Olympia Improv Collective

by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS

The Olympia Improv Collective is producing its first show Sunday, and the group of 10 experienced improvisers already has big plans. Mark Alford and Vanessa Postil — both often seen on local stages and both formerly of Something Wicked, Harlequin Productions’ now-defunct improv troupe — and friends aim to build a thriving improv scene. “We’re not the Olympia Improv Troupe, where it’s just about us,” said Sara Geiger, a former member of Generation Friends, an improv group at The Evergreen State College. “We’re a collective. We’re part of the community. We want to reach out and start an improv scene for everyone.”

The only regular improv instruction currently available in the area is at Olympia Family Theater, where Postil teaches classes for youth. The collective aims to target adults — actors, comedians and complete novices alike. “One goal we have is to host regular ‘open gym’ workshops,” said Alford, who founded Something Wicked. “The aim is to provide consistent opportunities for anyone to come play, regardless of experience.”

Olympia Improv focuses on long-form improv, taking audience suggestions as a starting point and exploring one situation in depth for 15 minutes. “As a theater actor, I like that,” said Geiger, who’s been acting in a touring production of The Incredible Undersea Trial of Joseph P. Lawnboy with Open Road Productions. “You get to develop that delicious character arc.”

The collective, which debuted in May at Generation Friends’ Improlympia comedy festival, is also planning to perform regularly and is looking for a venue and time slot. Other members are Ariel Birks, Sierra Ditmar, Taylor Dow, Marla Grugett, Andrew Helsing, Luke McCann and Ry Pruett.

What: Hello, World

Where: The Midnight Sun Performance Space,
113 Columbia St. NW, Olympia

When: 6 p.m. Sunday, July 16

How much: $5

Get tickets: TAO | Facebook