Some Enchanted Evenings
Improvising wonderlands at the Hideout
By Wayne Alan Brenner,
2:08PM, Wed. Sep. 14, 2011
Chihiro in the bathhouse of the gods.
A young girl lost in some realm of dreams,
beset by strange horrors, aided by kind strangers,
making her way through a tangle of unexpected wonders.
Hell, that last paragraph could be
a description of someone attempting
improv comedy for the first time.
Luckily for the audiences at Spirited,
the lively troupe conjuring these fables from nothing
have been plying their performative trade for years
and are directed by Asaf Ronen and Marc Majcher
at the Hideout on Congress – in Downtown Austin, of course,
although who knows what changes may have occurred
in reality’s tenuous fabric by the time you exit the theatre?
“I generally prefer stories that are realistic,”
says Menelaos Prokos, one of the show’s talented cast,
“but I guess the thing I enjoy the most about Spirited
is the element I normally choose to stay clear of:
I like how we create imaginary worlds, how we can be
anything we choose to. Not just anybody, but anything.
I can be a person that disappears inside their own aura.
I can be a talking rock. The possibilities are endless.”
"Other than the freaking awesome imps I get to play with,"
says Sarah Marie Curry, another of the show's veteran performers,
"I would say the most enjoyable thing about Spirited, is, first, Halyn [Lee Erickson].
I love watching her as she plays the 'Alice.' I learn so much from watching another
imp take on that role, and everything she does is so honest.
And I don't think I've ever felt as connected to a cast as I have in this show.
On opening night, I felt a spiritual – no pun intended – connection happening.
It was very profound for me."
So maybe it's best to leave a trail of bread crumbs, then,
on your way to catch the inspired silliness of this improv witchery,
this entertainment that can enchant a person even years beyond childhood’s end?
There are several Saturdays until October 29th, in any case.
And if you can’t catch the show before Halloween weekend,
we reckon that final performance of Spirited would be a fitting start
to your night of spook-filled masqueradery in the ATX.