Getting to Know… Mirage Machine

Pocket is going to get wild for Big Sexy and Mirage Machine is going to heat it up! Check them out on Friday June 26th at 11:15pm and read below for some fun facts!

enjoy the madness and get your tix!

Visit their website!

Mirage Machine

Tell us about your troupe name.
Mirage Machine was a really hard name to come up with. Theo Daley said, “Hey, our group should be called Mirage Machine.”

And we said, “Yes.”

How did your show and format develop?
Our format was extremely loose at the beginning. All we knew is that we wanted to play together and that’s it. We recognized that every single other group on the Improv Planet were doing that. We wanted to create something different.

David Fruchter, our resident sage, came in with a suggestion of getting a dream. We all looked at each other and went, “This makes our name make sense.” It’s a weird reverse engineering process we underwent to make our work fit the name. I can’t think of many other groups that would do that.

We let this suggestion fuel our work, too. We try and do “edit-less” edits where other players will simply hop in and start a new scene. No sweeps or tag-outs, they simply start a new scene by walking out. It’s the responsibility of the other players to go, “Oh, I’m in this.” It’s a challenge but it’s also super rewarding to watch.

What is one of your favorite improv moments?
We recently did a show at the Hideout Theater (located at 616 Congress Ave. in the heart of downtown Austin). Two of our players, Manuel and Kenny, got locked into a scene at a typography school. Kenny made a crack about feeling “Comic Sans.” The audience laughed/groaned at the same time. Because Kenny and Manuel are sadistic towards the audience, they started a Font Pun Off on stage.

Also, it’s important to note that there was a keyboard on stage for the act afterwards. Mirage Machine had no intention of using the keyboard at all.

So, when the Pun Off began, another improviser COMPLETELY UNRELATED TO MIRAGE MACHINE (Tosin Awofeso) started SCORING THE PUN OFF. It was transcendent and completely unexpected. It also made the epic Pun Off even more epic.

What are some things that always make you laugh?
Existential misery. Time.

Getting to Know… Red Dirt Improv

Big Sexy favorite Red Dirt Improv is back and ready for fun! New to RDI? Check them out at Margo Jones at 9pm on Friday June 26th and read below to get some fun details on these players!

Ticket to see them!

Red Dirt Improv

Tell us about your troupe name.
We couldn’t agree on other names, so we went with most of our second choices – Red Dirt Improv. Our group enjoys having a name that references Oklahoma in some way.
How did you form as a troupe?
Many of us performed in a college troupe together, and wanted to keep performing after graduation.
What was one of your favorite improv moments?
Anytime an audience new to improv sees us and enjoys!
How do you guys prepare for a show? Any fun warm-ups or rituals?
We do a lot of the standard warm-up exercises, but when we get bored of those we resort to mime violence.
What do you like to do outside of improv?
We love to get together and play board and card games (like Settlers of Catan and Cards Against Humanity). We also regularly watch Game of Thrones together.

Getting to Know… Butter!

Love seeing something unique? Give troupe Butter a try! Learn more about this improvised clowning troupe below and see them at Big Sexy on Friday June 26th at 7pm!

Tickets for the show!

Butter

Tell us about your troupe name.
We were hanging out having coffee and talking about naming our duo. Then we jokingly started talking about using butter as our name. Then we started talking about how we liked the sound of butter. Then we started talking about how it was just so fun to say and it stuck. What do you like on your toast? Butter. What do you like to put on your pancakes? Butter. You like butter on your buns? Yes.

How did you develop your format?
We developed our format out of a combination of our training with traditional theatrical clowning and how we wanted to have fun with it. Traditional theatrical clowning involves direct eye contact and connection/interaction with the audience members and creating a relationship of interaction between ourselves and the audience. We combined that with playing how to woo or seduce the audience and the failure with that. We wanted to see what the limits are when we try and fail and try again to attract another.

What is one of your favorite improv moments?
One of our favorite moments is when the audience wants to play either through movement and/or sounds.  They are showing us that they want to be involved and that they are having fun.  We go into the audience and they end up supporting us and justifying our offers.  It’s fun to see the audience enjoy themselves.

How do you guys prepare for a show? Any fun warm-ups or rituals?
Since we are a duo it is really fun and funny to try and do big group improv warm ups with just the two of us like ‘I am a Tree’ or ‘Transformation Circle’ or ‘Bunny Bunny’. We also have a ritual of counting off 1, 2, 3 back and forth and then replacing each number with a sound. Then we break off and play around the stage.

What do you like to do outside of improv?
Luke likes to sing, swim, watch sci-fi movies, and write plays/poetry. Sandra likes to binge watch TV shows on Netflix, write sketches, dance, and spend time with friends and family.

Getting to Know… Stephen Linings Kingbook

Get your horror film fix with troupe Stephen Linings Kingbook at Margo Jones Theater on Saturday June 27th at 7pm!

Visit them on Facebook!

