Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Update: The Taste of Heaven

I had the most astoundingly awesome time at the Del Close Marathon at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre in NYC last weekend. Over two days, I clocked about ten hours of improv viewing pleasure. My idea of heaven! Although the yumminess is all a blur of quick wits, awe-inspiring retorts and great belly laughs, some shining moments burn brightly in my mind: Jenni’s happy face and “Baby Wants Candy.” Oh, and “First Date.” Can’t forget that.

Starting in the middle, the improv troupe “Baby Wants Candy” create a rock musical on the spot. Musical improv always makes my jaw drop (DC’s “iMusical” was another stand-out,) but these guys are true artists. And, yes, that guy who plays Kenneth the page in “30 Rock” (Jack McBrayer) was in it. Baby Wants Candy is the closest thing to authentic magic you’ll ever see on stage. Check them out: www.babywantscandy.com. Go see them if you can. You’ll thank me.

But then there was so much amazing improv kickin it on Sunday, particularly from 1:30pm on at UCB, like Scheer-McBrayer, Omelette Vision, Let’s Have a Ball. Delta Force (where the part of Rob Riggle was performed by Jason Mantzoukas) deteriorated wonderfully into a hilarious water fight on stage. My new heartthrob is Becky Drysdale. She was in Three on One (“Three Lesbians ... and One Very Scared Straight Girl”) and Baby Wants Candy. She can improvise AND sing! Sigh. That woman is an improvising goddess

Moving on.

“First Date” is described as “Join Jason Mantzoukas (Baby Mama, We Used to Go Out, Mother) and Jessica St. Clair (ABC's In the Motherhood, We Used to Go Out, Mother), the duo Variety called "the next Nichols and May," as they improvise their way through a series of first dates. It's a 30-minute single scene experiment in finding love. How many bad dates have you been on? Trust us – these will be worse.” But Ms. St. Clair was absent, so her partner turned to the audience for a replacement. The Goddess of Comedy must have been smiling down on me that day because I was the lucky girl who got to have a first date with Jason Mantzoukas on stage in front of 400 sweaty people for thirty glorious minutes. Because I’m trying to keep this blog PG-13, I won’t go into much detail here about our improvised conversation, though if you invite me out for tea, I’ll be only too happy to give you all the steamy particulars. I’ll say this, if you ever have an opportunity to go out with Jason Mantzoukas, take it. As for me, I never want to go on another date that doesn’t involve being on a stage in a major improv theater. I have tasted heaven.

Last and most, the weekend in New York afforded me the opportunity to leisurely reunite with my old pal Jenni. In 7th grade, Jenni and I used to stomp around school in our Sassoon jeans and Candy clogs singing “Look at me, I’m Sandra Dee! Lousy with virginity. Won’t go to bed til I’m legally wed. I can’t I’m Sandra Dee-hee-hee!” Thanks to the glory of Facebook, Jenni and I have been enjoying much virtual singing, but this was the first chance in over two decades to spend a significant amount of time face to face. I’m not sure what to attribute this gift to – our connection at Roeper School, a magical place certainly, or perhaps it was timing, or just plain luck – but being with Jenni was pure, effortless joy. I hope you are lucky enough to have at least one person in your life with whom you feel absolutely comfortable being with. Months or years can go by, but once you see them again it’s like you just pick right up where you left off. These friendships are gifts. Re-finding a friend like that in Jenni, especially at my age, is a triple special gift from heaven. One that I will treasure for sure.

1 comment:

  1. To see photos of First Date, check out the post "Update: From the Back Room Blog."