Monday, March 10, 2008

I messed up

Last week I got a very nice email from one of the folks who have launched Cousin Sheckie, a new long-form improv troupe. Some very familiar folks in the local theater scene are members of the new troupe. They had their first shows (I think) last week and I had said I would post something to that effect. Well, I didn't because a) I was lost in end-of-week, getting Spring Breakers out of town activities and b) I'm an idiot.

So sorry Sheckies (I love the name, BTW). I'll do better next time, I promise. In the meantime, please check out the Cousin Sheckie website and watch the myriad YouTube videos they've done. It's not quite like seeing them live, but it's the next best thing.

2 comments:

Stephen Ryan said...

Aw, Dave. ;)
Thanks for posting this, sir. Better late than never, right? Many thanks for your kind words.

We Sheckians are mighty grateful for the support we've had from folks in the RVA theatre pantheon. For a completely new group offering a somewhat obscure product (long form improvisation), we could have easily crashed and burned. Fortunately, we instead managed a very successful opening weekend at Comedy Sportz Improv Theatre. Some Richmond comedy groups have dabbled in long form improv over the years, and still do. However, most are not usually acclimated to a 90 to 120 min. presentation of only that.

Audiences were surprisingly receptive, but might not have been there at all were it not for the efforts of some very mentionable folks:

- Lisa Kotula and Richmond Marquee (Check out this month's edition for our front-page article!)
- Mary Burruss and Style Weekly
- The invaluable e-mail correspondence of such great ladies as Robyn O'Neill, Courtney Bishop, and Jackie Jones.
- David Timberline and the Richmond Theatre Blog (wink, wink).
- The producers and production staff of the WTVR Morning Show. (Did any of you peeps see on the air this past Friday morning?)
- Todd Schall-Vess and the Byrd Theatre, who coordinated our teaser performance at the Richmond Official Oscar Night party last month.
- Christine Walters and her delightful staff and ensemble of players at Comedy Sportz.

Some of our Sheckie players are quite experienced at improv, while others literally began their exploration of it in this group alone. Curiously enough though, all of our players are theatrically-inclined first and foremost, which is not often the case. Amy Berlin, Abby Davis-Hess, and Jonathan Hardison are theatre actors with substantial roots in Comedy Sportz and other professional improv groups in Richmond. I think it did Comedy Sportz audiences and improvisers a great deal of good to see these three veterans on stage again in this format. Peter Schmidt and myself were, for lack of better words, the newbies to improv. With the support and guidance of our wonderful fellow players, we managed to find our way nonetheless. Justin Deming, a current Theatre VCU undergraduate and the youngest member of the group, is quite a charmer who we will all definitely be seeing more of.

In particular, Richmond audiences should be especially happy to see the return of Jason Sawyer to our stage. After having been one of our most in-demand young actors prior to 2000 and quite the "wunderkind" during his time, Jason left Richmond after graduating from Theatre VCU to pursue professional improv and theatre in Chicago. Upon his return to Richmond to obtain his MFA in social work, he very graciously incepted this group last year.

We've been having a blast exploring long form improv together. Thankfully, our opening this past weekend gave us hope for future performances.

So, all that being said: stay tuned for more details. We do believe that Cousin Sheckie is here to stay!

And thank you, Dave (and Mary, too) for making this means of communicating to our people possible!

Jonathan said...

Wow! Thanks for the nice plug Stephen! And Dave, too, of course.