant! – will be searching the web for a relevant YouTube video. The discussion and the video will inspire a series of scenes, occasionally punctuated by pertinent wikipedia entries, related trivia, more videos, or other information discovered by the Research Assistant throughout.
Search Engine has assured me that each member of the cast is either chock full of trivial but true information about the world, or naturally able to be confidently and completely wrong in their assumptions. Chances are good that you’ll leave knowing at least as much as you did when you arrived, with laugh-induced soreness in your abdominal region.
Search Engine debuts at The Magnet Theater on Friday, January 13 at 8:30pm. Reservations are highly recommended.
Elana Fishbein & Shaun Farrugia
Elana and Shaun are hilarious, talented improvisers who bring a ton of experience to their Megawatt shows. Elana has been on a team for five years now, and Shaun just got cast. Jolene Turner interviewed both of them about favorite moments, comedy role models, and some veteran advice. Enjoy….
Tara Copeland originally formed Choral Rage back in July ’09, one of the first musical house teams at the Magnet along with Miracle Baby. After a brief hibernation, they perfected the art of the fully improvised rock opera, and more recently began honing the nuances of the musical monoscene.
Choral Rage’s personnel is comprised of a stellar cast of musical improv veterans: Angela DeManti (Weird Sisters/Phooka), Henry Kaiser (Face), Justin Moran (Featherweight/Nightfall on Miranga Island), Ryan Nelson (Nightfall on Miranga Island), Robin Rothman (Rosencrantz/Nightfall on Miranga Island), Jon Roufaeal (Nightfall on Miranga Island) & Jen Sanders (Mint Condition/Made Up Musical).
What form will they unveil this weekend, when they return to the Magnet stage for the beginning of their second weekend run? What mellifluous harmonies will grace our ears, what hip thrusts and possible stage-humps? Be there at 9pm on Friday to find out.
Tomorrow night at the Magnet is the 5th anniversary of some very special fellows and ladies. Hello Laser, The Boss, and Junior Varsity, The Magnet’s most veteran house teams, all turn five years old.
Five years is a long time to be an improv team, and you can see that experience borne out every Thursday in the playfulness, patience, trust and skill that these teams exhibit every time they hit the stage.
Come on out tomorrow night and laugh until your silly once again. Vets Phooka will open up the night at 8pm, followed by Laser, Boss and JV. At 10pm, there’s a big mix-em up with all the teams as players swap sides for a set or two. Join everyone at local watering hole Mustang Sally’s after the show for the official after party.
Whew. We can’t wait. It’s been a crazy ride. To celebrate their achievement in longevity, we at the Mblog thought it’d be fun to take a look back at some old photos of these teams so you can see what they were like through the years…
It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here! Giddy all day and full of glee like a kid who has spotted an array of presents under the tree left by Santa – this was the excitement I felt last Saturday for the first ever Ladies’ Night at The Magnet Theater! An evening dedicated to showcasing the improv and sketch comedy talents of women from around the city.
The energy from the performers and audience was palpable, the seats were sold out, and as one of the many performers who watched shows from the side, I was craning my neck to see everything I possibly could onstage.
Those who couldn’t get a seat or view from the side, had their own jolly good time in the lobby drinking homemade wine spritzer and vegan cupcakes – baked by Megan Gray and sold to raise money for Gilda’s Club, a cancer support community created after Gilda Radner, who is many women’s comedic hero.
That night I watched female improvisers take the stage who normally don’t have an opportunity to perform together. Out of these unlikely groupings, some of my favorite improv scenes happened. Seriously, if a version of AFI’s Top 100 Improv Scenes existed, several of them would have to be knocked off the list to make room for the performances from last Saturday night! These ladies urged me to stand up, cheer, and clap thunderously alongside Maggie Morris and others. (Her clap rivals Binu Paulose’s laughter on the decibel scale.) There was a perfect balance to the evening with some new lady improv groups, some lady groups that have been around the block, mix em ups with female improvisers who have never played together, sketch, a tease of burlesque and a lady mixer at the end allowing women who hadn’t played at all that evening to play with people from the prior shows.
One of the greatest feelings in the world is laughter. Even better is when it’s your friends making you laugh. Even better than that is when your onstage performing with friends and fellow improvisers and laughing so hard you forget that you’re onstage and supposed to be performing!
