Experience Manila Improv Festival 2015

I have a question for you. If dove is the bird of peace, what is the bird of true love?  Don’t know?! It’s the swallow. (insert giggles here)


As a theater performer way back in college, I have to say comedy and improvisation is one of the hardest, if not the hardest. No scripts, nothing planned. Just go with flow and have fun in every pun. Mind you, it takes a lot of focus, presence of mind , quick thinking and of course lots of humor to be able to present something really wacky (lest one dreams of being stumped for all the audience to see). But surely, there are a lot of people who can do this with enough poise and grace worthy of laughter, claps and respect.


The Improv Festival Participants
Just like the world renowned performers for the Manila Improv Festival 2015 brought to you by Silly People’s Improv Theater (SPIT) and PETA. Here, 18 of the world’s best improv groups will perform in the 3rd run of the comedy festival that has set the standard for improv performance.

 SPIT Manila
During the opening night last July 8, there were 4 groups performed. SPIT’s opening salvo utilized the Armando style of improv. Now this group is surely one worthy to be swallowed with their comic act that revolved around ‘cheerleaders’.

The cheerleaders 
One funny moment that brought the house down was when SPIT’s founder Gabe Mercado reprimanded his ‘son’ for wanting to be a cheerleader because it would eventually make him gay. Such homophobic fears of the father is understandable, since most of kid’s uncles were gay, and as it was revealed, one his aunts was actually his long lost ‘uncle’.

Let's talk about the ninja from Beijing Collective 
 The Beijing Collective brought the house down with their long form presentation that started with a question to the audience about a memorable experience…and eventually revolved around bratwurst, sauerkraut and sausages! In one of the skits, the ruthless scientist was supposed to turn the intern Jay Wang (who can make a run for Vaness Wu’s money with his looks and acting skills) into a ‘human sausage’.

The buns
 And the lab assistant-slash-help Elizabeth Ashforth will be revealed, eventually, as an intern herself will be Wang’s ‘bun’. Ash-forth was the one who shared her university life in Germany that eventually paved the way for the hilarious ‘sausage’ skit!

Taichung Improv from Taiwan
 Taichung Improv, meanwhile started their presentation by asking the audience a typical non romantic activity during a relax day like weekends. One of the audience shouted ‘fishing’ and yes, fishing indeed became the highlight of their presentation.

Fishing-fishing
They had a game where they would play the scene and the audience will decide who to eliminate and until only one will remain to re-enact the whole skit by himself. Josh Myers was never voted off and was well loved here by the crowd especially in their next skit. Here,they re-enacted a rather hilarious and never-taught-in-school ‘man’s landing on the moon’.

ImproMafia from Australia 
 A piece of Brisbane was surely experienced by the audience through the comic duo ImproMafia.
Members of the audience who participated in the skit were given ‘authentic Australian cookies’. Tagged as “Tales from the Old Country”, the duo acted as the grandparents who reminisced their love story to the audience (who are their ‘grandsons and daughters’).

Want some cookies? 
Its highlight was when ‘lola’ narrated how she got a tattoo during her younger years and asked her partner if he liked it. ‘Lolo’ lovingly remarked ‘like is a very subjective term’ to which the audience rolled into fits of laughter.

Lobby area of Manila Improv Festival
But it is not just the performers were the star of the fest. Before entering the show premises, the audience will be greeted by the traditional ‘pabitin’ with the cast members chanting ‘one chance only…only one chance!’ This is in line with the shows’ theme “Finding the game”, an affirmation of the playful nature of improvisation. Even the set and lobby design by Leeroy New takes inspiration in the ‘banderitas’ very common in Philippine ‘fiestas’. Before the show started, the audience rolled into fits of laughter with the  hilarious ‘Show Reminders’ narrated in Filipino, Mandarin, English and Gay Lingo (with the last one narrated by a very low masculine voice). Each performer was given 20 minutes, and has a live person reminder (for the remaining 2 minutes) who would easily join the skit in his own creative and funny way. Even the hosts were witty and funny enough in delivering not just the spiels but also the games and showing of merchandise.

The more fun the more laughter in the Manila Improv Festival
The opening night of Manila Improv Festival 2015 was surely fun and worthy of braving the torrential downpour. Too bad the show will run only until July 12, but the fun packed week in PETA Theater surely has enough activities for those aching for real fun and enjoys non conventional approach in theater (Audience participation is actually part of it!). Indeed, it’s more fun in the Philippines. For tickets, you may contact PETA Box Office ; 0927-391-7379 (look for Jay); Ticketworld.com.ph; 891-9999 or you may email wearespitmanila@gmail.com.

Care for another punchline?  Maybe its better if we just let the masters of #manilaimprovfest do their stuff, am sure you’d get more laughs.

More fotos of Manila Improv Festival 2015 at the fanpage of AXLPowerhouse...

Star Powerhouse Originals

Written and Review By : Erick Frago
Photos and Edited  By : Axl Guinto

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About Erick Frago
He is the season writer in the Star Powerhouse.

About Axl Guinto
He is a founder of Axl Powerhouse Group, handling magazine blog, an blogger in chief of Star Powerhouse, freelance event photographer and heritage advocate.

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