Improv -- the kind you see on Whose Line Is It Anyway? -- was born in Italy in the 1500s. In those days, it was called commedia dellarte. A troupe of 10 would get together on a street and play out a scene without a script and with only a few props. They welcomed donations from onlookers. The performances tended to be about the great plebian themes: adultery, old age, jealousy, and love. The actors often wore masks, making them forerunners to the modern clown.
Flash-forward to the 20th Century, when improvisational acting was revived after a long dormancy and flourished in comedy clubs. Drew Carey and his cohorts popularized the medium, and local groups continued the Italian tradition. One such club in Miami is training the ordinary citizen, and if you think youve got a knack for being funny on the fly, its worth checking out. Tonight at 7:30, Just the Funny kicks off a seven-week course in Improv. Participation costs $200, and thats a bargain when you consider the whole world is an ongoing improvised scenario. There are limited spaces. Call 305-693-8669, or visit www.justthefunny.com.
Thu., March 6, 2008