by Geno Thackara
Peanut butter and chocolate. Boardwalks and ice cream. Pizza with honey (shut up, it’s great). Some things just naturally belong together – and of course we can’t forget that timeless combo: horror and comedy. If you’ve ever spent a goofy night with friends making fun of some random awful movie, or you just have a soft spot for classic Plan 9 from Outer Space pulp, you understand the idea. So do the wacky folks at the Philly Improv Theater. They’ve got fun and games going on at the Adrienne in Center City all year round, but as All Hallows’ Eve approaches, it’s time to enjoy the weird and the spooky.
PHIT shows are generally long-form improv, which is a bit different from the sketch-style games you’d see on Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Rather than a series of small rounds with rules, they take one initial idea from the audience and spin it into an entire plot. Your group could start out acting like mermaids and end up firing imaginary laser guns across the stage half an hour later. Or if it’s part of the B-movie scares of STAY DEAD!, they might be more likely to face killer tapeworms or a giant man-eating eggplant. Nobody can tell. You can throw out a suggestion at the start if you’re fast and loud enough; after that it’s all out of control.
The company has been going strong for a decade, running comedy shows every month and making a part of the yearly Fringe Festival. The shows sometimes include audience games if you’re curious to try it out yourself sometime. For a further step they offer classes in improv, sketch writing or stand-up. For the next couple weeks, though, the main attraction is a chance to see why the Halloween show has been a highlight of their calendar for five years now. Whatever the case, be ready to roll with anything and just possibly be scared silly.
What: STAY DEAD! – An Improvised Horror Comedy
Where: the Adrienne Theater at 2030 Sansom Street
When: 7:30 PM on October 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 29th; 7:30 and midnight on the 30th and 31st
How much: $10 (advance)/$12 (at the door)