Fremont improv troupe to perform special show New Year’s Eve

Actors at the Made Up Theatre say their improvised sketches have less in common with comedians than they do with construction workers.

That’s because the actors don’t tell jokes; rather, they build a story, piece-by-piece, by bouncing ideas off each other in front of an audience, said Ben Stephens, a founding member of the Fremont troupe.

“Improv is all about listening to your scene partner, accepting their idea and then adding on to it,” said Stephens, 30. “You never know what’s going to happen next.”

That unpredictability is part of improv’s allure, said Bobby August, one of the theater’s players.

“It’s a high-wire act,” August said. “It’s one of the most challenging things. It’s a humbling and risky art form.”

On the first and third Saturdays of each month, they perform short-form improv, in which the actors take suggestions from the audience and then act them out. “It’s kind of like the show, ‘Who’s Line is It Anyway,'” Stephens said. “It tends to be more playful.”

On the second and fourth Saturday of each month, the actors offer long-form improv, where they perform a 30-minute story made up completely on the spot.

The troupe’s annual special New Year’s Eve show, at 8 p.m. Monday, will be a hybrid of those two styles, Stephens said.

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Chris DeBenedetti