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OoBer Alles

A guide to the troupes of the 2006 Out of Bounds Improv Festival (aka OoB V)

By Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., Aug. 25, 2006


LOCAL TEAMS

Available Cupholders: Former parts of Well Hung Jury, recently returned from their brief defection to the Windy City, mount a full-on improv assault led by their Brigadier General, Jeremy Lamb.

The Becchini: triumvirate of Austin sketch comedians, named after the folks who'd cart away the dead during the Black Plague

ColdTowne Heroes: New Orleans transplants who moved to Austin after Katrina made waterlogged shambles of the Big Easy have quickly established an almost supernatural presence among the city's finest improvisers.

Edmond Bulldogs: Partly based in L.A., even though they're supremely local; Mitch Baker and David Bewley make it up alone or join with stalwarts Shannon McCormick, Craig Kotfas, and others to bring the sort of improv and sketch comedy that's made MTV say "Wha?"

The Frank Mills: Formerly called Tight, an ensemble of Chicago and Cleveland transplants who honed their chops at Second City, ImprovOlympic, Annoyance Theatre, ComedySportz, and Boom Chicago; includes Rachel Madorsky, Dave Buckman, Bob McNichol, and Erika May (McNichol & May)

Get Up: Long form from improv vets Shana Merlin (We Could Be Heroes, Girls Girls Girls) and Shannon McCormick (No Shame Theatre, Foleyvision); scenes include their popular "24 (minutes)," an improvised parody of the TV thriller.

Girls Girls Girls: All-female troupe doing long-form improvised musicals; includes Monique Daviau, Julie Lucas, Andrea Young, Kacey Samiee (all Heroes of Comedy), Shana Merlin (Get Up, Heroes of Comedy), Jennifer Cargill, Shelly Miller, and Caitlin Sweet

Hoover's Blanket: Sketch troupe featuring performers from Foolish Mortals, $10 Bourbon, Parallelogramophonograph, and Improv for Evil

Latino Comedy Project: Since 1999, they've razed the barrio to bring both sketch and improv to the more-pale mainstream, and they're funnier than snakes on a Cantinflas.

The Knuckleball Now: Improv troupe founded in 2004 by Mike D'Alonzo (Austin Theatresports, Gravy, Catch 24), Craig Kotfas (Heroes of Comedy, Gravy, Catch 24), David Modigliani, and Mike Dolan with a slant toward unpredictability

McNichol & May: Husband-and-wife team, also part of the Frank Mills, bring their fierce wit and improv skills to bear on public-domain videos in a sort of modified "Armando" presentation.

Parallelogramophonograph: Kareem Badr, Wesley Bain, Kaci Beeler, Roy Janik, and Valerie Ward are involved, individually and in concert, in way too many aspects of the local improv scene, but their set at OoB will deny the effects of that.

The Plurals: Sketch troupe featuring Braden Walker, Joel Osborne, and Adam Hilton

Scott & Stacey: Popular sketch duo of Scott Calonico and Stacey Mead, who play to much delight at comedy venues across the country

You, Me & Greg: Three relentless and hardworking improvisers who push themselves to perform a new format for all of their shows


VISITING TEAMS

American Standard: The defector Ben Sterling (ex-Well Hung Jury) dares to show his face in the city he abandoned, bringing with him a few new friends from the Big Apple to do long-form improv.

Apollo 12: The large-ensemble troupe hailing from Phoenix performs freestyle long form, letting the suggestion guide the flow of the evening's performance.

Dasariski: Trio of old-school Chicago improvisers anchored by Mad TV and SNL alumnus Rich Talarico with Bob Dassie and Craig Cackowski

Double Feature: Two improvised movies taking place simultaneously, as based on audience suggestions; this is the premise from which Bay Area Theatresports builds their comedy.

goga: Character-driven fantasy theatre from a pair of Karens, NYC's Karen Herr and Karen Wight (Imp.)

Imp.: Mostly silent, almost-mimelike improv from the New York-based duo of Asaf Ronen and Karen Wight (goga)

JoKyR and Jesster: Improv duo composed of Joseph Kyle Rogan and Jesse Parent, two of Utah's most prolific and experienced improvisers, who perform high-stakes, character-driven improv

Keilly & Roeters: Experienced Los Angeles improvisers Suzanne Keilly (Groundlings, Acme Comedy Theatre) and Kirsten Roeters (ImprovOlympic, the Milkman's Other Kids) who teamed up two years ago and created a show of sketch comedy

The Kihckercast Project: Solo offshoot of New York City-based improv troupe in which Topping Haggerty improvises emotionally charged and tragically funny characters and songs

Massive Creativity: Large-ensemble Houston improv troupe founded by MacArthur Antigua (Tight) and specializing in long form

Marty Barrett: Solo musical/sketch/improv work by the Los Angeles-based writer/performer

Mod 27: Palm Beach, Fla., trio of improvisers dedicated to long form

PUNCH DRUnK Comedy: Dallas troupe infamous for a no-holds-barred approach that is frequently rude, crude, and outrageously funny

Renob Control: Sketch comedy from the tree-lined depths of Portland, Ore.

Room to Improv: Elvin Lubrin's crew from L.A. are: a) of multiple cultures, b) talented as hell, c) both a and b.

Second City L.A.'s the Group: This many-personed phenomenon hails from L.A. and has been performing their franchised miracles at national festivals since 2004.

Sketchcore: Chicago quintet performing sketch with a black comic twist

3 for All: San Francisco will have to bear the absence of Rafe Chase, Stephen Kearin, and Tim Orr while they bring their highly acclaimed improvisational prowess to the OoB.

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