Friday Night Improv: One Year Strong

“Welcome to Friday Night Improv, where no one knows what’s going to happen, especially the actors.” After Matthew Trickey, the Master of Ceremonies for Manic Thunder says these words, the show begins.

Every Friday night, the Manic Thunder improv troupe performs theater games at Glenwood square in Yakima, Washington from 8 -10 p.m. for $5 admission. The troupe consists of Matthew Trickey, Perry Peltier, Aaron Bennett, Tim Hubert, and Scott McLaughlin. Unlike most shows, the troupe doesn’t know what is going to happen onstage because they go off suggestions from the audience.

“Improv is a natural fit for all of our comic styles,” Trickey said.

The troupe has been together now for two years, but they had friendships that pre existed before the troupe. First, they performed at Carmen’s Comedy Club in Selah, Washington. According to Trickey, the troupe went from ‘How can we keep this going ? ‘ to ‘We really have something.’ April 1st, 2011or April Fools Day marks the one- year anniversary of Friday Night Improv at Glenwood Square.

“It’s all about the audience. In improv you really have to be flexible and do whatever the audience wishes; something the players of Manic Thunder are really good at. An example of this was when an audience member was requested to portray a man eating rabid bunny. “Instead of saying no, they did it, and did a really good job of it!” Cassie Wheeler, a Friday Night Improv regular, said.

Some of the theater games the troupe plays include “party quirks.” In “Party Quirks,” one of the actors is the host of a party , the others are given identities by the audience and the host has to guess the identities. In “Foreign Film Dub” two actors improvise a clip from a movie speaking in another language. Then two actors on either side of the stage translate the lines into English. The audience provides suggestions for the language and film genre. In the game “Pickpockets” audience members submit lines of dialog before the show. The lines are collected and given to the actors who put the lines into their pockets and randomly read them aloud during the scene.

There are even some audience participation games. In “Mr. Potato Head,” two actors perform a scene while a third is the bell ringer. Two members of the audience are brought down and provided bins full of hats, wigs and props. When the bell rings, the audience members quickly dress the actors with the hats, wigs and props from the bin. Then the actors have to continue the scene justifying their new style of dress. In “Be Prompt” two or three actors perform a scene while two audience members are sitting onstage wearing headphones so they can’t hear the scene going on behind them. During the scene, the actors will prompt the volunteers to shout the first word out that comes to their head and the actors have to justify that word and make it part of their dialog. In “Dead Bodies,” an audience member and actor play dead while seated. Another actor later enters the scene and dies. Meanwhile, another actor serves as the puppeteer of the dead bodies, improvising the whole scene.

To celebrate Friday Night Improv’s first anniversary, on April 1st at Glenwood Square, Lawrence Manchester III will be appearing as a musical guest. There will be cake and, ice cream, as well as their best improv games and original comedy sketches.

“In a year I know the troupe will have progressed at the same rate if not faster than where we are now,” Trickey said. “We’re putting our roots down and we’re hoping to really blossom in another year.”

Manic Thunder Improv: 1st Anniversary Special

Friday , April 1st, 20118:00pm – 10:00pm
Doors open at 7:30

Special Event Admission: $7 at the door

Glenwood Square

5110 Tieton Drive