Austin improvisers entertain audience in Fan Fiction Fandom

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Peter Rogers and March Majcher are improv troupe performers for the Fan Fiction Fandom Show, a series of audience interactive comedy shows at the Hideout Theatre.

Photo Credit: Debby Garcia | Daily Texan Staff

The cast of “Fandom” at the Hideout Theatre has been shape shifting into diverse, fictional worlds for the past five Saturdays. By becoming characters of popular culture, the Fandom cast performs an entirely different show every week. One week, the world was “Batman;” the next week was “Hunger Games” themed. There are no scripts and no plans — only improv. 

“Fandom: Improvised Fan Fiction in your Favorite Worlds,” is performed in an intimate theater where the audience is extremely involved. 

“Improv is unique as an art because it’s super immediate and audience interactive,” co-director Andy Crouch said. “So I think it can hit an audience in a way that theater doesn’t necessarily, because it’s scripted and has set things that have to happen.”

In the “Classic Nintendo” show, the improviser had to manage surprising twists to the skit at the yell of “Pause!” from any audience member, which would cause the improvisers to freeze and change their scene according to the audience member’s suggestion, no matter what it was.     

“One of the best things about this show specifically, is with the way it’s structured. We have no idea what’s going to happen,” said Mark Majcher, one of the Fandom improvisers. “And that’s true of any improv, but this show specifically we are encouraged to completely break free and do whatever we feel will be the most fun and in the moment; because we have absolutely no idea what will go on next. It’s scary and super fun.”    

During one segment of the show, a member of the audience was called to the stage to act as a princess on a dating show. “Where would you take me on our first date?” the princess asked, and three classic Nintendo characters answered her question with hilarious results. 

Fandom improviser, Halyn Erickson, said the show has become more than just comedy for her fellow
cast members. 

“A beautiful thing about this show is that not only do we get to be these characters, in these worlds that we love so much, we get to be with like-minded nerds, and now we have this common thing we can all do together,” Erickson said. 

The Fandom cast said that improv bonded them together in a way that everyday activities
couldn’t have. 

While members of the cast have participated in many other improv shows, the improvisers agreed Fandom is both exceptionally different and tremendously enjoyable. While one improviser dressed as Mario and spoke with an Italian accent, another improviser wore pink tights and fainted to the ground as Princess Peach. Each transitioned from different characters with each new skit such as: Wario and Boo, Yoshi and Link and many others. Fandom improviser, Aaron Saenz, feels this is what makes Fandom special.

“I think you spend your whole life wanting to be these characters, and in the show, you actually get to be these characters,” Saenz said.

After intermission, the Fandom cast offered three different story ideas for a skit that would last the entire second half. The audience members picked the third option presented to them — “Who killed Princess Peach?”. Unfolding in a hilariously shocking way, even Crouch joined in as well, assisting in the murder mystery. 

“This is the first time this show has ever been done. We got inspired because we want to create shows that are thrilling for audiences,” Crouch said. “We wanted something that was using those loved characters and getting as much audience feedback and participation as possible.” 

The Fandom show will be improvised live Feb. 9, 16 and 23 at 8 p.m., with the respective themes: “Star Wars,” “Harry Potter” and audience choice for the last week.

Printed on Thursday, February 7, 2013 as: Improv tackles fan favorites