These acts — two from NYC and one from right here in Charleston — bring absurdity, a quick pace, and extreme longform to the table. Even if you’re not a cat person, you’ll find plenty to love at this Comedy Marathon.
Bucky, a seven-person improv troupe, began performing together at the Upright Citizens Brigade in March of 2012. The hallmark of their improv style is to perform their whole show as one continuous scene that stays in one location. “One thing that we like about having the whole show take place in one scene is that it lets us have a lot of fun with characters,” says Bucky cast member Matt Cutler. “By keeping the scene in one location and in real time, we get to inhabit and explore characters in a really rich and satisfying way.” Bucky’s other cast members include Jeremy Bent, Christian Capozzoli, Nicole Drespel, Frank Garcia Hejl, Nathan Russell, Laura Wilcox, and Sasheer Zamata. You may recognize Zamata as a new cast member of Saturday Night Live.
Cats Hugging Cats
The performers in Cats Hugging Cats all got their start here in Charleston at Theatre 99. After spending some time apart studying improv at theaters in Chicago and New York, Brian De Costa, Jason Groce, and Andy Livengood came back and began working on what would become the current group. “Cats Hugging Cats shows aren’t afraid of the absurd,” says Livengood. “Our shows start out normally, but usually get crazy pretty quickly. We aim for fast-paced improv comedy. We’ve got great chemistry — we’re all very good friends outside of the show — and we work together to go from realistic to ridiculous. If you like your comedy unpredictable, we’re the show for you.” If seeing the show inspires you to get in the act, you can even try an improv class with Livengood — he teaches a level one improv course, as well as a bi-monthly drop-in class at Theatre 99.
The Magnet Theater Touring Company
The Magnet Theater is a well-known improv training center in New York City, and the Touring Company is an ensemble of some of the theater’s best performers and instructors. This show will be performed by three of its members: Rick Andrews, Chet Siegal, and Branson Reese. “We’ll be performing an organic long-form set.” says Andrews. “We’ll receive one suggestion from the audience at the start of the show, and then launch into a whole series of scenes from there.” The “organic” component, he explains, means that after the initial audience suggestion, the performers create a series of scenes, with the start of a new scene often being the same line or action that ended the scene before it.