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Zenprov: “Undercover Comedy”
Where’s that spooky laughter coming from? Look no further than Zenprov Comedy’s “Undercover Comedy” on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 pm at the Mary Fisher Theater in Sedona.
Using short fiction known as the “two-sentence horror story” as their inspiration, the eight-member cast of Zenprov Comedy will take their audience on improvised funny, bloody rollercoaster ride through the darkest parts of the imagination.
“The Internet is full of dozens of very good two-sentence horror story anthologies where writers try to out do each other with creepy tales in just a few words. What I love most about these short, short stories is they set the scene for so much to come that we, as improvisers, can explore and play with,” said Derek Dujardin, the director of Zenprov Comedy.
As an example, Dujardin offers up one of this favorite stories written by an anonymous author that was posted on a Reddit list with the handle JustAnotherMuffledVO. Here it is:
I begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, “Daddy check for monsters under my bed.” I look underneath for his amusement and see him—another him—under the bed, staring back at me quivering and whispering, “Daddy, there’s somebody on my bed.”
“If that simple story doesn’t creep you out, you should check yourself for a pulse,” remarked Dujardin. He also warns that some of the two-sentence horror stories can be quite twisted and very disturbing, so the show may not be suitable for children or those who are easily offended by dark material.
In order to keep the show completely improvised for the actors, the troupe has enlisted their friends to pull two-sentence horror stories off the Internet, print them out and put them into a box. Troupe members will randomly pulled from this “box of horror”, read a story aloud to the audience, and then launch into fresh improvisation based on that story. The stories might be re-enacted verbatim and then continued forward in time, or just an element of the story maybe used to create something entirely different from what was read. The stories maybe be funny—or serious frightening. “We’re letting go of idea of stories having to take a funny turn—so be warned—things could get dark, gory and gruesome,” added Dujardin.
Mr. Patrick Schweiss, Executive Director of the Sedona International Film Festival has called, “Zenprov is the best comedy troupe in Arizona. People were laughing so hard at their last show their cheeks were hurting.”
Zenprov Comedy has been compared to the Drew Carey TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” where experienced improvisers perform fast-paced comedic scenes created in the moment based on audience suggestions. Unlike sketch or standup comedy, nothing is scripted or rehearsed beforehand.
Zenprov Comedy embraces the Del Close method of improv acting, which emphasizes the “group mind” that mysteriously develops during a performance. Miraculously, the player’s minds fuse together to create a “super mind” where they practically finish each other’s sentences—and often do. Laughter ensues.
The super minds of Zenprov are Derek Dujardin, Shaeri Richards, Chris Redish, Shaunn Cochran, Betty Testa, Linda Roemer and Mary Carder. Zenprov’s August and September performance both sold out, so please purchase tickets early.
Tickets are $12 in advance; $15 at the door. Shows are PG-13 and run approximately 90 minutes. Visit www.ZenprovComedy.com to learn more.