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The Hothouse: Improvised Theatre

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I have never been an improv fan. Another empty back room? Another watered-down drink? ANOTHER bunch of folks asking me to “name a city” so that they can squeeze some cheesy hilarity out of it? No thanks. Me and my Friday night are gonna hang out on the solo tip.

However, I will drop everything I have when there’s an improv show at the Hothouse in the NoHo arts district. Every Friday night until the end of the month, go see how it should be done: improv with a brain, improv with a gutsy, gut-busting sense of humor, improv as – dare I say it? – art.

On the Hothouse stage, the actors create their universe without audience suggestion. The lights fall, the live band begins to play, and it’s on. There’s a distinct feeling of playing here – like when you were a kid and you just kept playing make-believe with your tablecloth-cape and headband-tiara until it was time for dinner.

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Through collective movement and a lot of eye contact, the actors create stories so well-executed, relevant and funny that I have often heard audience members ask each other after the show, “was that really all improvised?” (Yes it is). I’ve been twice in the past month, and I’ve seen everything from an eloquent yet witty exploration of spirituality and God, to a damning political commentary on a certain senatorial scandal in the Minneapolis airport men’s bathroom.

More on the Hothouse including when and where after the jump!