Troupe name:
Well one of us is named Stephen Linings and the other one of us is called Karl Kingbook. Upon celebrating the deserved critical acclaim the new American classic film Silver Linings Playbook was receiving, it just made sense to hop a ride on that sweet gravy train by cleverly combining our names.  So we joined together like a two-part Vultron and became STEPHEN LININGS KINGBOOK. And also now wish trains of gravy were a reality.

Format:
Both of us are HUGE horror fans especially in film form like the Twilight films for example. Those are so terrible that it’s downright terrifying! But it’s sagas like that of Bella Swan that inspired us, famed horror film directors that we are, to present a new horror film of ours to a live audience at each of our shows. It also allows the horrors in the recesses of our minds to escape. Mostly a lot of acid flashbacks but still.

Improv moments:
Earlier this year, we were asked to appear at the Miami Improv Festival where we presented on of our more dramatic films which was very rewarding. It delved into the sacred bond between devoted mother and creepy murderous son that could almost be an homage to Psycho if so much of the plot wasn’t developed inside of the many convenient Men’s Warehouse locations and a Jamba Juice. It was untitled because we’re true artists at heart. I mean, have you been to art museums? So many untitled paintings!

Warm ups/pre show rituals:
Not unlike Hunter S. Thompson, we have a very strict drug and booze administering schedule we abide by. Directors (yes, even the golden boy Stevie Spielberg) tend to party like a sixteen year old does when their parents are away. That’s just bad parenting though because we all know what happens to those Ferris Bueller types. We also play this game where we take turns saying a sentence starting off with each letter of the alphabet from A to Z. It can be pretty challenging when your short term memory is at goldfish status.

Outside of improv:
We’re flown around the world in our private streamline jet by our pilot, Stone Cold Steve Austin. It’s our shared view that people can only truly grow by experiencing other cultures. And we don’t just mean grow in your pants either! I mean, just go to the actual Hogwarts castle in England and try to tell us you’re not a wizard! Especially if your name’s Harry!

Stephen Linings Kingbook

Getting to Know… Ghost Dinosaur

Read a little about Ghost Dinosaur below and make plans to see them at Big Sexy on Friday June 26th at 9pm at Margo Jones in Fair Park!

Tell us about your troupe name.

While developing Amoral Story, a narrative form, our coach drew a story arc on a white board. This roughly looked like a brontosaurus beneath a sheet. Someone drew feet and eye holes and there you have it. Ghost Dinosaur was born.

How did you form as a troupe?
As part of Station Theater’s curriculum, for your last level, the class has to develop a unique form and perform it for their graduation show. Our performance was well-received and we liked playing with each other well enough. We decided to take our chances in the wild.

What is one of your favorite improv moments?
Any specific example, without context, would sound idiotic, i.e., I liked it that one time the baby murdered the poop aliens. We do like it when multiple narrative threads come together with a simple, elegant solution. It looks like we planned it that way. We also like using characters from one show three shows later. The audience doesn’t know that character is from a previous show, but we do. It is a little game we can play on stage inside the game of the show.

How do you guys prepare for a show? Any fun warm-ups or rituals?
We warm-up with Story Circle, Digits, Crazy 8’s and Thunderdome. We also like to look at our smart phones.

What do you like to do outside of improv?
We go bowling or grab a beer and watch sports ball. We also like watching improv.

Ghost Dinosaur

Getting to know… iScream Sandwich

We’re happy to introduce the troupes in the 7th Big Sexy with a Getting to Know series! Read about troupe iScream Sandwich below and see them at Margo Jones on Saturday June 27th at 7pm!

Check out their official bio!

See them on Facebook!

Tell us about your troupe name. How did you develop your format?

We started out as students in Tom Booker’s Sunday class that he taught in a comedy club in downtown Austin before The Institution Theater was a reality. We all had experience from other theater’s across the country learning the Harold format and thought it was time that Austin had a Harold troupe, when no one else in Austin was teaching and/or performing the Harold. We toyed with lots of names, almost stressing about it, we had to keep reminding ourselves to take the pressure off, our name would reveal itself when it was ready. Then one day Marv suggested, “why not something fun like Ice Cream Sandwich” and it just clicked, everyone was excited about the name, Heidi threw out “Yes, and what if we spell it like this: iScream Sandwich” is stuck and now we have been the longest running Harold Troupe in Austin! 

What is one of your favorite improv moments? 

They say that when you perform the Harold format, in the 3rd act when you get all the story lines and characters to come back together for the final scene and it wraps up the show with a nice button – then Harold is in the room! Those are the moments when the show is magical and you get off stage feeling that awesome performance high. Those are our favorite improv moments, but even if we don’t see that happen every show – we are a great group of friends that love to make each other laugh, so when we step out on stage, the only goal is to have fun with each other, when that is obvious to the audience they can’t help but have fun with us. That and one time we had an article written about us that was titled, “iScream Sandwich made me love improv!” That’s always nice to hear 🙂 
How do you guys prepare for a show? Any fun warm-ups or rituals?

