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Magnet Theater Blog: News and Ideas about Comedy, Improv Shows & Classes in NYC

Posts Tagged ‘thursday night out’

Monday March 31, 2014, 8:21pm - by Magnet Theater

magnet co-owners survey the new space
Magnet Theater is excited to announce that it will be moving to a new location this coming fall.

In November, the Magnet will take over the Foxwoods Theater, most recently the home of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

Armando Diaz, co-owner of Magnet, spoke on the need for a new space, saying ”The Magnet community has been growing at an exponential rate, so we’re looking to plan not just for the immediate future, but also for what’s beyond the horizon, like in a couple hundred years.  If you filled up our current space to capacity, it’d only take up the first row at the Foxwoods.  So, the house might feel small in the beginning, but as the word gets out that there’s plenty of room, I’m confident that we’ll sell out all 1,932 seats, especially to non-English speaking tourists.”

Alex Marino, another of the Magnet’s owners added:

“One of the great things about moving into the Foxwoods Theater is we’ll have our office space, training center, and main stage and my apartment all in one central location.  So often our new students would get lost when directed from the theater to the Training Center for student shows, and then to my apartment for banjo jam sessions. Now it’ll all take place in one space – a space with a lot of  good energy because of all the great things that happened during the run of Spider Man.”

Of course, with a new, much larger space will be some inevitable changes.  All shows will have a 35 intern team of stage hands.  Performers will have access to four state of the art green rooms before their shows. And everyone must be an Actors Equity performer in order to appear on the stage.

The only planned renovation to this legendary theater is to immediately remove all bathrooms except one near the stage.

Another change will be the tickets prices, which will go up slightly from $5-$10 to $125 for balcony seating to $225 for orchestra seats (though Megawatt and Thursday Night Out admission will remain at $7 for the entire night).

Alan Fessenden, Magnet performer and instructor, noted his excitement about the move.  “I love the monoscene, but when you ask for ‘a location that’ll fit on this stage’ you’re limited by the size of the stage.  With the new theater, we can do a whole submarine instead of just the bridge of a submarine.  It really opens up the possibilities for all shows, but especially for monoscenes about submarines.”

When Ed Herbstman, the third Magnet owner, was asked about the move, he said, “I own a theater?”

One concern was voiced by Louis Kornfeld, Artistic Director of Megawatt.  “This new stage is massive compared to the old stage, so sweep edits are going to be problematic.  Not only will the timing be off, but the editor may very well be winded after the edit, especially improvisors who are out of shape, which includes all of them.”

Magnet is immensely ready for the move and excited to announce that the first show in the new space will be Rick Andrew’s Level One Class Show! Stay tuned for more details!

Wednesday November 13, 2013, 11:47am - by WillyAppelman

large_thewake

During November, Alex Marino directs the latest installment of The Director’s Series, The Wake. Every Thursday night at 9pm, The Wake takes you on an adventure inspired by an obituary. I interviewed Alex via email to discuss The Wake and his inspiration behind the form.

What is The Wake and why did you choose this form?
The wake is a form I started thinking about when i was taking classes in LA. I was feeling kinda frustrated because we had been working on the invocation, which I found really interesting, but a lot of my classmates were really dismissive–they’d roll their eyes if they didn’t think the suggestion was cool, they seemed a little bit mocking of improv itself. It was LA and they were just too cool for it. So I started trying to think of a way to approach the invocation that would force performers to at least have a little bit of respect for the suggestion… and I figured “what if you had to do an invocation of a person who had just died… in a room full of people who loved them.” So it kinda stayed in my head gestating for a while. Then when Magnet first opened I was approached by a practice group, it was one of the first groups I’d coached in New York, and that was Louis Kornfeld, Megan Gray, Charlie Whitcroft, Jon Bander, Corey Grimes, and Kelly Buttermore. And after working with them for a little bit I asked if they’d like to experiment with this form I’d been thinking about and they were totally game. What we arrived at was a modified invocation of someone in that day’s obituaries, inviting them to come into the theater and share their story before they go. I heard, and this may be apocryphal, that the practice of holding wakes came from a period in Ireland where they disinterred a lot of old graves and found scratch marks on the inside of the coffins. They realized that something like 1 in 10 people were being buried alive. So they decided to leave the dead out in for a period of time after they passed to give them one last chance to wake up. So the Wake seemed fitting as a name for the form. I kinda liked the notion that this show is one last chance for the dead to come back.

I chose it for this Director’s Series because it had been a while since I’d seen it done and I wanted to work with the original cast again. A couple years ago I taught a class in The Wake, and those bozos have been asking me when they were gonna get to do it again, so I thought I’d invite them along too.

