It’s been three years since Washington Improv Theater last staged “Improvapalooza,” its annual five-day festival.
The event offers a mix of tried-and-true favorites and one-of-a-kind offerings, including those that “explore wild show ideas,” using the festival as a laboratory for long-form improv experiments.
Nearly 200 shows, all with run times between 2 and 15 minutes and performed back-to-back as nonstop programming, are on tap.
Improvapalooza 2022 will also be the last one held at the Source Theater, as WIT will search for a new home after the festival due to a disagreement with administrators of the city-run space that has served as the company’s theater home since 2008.
There are a handful of explicitly LGBTQ highlights, including “Gays Do It Better,” in which a gay male improv ensemble works to prove the show’s title when it comes to something, anything you do with a group of friends (8/26); “The Ultimate Queer Game Show,” a quick round of queer trivia between two competing teams (8/26); “The Gang’s All Queer,” devising a gay sitcom on the spot that features a large cast in which everyone — except for one — is queer (8/27); “GayPornProv,” featuring a team of gay improvisers taking audience suggestions to flesh out a specific scenario implied by this bro-y premise, “No way, bro, I’d neeever go see THAT show. I mean, like, I guess I’ve been curious about it once or twice…” (8/27); and “PANdemiSEXual presents: ReMake,” in which a cast of LGBTQ improvisers, expert at transforming any movie into a queer rom-com, are prompted to do so with a suggestion from the audience of a non-romcom movie (8/27).
Other shows include “I Love Loosely: The Improvised Sitcom,” in which a cast concocts a theme song and commercials for a sitcom on the fly; “Hellcat Presents: Helpcat,” featuring the Hellcat ensemble with solutions to the audience’s problems; “Takeoff: The Full Story of an Untrue Travel Story,” promising the creation of “a millennial teen drama right before your eyes,” especially geared to those still pining for Seth Cohen or Chad Michael Murray; and “Clue(less),” described as “a murder mystery that the audience must solve” (8/24).
Thursday offers “Tailor Swift,” centered on improvisers creating montages out of Taylor Swift lyrics drawn at random from a hat, all while wearing their best recreations of iconic Swift looks; “The Golden Gals,” described as “the first and last viewing of a lost episode of The Golden Girls“; “A to Et-C It,” a riff on the type of finds one might find on Etsy; and “Quit Clowning Around,” in which those improvisers who break character and giggle get pied (8/25).
The attractions on Friday include “Fortune Cookie,” with a cast of improvisers following the sage advice of random fortune cookies; “(Y)Our Town Presents: Yarr Town,” focused on a seafaring crew of improvising pirates who “wax poetic on the importance of their most prized buried treasure”; “Your Worst Nightmare,” featuring improvisers acting out everyday anxieties as suggested by the audience; “AImprov,” in which one improv scene partner responds using AI while the other uses their own noggin, in a quest to see if the audience can “determine which interaction is real and which is AI”; “uChoosical,” a choose-your-own adventure with audience participation from the expert off-the-cuff musical-makers in the iMusical ensemble; “Not So Good Sabbath,” with a cast performing an improvised Shabbat service; and a series of post-midnight Late Night Bits, including “CSI Miami-Prov: Crime and PUNishment (Season 7),” “Pikachu: Licensed Therapist,” “Fart-A-Thon: A WIT Fundraiser,” “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Blankety Blank Blank,” “We Want DC Statehood-prov,” and “Hot Sauce Show” (8/26).
Saturday includes “No Words,” described as “see what happens when words fail… or disappear completely”; “Second Hand History,” offering a slice of “history, told through very blurry eyes”; “Follow the Lisa Presents: HIIT Happens,” or “what happens when a High-Intensity Improv Team does High-Intensity Interval Training on stage while performing”; “Twilight Zone,” a show “inspired by the brilliant, beautiful written words of the Twilight saga”; “Da Friends and Dafoes,” described as, “Your favorite episode of Friends, as interpreted by a cast of Willem Dafoes and directed by Lars Von Trier”; “On Tap,” featuring experienced tap dancers who try their hand at improv while shuffling around; “An Acapella Disney Adventure,” a musical with favorite Disney songs performed “acapella in the most unlikely places”; and “Florida Headlines!,” riffing on “the latest crazy stories from the panhandle state” with guesses on how things all went down (8/27).
The final day offers “Prop Swap,” or “what happens when you have too many props and not enough space”; “What’s Your (Horror)scope?,” when your horoscope goes wrong; “The Freshmakers 1-3,” improvised Mentos commercials based on realistic problems; “Sábado Picante: Choose Your Own Adventure,” an improvised telenovela; “Two Babushkas,” in which two improvising “grannies from Eastern Europe react to their strange and confusing new home in D.C.”; and “2-Person TV,” described as “a TV with all of the channels performed by the same two people — come flip through the catalog.” (8/28)
“Improvapalooza” is Wednesday, Aug. 24 and Thursday, Aug. 25, from 7:30 p.m. to midnight, Friday, Aug. 26, from 7:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 27, from noon to 1 a.m., and Sunday, Aug. 28, from noon to 8 p.m. The Source Theatre, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $15 per night, or $55 for a 5-Night All-Palooza Pass. Visit www.witdc.org or call 202-204-7741.
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!