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Improv Rising: An "Improvised Comedy Theater Experiment" Coming to Wynwood

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It's summertime, and with TV's best comedies -- Parks and Recreation, anyone? -- on hiatus for what feels like forever, there's probably a serious shortage of funny in your life. Luckily, Improv Rising is about to kick off a series of classes for wannabe humorists, so you can stir up some laughs for yourself and your cynical friends.

Starting Monday at the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, actors Anthony Camilo and Peter Mir will school students on some new-style stage comedy. According to Camilo, Improv Rising is designed to take the art of improv a little more seriously. While still being seriously funny. Seriously.

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"I want to take a different approach. If you go see shows around town, it's mostly trying to tell jokes and not necessarily stick to the theatrical side of improv," Camilo says. "So I'm trying to get closer to what you'll see in Chicago, New York, or L.A., where it's seen as a more serious but still funny performing art."

Camilo has been performing improv since 2006, learning from different teachers. He's performed with the Sick Puppies troupe in Boca Raton, and has a day job as an engineer.

He and Mir, a director and performer at Impromedy and an FIU Theatre Arts graduate, decided to go in on the effort together.

"When you talk to acting teachers, many see improv as a means to an end. They see it as an exercise you can do as an actor. I see it as more than that," Camilo adds. His unique take on the art led to the birth of Improv Rising.

The classes will prep students for hour-long shows in front of an audience. And while Camilo digs standard improv shows, he sees Improv Rising's concept as a more theatrical endeavor. An "improvised comedy theater experiment," to be specific (or so says their Facebook page).

"Local improv troupes also see it as just a hobby -- getting onstage with their friends, having fun making people laugh. I have nothing against that, that we need that in Miami. Hell, that's what I did for the first five years. But I think it can be more. There's no reason you can't go to an improv show and watch a group of talented actors tell a story based on an idea you gave them in a format that looks almost scripted but is all made up."

The Improv Rising Level I class kicks off at 7 p.m. on August 12 in Suite B at the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse. The class fee is $200 per person, or $360 for two people. So bring a friend or significant other along for the ride. The classes run for six weeks, with a two-week hiatus over Labor Day. Check out their Facebook page or website for additional details.

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