The best thing about Ladies’ Night was not only seeing all the female talent out there, but also that it was filled with bold, hilarious, kickass improv…all of which happened to be from females. It wasn’t just funny female comedy; it was a night of badass improv highlighted by the fact that it surged from a spring of female talent!
I’m just grateful I was one of the many who was asked to grace the stage that night, and honored to share the lineup with the likes of Megan Gray, Kelly Buttermore, Christina Gauses, and Shannon O’ Neil (four women I have adored and watched for years as they continuously blow my mind with their no holds barred improv). I, and all the other women that evening, were truly delighted to play with such funny people…all who happened to be women. Yes, Chrismukahkwanza came early this year and hopefully it comes again more frequently in 2012! A sentiment felt by not just the ladies, but also by the fellas. Hubba, hubba.
a published book of essays featuring a story of mine that I wrote is available for purchase here! http://www.amazon.com/What-Brought-Back-Birthright-Taglit-Birthright/dp/1592642896/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1
The Circuit: Round 5! Apply for Student Harold Teams!
The next round of The Circuit begins in January! The Circuit features Harold teams made-up of both current Magnet students and veteran Magnet performers. Anyone who has completed Magnet Level 3 or higher (and is not currently on a Megawatt team or in Team Performance Workshop) can apply. Performers will be chosen randomly by lottery. Teams will rehearse weekly with an assigned coach and have a 3 month run of shows on Friday nights at the Magnet Studio Theater.
Apply now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline to apply is December 23rd.
Lauren Olson & George Fernandez
The Megawatt Performer Profile Series is a quick way to get to know some of the excellent improvisers that make up Megawatt, Magnet’s house team system.
Lauren Olson has been on a Megawatt team since 2007, and George Fernandez is brand new. Both are funny, great to watch, and wonderfully nice people who are always ready to play onstage and off.
Each sat down with fellow Magnet performer Jolene Turner to answer a few questions about what they get out of Megawatt, what they put into it, and what makes them laugh. CLICK TO READ MORE…
As you can see, Magnet has a new website. Hoooray!!!
Here’s a quick message from Ed Herbstman:
Wow. Welcome to the new site. Took a little while, huh? We were pretty ambitious with this overhaul that it took a long time. I’ll admit, there were moments when it seemed like it wouldn’t happen. Like when we had to stop work to prepare for Y2K. Or when we took a break to watch the moon landing on television. And who could forget Appomattox?
Well, now the new site is here and we hope you really like it and find it useful and clear.
I want to personally and loudly thank Sean Taylor for his incredible job making this new site come alive. Please tell him what a great job he did next time you see him.
There are a few other people who helped out along the way, and I also want to thank them. Frank Bonomo, Christian Capozzoli, TJ Mannix, Armando Diaz, Alex Marino, Marcy Jarreau, Mark Grenier, Elizabeth Findlay and James Eason.
The site was designed by Graham Slick.
You’ll see there are a lot of blog entries. And starting now you can make comments on posts. So feel free to comment.
And please comment on this post to let us know what you think of the new site.
We’ll be testing the settings on the blog in the coming days, so it may be possible that your comment does not show up right away. This is just part of testing and will be fully operational soon.
That said, if you find something broken or missing, or have a suggestion for something that might improve the site, please let us know. You can report bugs on the Contact Us page, and in the drop down you’ll see ‘report a bug’. Or email email@example.com directly.
The Magnet Training Center is a pretty special space. We moved in while it was still the home of Mike Nichols acting school, The New Actors Workshop, which he founded with Paul Sills (the son of Viola Spolin) and George Morrison.
And we got to spend about six months occupying the same space.
The improv roots run deep in these rooms. For over 20 years, New Actors taught acting, improvisation, voice and movement as an integrated system. Original games from Improvisation for the Theater were interwoven with acting systems developed by Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner, and others. Nichols, Morrison and Sills saw improvisation as a necessary component in actor training and essential to the development of their craft. CLICK TO READ MORE…
Test Drive features brand new scripted works never before seen on the Magnet stage, from sketch and one-person shows to short films, stand-up and more. These shows are so new they still have that new comedy smell.
Test Drive is open to all. To submit a scripted show, click here.
To submit new pieces of improvisation, see The Rundown.