"}
On Stage

Dynamo

Mixing and matching at the Upfront

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

When I first starting getting onstage at Bellingham’s Upfront Theatre soon after it opened its doors in 2006, there weren’t vast numbers of performers waiting backstage to fill in. In fact, during its first year of operation, improvisers from points both north and south were just as likely to be in front of the audience on any given Friday or Saturday night as were local thespians.

To say things have changed in the last seven years is a bit of an understatement.

“As the theater has grown, it’s no longer just a core group of around 12 of us that are all addicted to improv, hanging out every waking moment,” longtime performer and Upfront Marketing Coordinator Galen Emanuele says. “We now have around 50 to 60 improv students in classes at any given time, about 20 mainstage members, and 12 satellite ensemble members.”

And, although Thursday night’s performances still allow those with less stage time under their belts to practice their craft in front of living, breathing humans prepared to clap and laugh, Emanuele says the theater—of which I am currently an alumnus—is opening a Sunday night show called “Dynamo” that will allow the community of eager improvisers a platform to come together to both compete and learn.

The format for the new show goes like this: Twelve improvisers—including mainstage members, satellite members, those in various levels of study, and one brave soul from the audience who will sign up each week before the show starts—will compete for the “Dynamo” title. Through numerous round of scored improvised scenes and games, players will either advance to the next round or face elimination. At the end of every show, the last performer left will be crowned that night’s “Improv Dynamo.”

“Students will be able to get some stage time performing with more experienced improvisers in front of an audience, which doesn’t happen now,” Emanuele says, “and we open the door for different levels of skill to mix onstage together.”

When asked if he really things those disparate skill levels should include someone who may or not even know what improv is—the rogue random audience member—Emanuele is quick to answer in the affirmative.

“I think we’ll definitely get some takers,” he says. “Audiences have a lot of love and compassion for the underdog, and this show is designed for all skill levels. It’s a unique elimination-type show that gives the audience a behind-the-scenes look at how improv is done, and what it makes it good or bad.

“The audience also has a say in who gets eliminated because they provide the scores for the scenes. It naturally works out that the better improvisers will move ahead while the weaker ones are sifted out, but anyone can win because in improv anything can happen.”

Another draw to the Sunday night show is that tickets are a measly $2, making “Dynamo” affordable for just about anyone—heck, you can probably find that amount in loose change sitting on your nightstand.

“The goal of this show is to create this awesome Sunday night ‘Dynamo’ scene, and we’d rather have full houses every week then try to make a bunch of profit out of it,” Emanuele says. “The show is as much for our own community as is it for our fans and audiences. It’s also a total mix of skill levels, so you’re going to see a scene or two that just totally sucks, and some that are completely awesome. That’s part of what’s going to be so fun about it.”

Zoots Banner
More On Stage...
Circus Al Fresco
Summer’s last Sh’Bang

By the time you read these words, it might be too late to sign up for the Circus Campout taking place Aug. 25-28 at the Lookout Arts Quarry.

Luckily, visitors to the 50-acre property near Alger can still reap the rewards of what happens when creative humans gather together for three days…

more »
Seasonal Spotlight
An iDiOM state of mind

When I last wrote about iDiOM Theater, the 14-year-old performing arts venue was preparing to decamp from its longtime space on Cornwall Avenue for a move to the new Sylvia Center for the Arts—but not before offering up a production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

I was in attendance…

more »
Campus Collective
Welcome back to Western Summer Theatre

The beginning of Western Washington University’s fall semester is still more than a month away, but that doesn’t mean all is quiet on the edifice of learning on the hill.

Far from it, in fact. Since returning to liven up WWU’s campus in July, Western Summer Theatre is once again ensuring…

more »
Events
Today
Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

We Grow Market

3:00pm|Northwest Youth Services

Music Enrichment Project Meet and Greet

4:00pm|Piper Music

Open Mic

7:00pm|Village Books

Get Out More Tour

7:30pm|Backcountry Essentials

Poetrynight

8:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Guffawingham

9:30pm|Green Frog

Andrew Subin Artifacts Wine Bar
Tomorrow
Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Hiking Basics

6:00pm|REI

Final History Sunset Cruise

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

All-Paces Run

6:00pm|Fairhaven Runners

Final BIFT

6:30pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Amnesty International Meeting

7:00pm|Community Food Co-op

Skagit Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Bayview Civic Hall

Artifacts Wine Bar Village Books
Wednesday
Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Bellingham City Club Meeting

11:30am|Northwood Hall

Wednesday Market

12:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Lynden Book Club

12:30pm|Lynden Library

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Brewers Cruise

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

The Gun Show

8:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

see our complete calendar »

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Zoots Side Bar Swinomish 2016 Bellingham Farmer’s Market Artifacts Wine Bar Village Books Andrew Subin Northwood Steak and Crab