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the Long Center, from Inside the Ring

Tag Archives: Improvised Shakespeare Company

I’m pretty new to Austin (and even newer to the Long Center staff), so it was something of a pleasant surprise to find out that, a) there’s a place like the Long Center, and b) there’s a lot of stuff going on here. But some of the Long Center’s productions are a little more self explanatory than others.

Rock of Ages? A rock-music Broadway musical. Makes sense. Tap Dogs? Unfortunately, not actually tap-dancing dogs (I would so go watch that), but still pretty obvious what’s up. Improvised Shakespeare? Now that one, I’m a little bit thrown.

Since I’m somebody who spent the last few years getting a degree in music theory, I’m really not an expert on Shakespearean drama. But I’ve still managed to glean through all my schooling that Shakespeare has been dead for something like a long time, and his plays are sort-of set in stone at this point. How exactly does Improvised Shakespeare actually, you know, improvise Shakespeare?

This guy probably would have been ALL over Improvised Shakespeare.

As it turns out: very carefully. The Chicago-based crew studies up on their Shakespeare so they can take a topic suggestion from the audience – they’ve had everything from “the corset of death” to “robots attack” in the past – and turn that prompt into an Elizabethan-era goldmine of hilarity. Basically, it’s long-form improv comedy with authentic Shakespearian language and themes, set in the Bard’s own time.

That’s one of the crazy things about improv comedy: despite the fact that it would seem like all the actors have to do is jump onstage and be funny, improv troupes actually have to practice being able to instantaneously become new characters in new places, all while interacting in hilarious ways. It just so happens that Improvised Shakespeare manages to do this all while being as Shakespearian in language, culture, setting, and philosophy as possible.

Forsooth, indeed.

-Nick Curry, Development Intern
The Long Center

The Improvised Shakespeare Company will be at the Long Center September 18-23. Click here for more information and tickets.

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