What do you find funny?
All kinds of stuff. Smart stuff, dumb stuff. Deep stuff, light stuff. Lots of things are funny. To me, the funniest thing to think about is that we’re all just a huge biological accident that learned how to wear clothes and comb its hair. That shit is hilarious to me. We’re a mostly bald, mostly flimsy, slow moving animal, with small, dull teeth and worthless claws. We can barely climb, we can’t fly, or hold our breath very long. We have bad backs and lethal allergies to peanuts and shellfish–but not all of us, so you don’t even know if someone is allergic until they just almost die. We eat and drink through the same hole we use to breathe and speak, and somehow we’ve survived long enough to figure out space travel, novelty t-shirts, iPhones and art that goes on your fingernails. It’s incredibly funny to me just how we spend our time.

Do you find death funny?
Death is not funny, no, but everything around death is funnier because of it. Death is the ultimate straight man. I think to have laughter there needs to be a break in tension, which means there needs to be tension to begin with. The more the tension and the bigger the break, the more satisfying the laugh. The uneasiness people feel when they’re faced with death is a great primer for laughter, and that kind of laughter makes it easier to live with death.

What is the future of improv?
I dunno. At some point enough people are going to complain loudly and correctly enough about not getting properly recognized and compensated for content they improvise for commercials and movies… so probably a union will come out of that. And you’ll see “additional content improvised by” in the credits of films which will be good, but things will be weird… or maybe they wont. Maybe the improviser union will be chill. Eventually there will be an improvised show that is so undeniably good that it will get a run on Broadway. Eventually there will be an improvised show that wins a Tony. Some people will be upset by that… or maybe they wont. Maybe Broadway will have relaxed a bit by then. Someone is going to bring a true and honest, disinterested study of improvisation with all its techniques, history, and various applications to the university level, build a curriculum around it, and just like performance studies and jazz you’ll be able to get a college degree in improvisation. I would like to think that degree in improv would be worth more than getting a degree in performance studies or jazz, but it probably won’t be… and after four years, it definitely won’t make anyone a better improviser than performing in every black box and bar that will let you… but, no matter how much actual experience you may have in the field, you’ll need to have a degree in improv to be able to teach improv at the university level… So that will be a nice little scam.

The Wake plays every Thursday in November at 9pm. Make Reservations Here!

Tuesday January 31, 2012, 10:45am - by WillyAppelman

Growing up it was a bi-monthly event in my family.  We’d drive 45 minutes to the nearest movie theater, go out for Chinese Food and then go see something.  Something big.   But starting this Thursday my bi-monthly childhood treat will become a weekly one…

“The Movie” is coming to Magnet Theater!  This improvised long form will leave you a bit breathless.  It’s an entire improvised film, complete with cuts, pans, zooms, helicopter shots, and maybe even some prohibitively expensive CGI.  And if we’re lucky, we may get some Chinese Food before (but probably not).

It might be a heart-warming coming of age picture, or a tear-jerking sports hero battling cancer sort of thing.  Or maybe a sci-fi horror ‘stuck on a planet battling a monster (but the real monster is their own inner demon)’ sort of movie.  Maybe a combo of all three.  Doesn’t matter though.  I’ll be there.

“The Movie” is the first installment of The Directors Series, a 4-week series of performances wherein a Director selects a cast and presents a different form.  This month Ed Herbstman is directing Fiona Mallek, Jamie Rivera, Louis Kornfeld, Peter McNerney, Chet Siegel, Nick Kanellis, Christian Palluck, Woody Fu, Elana Fishbein and Alex Marino.  Every Thursday at 10pm in February!

Oh, and it’s part of Thursday Night Out – you get to see the whole night of shows for one $7 ticket.

–Willy Appelman

Friday January 13, 2012, 3:56pm - by Chano Garcia
A big congratulations goes out to Hello Laser, The Boss, and Junior Varsity, who celebrated five awesome years at Magnet Theater at Thursday Night Out last week.

Phooka opened the night, and after great comedy from some of the tightest groups in the city, the evening ended with a heartfelt “Thank You” to these excellent teams from one of Magnet’s founders, Armando Diaz.  I have to say it truly was one of those rare evenings where the energy was contagious. Each team did more than just show up, did more than just killed, but combined to create an experience whereby the audience started looking at each other, silently corroborating that we were all indeed witnessing something magic and memorable.
But the strongest truth on display that night: Playing with your friends for so long, in this case five years, breeds a deep trust and playful aggression that generates an easy intensity and ridiculously funny show.
Here are some pics:

Hello Laser: Corey Grimes, Alex Marino, Alan Fessenden, Dave Warth

Thursday July 7, 2011, 3:08pm - by admin

Catch the debut of the Magnet Theater Touring Company tonight in “Playhouse” at 8pm—a great start to Thursday Night Out!