Awesome Team Productions’ Percolator Sock Raiser: A Benefit for the Durham Rescue Mission — performed one time only, on Saturday, Nov. 28th, at Common Ground Theatre in Durham — consisted of Master Class students of Wild Mind Improv with Anoo Tree Brod, the Estesstentials (a high school group), Fatmouth Improv (introduced as the hardest-working improv group from northwest Durham ), and Third Date.
Patrons, fans, and perhaps others contributed a huge box of socks and $1,022 for the Durham Rescue Mission, whose representative, Paul Skiles, told us shelters over 400 men, women, and children; provides 50 transition houses for families; assists needy people in finding jobs, getting education, vocational training, and addiction rehabilitation; and feeds over 1,500 on Thanksgiving Day.
The efforts of these four groups to both entertain and loosen up a few bucks was well worth all their hard work.
They used mostly standard improv techniques such as calling for themes or occupations or character descriptions to involve the audience directly in the scenarios presented and then doing individualized riffs incorporating those offerings.
Generally, the coordination was fine throughout, with lots of harkenings to prior beats, and themes being held and developed as the action progressed. The Master Class were fast with the uptake and smooth at gliding into the next beat. Their variety of character choices was amusing in itself and mostly well done. They had no fear of touching on awkward topics, such as abortion and confessing love for someone.
Moving focus is a skill in improv, and the Estesstentials were excellent at tossing the ball around while moving bodies around as well. The beat about the conversational faux pas, in which “unzip your genes” was misunderstood, was delightful and clever. The spontaneity sparkled. A dentist’s-office scenario provoked enormous laughter, and the tension was close to palpable during the family Thanksgiving dinner in which it would be revealed that one person at the table was adopted.
Fatmouth Improv did their piece in “long form, location” in which they were offered “I hate when someone brings a computer to the staff meeting.” This developed into a complicated story line of a dysfunctional office and various power plays.
Third Date gave a continued polished performance involving some deeper-than-skin observations on relationships, including a girl introducing her lesbian lover — whose name is sexually ambiguous — to her unknowing parents, and a single mother introducing her two teen daughters to her boyfriend.
Although this was a purposed one-night show, these four groups can be seen in the Triangle area and are well worth the trip to wherever they are playing. “Percolators” at Common Ground Theatre are produced by Awesome Team Productions, which is made up of Dan Sipp, Alan Goldstein, Common Ground Theatre executive director Shelby Hahn, and Anoo Tree Brod.
PERCOLATOR SOCK RAISER: A BENEFIT FOR THE DURHAM RESCUE MISSION (Awesome Team Productions, Nov. 28 at Common Ground Theatre in Durham).
SHOW: http://cgtheatre.com/events and https://www.facebook.com/events/1634286016832493/.
VENUE: http://www.cgtheatre.com/, https://www.facebook.com/cgtheatre, and https://twitter.com/CGTheatre919.
[RUN HAS CONCLUDED.]
Martha Keravuori is a life-long theater artist — an actress, director, and stage manager — in North Carolina, around the country, and overseas. She has a theater degree from UNC-Greensboro, and has been active in the arts in Raleigh for the past 40 years. Martha is the retired executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Chuck Galle returned to Raleigh last year after a 17-year absence. He was active in community theater for many years, and directed the troupe of maximum-security inmates at Raleigh’s Central Prison known as the Central Prison Players. In New England, he performed on stage, on TV, and in films. He is the author of Stories I Never Told My Daughter — An Odyssey, which can be ordered on his website: http://www.chuckgalle.com/. Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori review theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. Click here to read more of their reviews for Boom! Magazine and here to read more of their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.