Improvisational theatre is a delightful little universe where anything goes and realism is optional. The Social Capital Theatre, just a brief walk from Broadview Station, is a dynamic space that holds a variety of classes and shows every night. Monday evenings are dedicated to 200% Vodka, a free comedy improv show that sees troupes take the stage in a risky bid for the audience’s laughter where wit and imagination are the currency of choice.
Described as both a bar and a theatre, The Social Capital serves as a spot for people to enjoy each other’s company and talent. Last Monday’s 200% Vodka and its pre-show featured a number of hilarious groups tackling a range of random topics from hockey stick advertisements to Enbridge’s tricky customer service line. Throughout the night, performers entertained the audience with scenes detailing two friends’ underwhelming journey through hell, a woman’s extramarital affair with a zombie, and another woman’s struggle with osteoporosis so bad even thoughts could crumble her bones.
Naturally, the point of improv is to go on stage with minimal, if not zero, preparation. Even so, it takes a certain amount of skill to ensure a storyline driven by the spontaneous thoughts of the actors doesn’t veer off course, beyond the boundaries of amusingly ludicrous, and into the realm of incomprehensible. So what key rules should an improviser always keep in mind?
“Saying yes, listening, and commitment to the scene,” said Miriam, a member of the student improv group, Gangles of New York. It’s easy to understand what she’s talking about. The last thing anyone in the audience or on stage wants is an awkward silence, and the quickest way to get one of those during a scene is to cop out or refuse an idea introduced by another improviser, something known as “offerings” in improvisational theatre.
The Social Capital Theatre is a cozy space and, most importantly for loud laughers like myself, welcoming to cute gigglers and obnoxious cacklers alike. The hosts keep the audience entertained and engaged with trivia in between groups, and drinks are available just a few steps away from the stage. According to pre-show host, producer, and performer, Matt McCready, the show will be going on hiatus for the rest of the year after December 7, so those wishing to participate in the spontaneity and hijinks of 200% Vodka will definitely want to haul ass to their final show of 2015 this Monday night at 7:30pm.
The Social Capital Theatre is on the second and third floor above the Black Swan Tavern. The year-end 200% Vodka will be held on the first floor (second floor of the building!) starting at 7:30pm on Monday December 7. You can follow The Social Capital Theatre on Twitter or like them on Facebook here.