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InstaPlay The Universe

Remaining performances: Wednesday, July 23 @ 7 PM; Friday, July 25 @ 10 PM

They say: “InstaPlay is an improvised one act play. No props. No costumes. No Script. You write the first line, and we’ll make up the rest. Right there. On the spot. Our story takes place in [location] where every day [main character] begins [his/her daily routine]. InstaPlay. Instant Gratification.”

Marianka’s take: First, full disclosure: I am a director and practitioner of movement and multimedia improvisation (though obviously not of this group). I love the form and know how challenging it is. The beautiful part, for both the performers and the audience, is walking that tightrope and taking those risks.

On Saturday, the members of 5-6-7-8 stayed on the tightrope with aplomb.

Before the show, the audience was asked to write some trigger words on cards. The cast, of fascinatingly varied shapes and sizes, picked one at random and created hilarious characters, situations, and relationships within a story of a human trip to Mars, the Martians being less than pleased.

The ensemble was obviously having fun tuning into each other and rolling with the punches. To varying degrees they were fast on the pickup and facile with dialog (often multilog—two scenes playing simultaneously or overlapping), although I did wish for more character in the way of defined movement during static conversations and confrontations (beyond the fake face-slapping).

You will not see this play when you go. What you will see is 5-6-7-8’s balancing act of on-the-fly decisions and in-the-moment reactions to a spontaneous dramatic situation. There’s no doubt they’ll be having fun while doing it.

In scripted plays every nuance must to be carefully crafted and shaped. In improvisational performance, as in life, we all take our chances. When it works it is a satisfying conversation. And even when it doesn’t.

A scientist might say, “there is no such thing as a failed experiment; we learn something from any outcome.”

See it if: You’re a cultural risk-taker.

Skip it if: You’re afraid of failing.