Florida Studio Theatre kicked off its summer season last Saturday with what is forecast to be two scorching months of sizzling silliness. Improvisation is all about jumping from the frying pan into the fire, so when cast member and lead Improv teaching artist Adam Ratner tells us, “It’s gonna be a hot, hot, hot summer with FST Improv,” we know to be prepared to slather on the sunburn ointment after every performance.
FST Improv Creator and Director Rebecca Hopkins warmed up last night’s show, prepping the audience for a participatory evening of unpredictable mayhem, as well as the accompanying unavoidable flop-sweat on the part of the troupe. Improv is very much enhanced by its audience, and one highlight included the audience suggestion for the troupe’s enactment of what happens when you spend too much time on Facebook, led by gibberish master Catey Brannan.
In another skit, audience member and FST volunteer Estelle was coerced onto the stage, where her life was hilariously skewered then serenaded by the troupe, who took some shots at her husband, Aaron.
A funny bit featured Chris Friday, who’s also a compelling singer, and Adam Ratner playing “Testicles” and “Clymidia” in a Shakespearean scene. Tim Beasley came up with some great ideas for a new PR campaign for the IRS.
One of my favorite bits is Puppets, in which two audience members physically move cast members’ body parts as needed. Steve Turrisi executed more pratfalls than Charlie Chaplin on speed.
An entire weekend of air-conditioned hilarity begins Friday, July 12. FST’s Improv Festival will bring two nights of comedy to downtown Sarasota with some of the hottest groups on the Improv scene nationwide, including FST Improv, Assorted Rogues, Dad’s Garage, Jester Theater, Available Cupholders, Smith & I, Mad Cowford, ImprovBoston, SAK Comedy Lab, All Play, Sick Puppies Comedy, Stacked, Hawk & Wayne, Lazy Fairy Improv, The Third Thought, and special event: The Improvised Shakespeare Company.
Also offered are improv workshops taught by the professional Improvisers attending the festival. I experienced fabulous laugh-filled fun at this event last year.
IF YOU GO
Sarasota Improv Festival runs July 12 and 13, various times at Florida Studio Theatre. For more information, call 366-9000.