See some of the area's top improv theater performers and maybe take a turn on stage in a special Improv Playworks show this week.
"An Evening of Storytelling and Play" is presented free at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, at Village Books, 1200 11th St. in Fairhaven. The approximately one-hour program is perfect for audiences who have never seen an improv performance or for those who want to give improv a whirl, said Sheila Goldsmith, founder and director of Improv Playworks.
"We'll be doing a variety of our very story-oriented things for people to come to watch," said Goldsmith, whose group offers classes and improv workshops. She works with people of all ages, from children to groups of people in their 80s.
"It's about creating a setting where we feel safe, supported and inspired to create on the spot," Goldsmith said. "There's something kind of magic" about it.
Goldsmith said eight to 10 of the group's more seasoned players will perform on the main floor at the bookstore. Seats will be set up for the audience, she said. It's the second time Improv Playworks has performed at Village Books.
In addition to improv performances, there will be improv-related games, exercises and activities - all designed to spur playful creative energy, she said. The atmosphere will be family-friendly and children are encouraged, Goldsmith said.
She described a game in which flash cards with printed phrases are used to prompt an audience into telling an impromptu story. A card might say, "Once upon a time ..." and an audience member fills in the blank with a phrase such as, "There was a dog named Rex." The next card might say "And every day ..." and another audience member adds to the tale.
"We're basically using our imaginations to create a story on the spot. It's a team effort. ... and we have fun while doing it," she said. "It uses plot development, storytelling and character study. It's just created on the spot."
Toward the end of the program, audience members will be invited on stage, Goldsmith said.
"It's not something where people have to be worried about being drug up on stage," she said. "We hope that people will want to come up and join us. Kids love to run up and do that."
ROBERT MITTENDORF is a Herald copy editor and page designer. Suggest your ideas for local family-friendly events or day trips at 360-756-2805 or at email@example.com.