19 September 2003

Are You Ready For A Shakov Session?

Found this on the 'net today, and thought it quite interesting, if only in a 'hmm, I wonder how they'll do that' sort of way.

Star of British WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY ? to direct Impro Theatre's SHAKOV


Michael McShane, star of the British version of WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY?, directs Impro Theatre's production of SHAKOV, premiering at EdgeFest 2003. The company will improvise in the style of Shakespeare and Chekov creating two completely different pieces in one evening. McShane will also serve as narrator and improvisor.

Mike McShane on the British version of Whose Line Is It, Anyway?

McShane starred in WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? in England from 1988-1994 and was one of the most popular stars of that show. He has performed professionally with Annette Bening, Emily Watson, and Sir John Gielgud. What interested McShane in this project was "using Chekov as well as Shakespeare as a platform on which to build; the wide range of prose and poetry, the rise and fall of kings and courts; and with Chekov; the desperate and the deluded classes stumbling across the Russian countryside, funny and sad and strange. Both writers create worlds which continue to evoke much of what is felt and thought in the human mind and heart."

Impro Theatre, formerly Los Angeles Theatresports, has been in existence close to 16 years. In that time they have explored "long form" pieces or improvised plays, as well as continuing to perform improv games. One very successful "long form" show was SHAKESPEARE UNSCRIPTED. "We do not think of ourselves as an improv comedy group, although our performances are always comical. We are an improvisational theatre ensemble and pride ourselves in being completely unsuitable for television, as we do not focus our work on getting laughs, but creating satisfying narratives with well defined characters, finding honest moments of comedy within the stories.", says Artistic Director Floyd Van Buskirk. The name change to Impro Theatre came about since the company did not want to be thought of exclusively as a troupe that played short form formats of improv games.

Cast members include Lisa Fredrickson, Dan O'Connor, Edi Patterson, Kelly Holden, Jim Sabo, Mike McCafferty, Doreen Remo, Brian Lohmann, Mike McShane, Michele Spears, Floyd Van Buskirk, Steven Loeb, Alison Inconstanti, and Tracy Burns.

Shakespeare and Chekov, eh? Now that's a weird blend. What else can come down the pike? Shakespeare and Ibsen? Shakespeare and Samuel Beckett? But I'd love to watch the audiences react to the combination of Shakespeare and David Mamet. The actors would have a field day, that's for sure...

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