Saturday, January 12, 2019

Meet the Knights of Improv

The quest for comedy continues as The Knights of Improv are ready to return to the Canyon Theatre Guild once again.

I've been dabbling in theatre games ever since my friend Pat Mannion started hosting workshops at the CTG. Actually, I dabbled long before in high school -- but that seems centuries ago now. Back then, instead of experimenting with drugs or alcohol, I experimented with drama.

I've been facilitating the workshops for a while now, and I feel so blessed to work with these folks. To give you a glimpse of how wonderful they are, here's a grainy photo I took when Mackenzie was at the hospital, coping with severe inflammation of her spine.

That's Thomas Carbone, one of the Knights who won't be able to make it to this weekend's adventure. But there he is performing, along with many other Knights, bringing a smile to my daughter's face while we make fools of ourselves. 

That night meant so much to me and my family. Mackenzie was learning how to adjust to a walker and getting used to the idea of a wheelchair. She was very sad earlier that day. Scared for her future too. We've heard the cliche about laughter being the best medicine. Well, it sure seemed to help this night, not just because the Knights performed for her, but because Mackenzie actually rolled up in her wheelchair and performed with us! 

A Quick Mackenzie Update: Check out that grin! She has been walking on her own for several weeks now. We feel so thankful for this turn of events, and cannot thank friends for their continued support. Mackenzie still experiences back pain and numbness; an upcoming MRI will give us more information... But we are hoping that miracles continue to happen and that a full recovery is on its way. She is anxious to exercise again! The doctors say: no running, surfing, or martial arts. But they didn't say anything about Improv. So, guess what! Mackenzie makes her debut as a Knight this Saturday Night! 

Who else will be there? 

Jeremiah True (above in the gray shirt) will be bringing his quick wit and wild characters. Mackenzie and Jeremiah have been dating for over two years now, and I cannot thank him enough for all of his kindness and support he's been providing my daughter through these tough times. He's a great guy. And as for improv, his skills get stronger with every workshop. 

Scott Sandler (in the Star Wars shirt) is amazing at free-style rapping and he brings his lyrical cleverness to many of our theater games. (You may have seen him at the CTG as Graffitti Pete from In the Heights of Sam Wainwright in It's a Wonderful Life. He seems to have a habit of playing supporting roles in which the character swoops in to save the day at the end. Hopefully he'll save us too!

Marcus Langston, master of the dry comeback lines, won't be here. He's off visiting Hogwarts. But Kelly Nicole will make her world premiere as a Knight. She has been learning and growing during the workshops, I am excited to see how she does in front of an audience! 

As will the saucy Ms. Jane Arnett who goes straight for a laugh the way Cujo goes for a mailman. I don't have a photo from our Improv workshops, but I rather like this snapshot from last year's Rex's Exes. Literally breath taking. 

The amazingly talented Nancy Lantis was originally going to be our special guest (because she's one of the stars of the upcoming Steel Magnolias). However, after she attended many of our workshops, I feel so fortunate that way can say she has enlisted as a full fledged Knight! 

Kirsten Rast seems very innocent and young. But don't let that fool you. She often plays hilariously devious characters (and she's actually 58 years old.) She's also got a strong musical theater background which is going to help us during our brand new music-themed games. 

Speaking of music, our resident musical genius Jennifer Teague will be performing with us. She has not only agreed to play improvised compositions for us, but she's even willing to step center stage and play some of our theater games. I am so thrilled to have her expertise enhance the show. 

The wise and white-haired Barry Agin (who is actually 23 years old) will be returning to the Knights of Improv. He is the master of one-liners. As I like to say, only one person inside the theater knows what Barry's going to say next. (And it's not Barry!)

Finally, we have Josh Aran, another Knightly debut. He made a guest appearance during our first performance in which he played the game PROPS, and he hit home runs with every gag. The man is funny -- and a pure joy to work with.

Well, I think that covers everybody. Except me. But I don't have a photo of me performing Improv. However, I do have another snapshot of me at the Cat Cafe. This is shortly after allergies got the best of me. 

If you live in the Santa Clarita /  Los Angeles Area, I hope to see you tonight at the Knights of Improv! 

8pm at the Canyon Theatre Guild. Call for tickets: 661-799-2702

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