The Improsarios pride themselves on doing improv that’s not just comedic. Their show The Trilogy takes audience suggestions to create three short plays in an hour—some serious, some comic, some a little bit of both. While The Trilogy lags in places and could benefit from actually using the audience suggestions a bit more, the group is skilled, fairly effortless, and clearly passionate about what they do.
After taking a number of suggestions for themes, the Improsarios decided they liked the theme ‘freedom’ best and went with that, though they managed to work in references to a few of the rejects- the first play took place in space, another of the suggested themes. Still, I was hoping they’d get all of them in. While the first short piece about some astronauts, their shipboard computer and a pesky alien had some amusing moments, it was rather low energy. The spaceship setting did provide a chance for the Improsarios’ excellent technicians to show off their own improv skills in a teleporting sequence. The next sketch, a serious piece about a man returning home from prison, was very well played, but something about improvised drama doesn’t quite work. You find yourself focusing more on what people are going to say next than what they are actually saying. The suspense of live improv distracts from the story onstage.
Improvised comedy certainly isn’t easy and trying to improvise a well-written drama with relatable human characters is nearly impossible. The short sketch format and audience suggestions don’t really lend themselves to world class drama, though the Improsarios are all fine actors and improvisers and only occasionally trip themselves up. They could do with rotating the cast members’ stage time a little more. One Improsario played leading roles in two of the sketches and I found myself wanting to see more of what the others could do. The last sketch of the evening, a delightfully absurdist bit about a burglary gone horribly wrong, was a bit muddled at the beginning but resolved itself with a darkly comic conclusion. The Improsarios are good at what they do, but there is a lot of improv out there and on this particular night they weren’t terribly outstanding.
This is a well done show with a lot of polish and potential. Perhaps this particular night was just low energy and it’s true that the suggestions provided weren’t the greatest. The Improsarios are talented and it’s evident that they really enjoy what they do. Semi-serious improv isn’t for everyone, but it’s certainly interesting and The Trilogy is fairly enjoyable.