Chris Anger circles the stage at Dreamland — the NuLu chapel-turned-event space — while Aaron Craker of the band Frederick the Younger plays a light, jaunty tune on the keyboard behind him. From the pews, Louisville Improviser Alec Volz shouts a single word: “Tuesday.”
Anger thinks for several seconds, before launching into a full ballad that begins:
“I woke up the way I always do/On Tuesday/ I screamed and I cried/’cause I was tired/ Tuesday comes”
He holds the note for several seconds, arm extended like an off-key Pavarotti, before launching into a second verse of sorts — all completely improvised.
Volz and Anger, who are members of the Louisville Improvisors along with Brian Hinds, are loosening up for this weekend’s return of Improvapalooza — a two-day improv comedy festival which the group produced for 13 years. They would bring in teams from all over the country, and the event eventually grew large enough to hold in the Kentucky Center’s Bomhard Theater.
It was big, wild and pretty stressful.
In fact, shortly after the last Improvapalooza three years ago, Anger had what he refers to as a “heart episode.” It was after that point, the guys knew they needed to take a break.
But now they are back — and their focus is more local this time.
“Coming back this year, that was our idea. We’d been showcasing a lot of out of town improv, but then we realized…” Volz trails off, nodding his head toward Anger who picks up where he left off:
“There’s a lot more improv in town now,” Anger says. “Certainly way more than when we first started.”
Starting Friday, Improvapalooza will present the Louisville Improvisors, as well as the local groups Lung Farm and School Pants. There’s also an all-star jam open to any improv comedians in the city.
The shows will be held at the Bard’s Town. More information is available here.