We warm up like most any group before a show to get our creative juices flowing and get our energy up – but then we always get connected by huddling in a circle and playing the alphabet game (get from a-z one person at a time, with out having two people say it at the same time or else we have to start over…we rarely have to start over). Then just before we take a stage we all take a moment to make eye contact with each other one at a time and say, “I trust you” It really makes us feel connected and supported when we get out there in front of an audience! 

What do you like to do outside of improv?

We all have our own separate busy lives, from full time jobs, graduate school, other troupes we perform with, creating podcasts, writing and pitching scripts, performing scripted theater, designing new game apps, and generally just being awesome. As a group we like to get together for bonding, social activities, usually sharing a meal and gossiping, but we also love a good pool party or the occasional trip to Hawaii 😛 (last summer we got to perform at Improvaganza the Hawaiian Improv festival). But mostly we just love to crack each other up – this is a fun group of people that just loves to laugh out loud! 

iScream Sandwich

Kyle’s 2014 Favorites and 2015 Goals

Favorite moments of 2014

*The insane amounts of strange and out there scenes the Victims did this year. We all pushed boundaries and tried new things. Our cohesion as a group has really matured.
*The four fantastic shows with Sondheimlich Maneuver. “Death Star: The Musical” being my favorite FOR OBVIOUS REASONS. Though “My Father is a Tower of Terror” was probably my favorite song. Very excited to keep working with this group and for us to host Karaoke!
*A cop-out answer but the premiere of each of the troupe’s I created this year was super exciting for me to see all my performers shine.

Goals for 2015

*Honing and fine-tuning the new troupes made in 2014 into forces of improv nature.
*Actually making it out to IFO or OOB or any other funky lettered improv festivals.
*Finally reading all the improv books I bought myself in 2014.

John’s 2014 Favorites and 2015 Goals

Favorite Moments of 2014

The ACT broke a long-standing attendance record at Pocket Sandwich Theater in August.  It was insane that night! We put on a hell of a show because of the incredible energy the audience brought in with them.

What has now become known as “The Foot Scene.”  Kyle and BK were fearless, and kept escalating a scene to incredibly uncomfortable heights. FYI – They ate an entire pack of my Listerine strips backstage after that show.

Big Sexy VI – That was the best Big Sexy so far, and I am inspired to make Big Sexy 7 even better.

Goals for 2015

After a long break, The ACT plans to teach improv classes again! We are currently working on making that a possibility, so please be patient and check back with us soon.

That attendance record… I want to shatter it this year.

I want to get other improvisers in The  ACT to apply to, hopefully get accepted to, and then attend comedy festivals around the country. It’s a big beautiful world. Go see it, laugh, and make other people laugh.

I want to work with new performers (Not that there’s anything wrong with the people I’ve been working with in the past of course).

Hammock District and Panda Butt… what they love about improv!

Tonight is opening night of the festival! We’re so excited that the day is finally here. It’s time to have some fun, and we want you to join us so head over to improvact.org and get tickets now!

Two of the troupes performing tonight, Panda Butt and Hammock District, share their favorite things about improv below.

Hammock District:
* What was your favorite moment in improv/favorite thing about improv?
On stage with multiple strangers, one learns a lot about them, and about oneself. That’s the best part: the learning. It’s cool when you say something funny and the audience laughs and you experience real fleeting joy; that’s good too. But the other thing, the learning, that’s what’s so unique about improv. And learning is failure. And that’s important. Failure sticks with you, it lasts, and it’s more common. Failure is improv. We’re all failures. We fail, and that’s how we learn.

Panda Butt
*What is your favorite thing about improv?
Improv can take you anywhere. it gives you the ability to be or do whatever you want in an instant. Climbing on stuff is fun.

Getting to know… Rory Scholl!

Rory is here from New York to entertain! See him this Friday at 7pm and read below for a bit more about the man behind the laughs.

* Tell us about your show this year.
Rory And Friends is a show I produce in New York that is all musical comedy,( improv written, group, solo,) with acts that are friends of mine I have worked with before or know from other walks of life. SO all the acts are actual friends. For Big Sexy its all improv music though. Its like a John Denver show if John Denver hung out with drunks and jerks.  its just me on guitar but I will have a beatboxer for a little rap action.

* When you were a kid, what did you find hilarious?
I’ve always loved sarcastic assholish humor…Marx Brothers, Bugs Bunny, Oscar the Grouch,  Animaniacs….rude sassy sarcastic humor that play off someone….thats what I lve about improv…playing off others actions…also British humor resonated with me as a kid…Monty Python, Danger Mouse…absurdist stuf..Now-a-days there’s nothing funnier than watching a kid fall down…I mean just lose it on the street. Oh. Thats good.

* What is your advice to those new to improv, or those who want to learn more?
Don’t do a bad impression of something you’ve seen on SNL or Comedy Central or a movie…Ive seen new improvisers do bad impressions of Amy Poehler’s little kid character, to quoting Zoolander. Be yourself …or if you dont know who you are, find it out by exploring. Its like dating…dont say what you think they want to her, say what you want to say!  And fuck up. Id rather screw up royally being original ( Oh, and I have) with something originall than get a half ass laugh quoting Bridesmaids