Binging on Laughs: WIT offers a new summer improv festival full of funny spoofs

“We’ve been rehearsing dramatic pauses,” Dan Miller says, “and looking forlornly off into the distance to get that daytime soap aesthetic down.”

Miller is part of the Washington Improv Theater ensemble King Bee, which is preparing the improvised soap opera spoof The Stingers and the Stung. That’s just one show among many to come over the next few weeks during WIT’s summer improv event Binge. “Just like people stay inside and binge-watch Netflix, we wanted people to binge on improv,” Miller says.

King Bee: The Stingers and the Stung  Photo by C Stanley Photography

King Bee: The Stingers and the Stung
Photo by C Stanley Photography

Another highlight at WIT’s inaugural Binge is The Improvised Housewives of DC, presented by the relatively new all-gay ensemble Ugh — “pronounced like, Ugh, can you believe it?” This spoof on the Real Housewives reality-TV series features, as Miller explains, “really funny guys…doing some messy female drag,” acting out some on-the-spot comedy based on the premise. “They’re rich, they’re fabulous and they can’t stand each other.”

The crowd-pleasing improvised musical team iMusical will take audience suggestions based on Craigslist’s Missed Connections — the wilder, the better — to create an all-new musical UnMissed Connections. And Commonwealth presents Sitcommonwealth, a spoof of formulaic ’80s sitcoms like The Cosby Show that will include opening credits, commercials and an elaborate set for what Miller says “is going to be one of the most tech-heavy shows we’ve ever done.”

All told Binge features six WIT ensembles, made up, as Miller puts it, of “everything from professional actors to government employees…who moonlight as improv performers,” all students or graduates of WIT’s popular training program. “More than 1,000 people every year are taking classes with us,” he marvels. That’s plenty of jokes to go around.

WIT’s BINGE runs weekends to Aug. 10. Source Theater, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $12 online in advance, or $15 at the door per show, or a five-show “BINGE-watcher” pass for $40. Call 202-204-7770 or visit washingtonimprovtheater.com.

Doug Rule is a theater critic and contributing editor for Metro Weekly.

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