'Creatures' face off this week | March 15, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |


Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - March 15, 2013

'Creatures' face off this week

Teen improv troupe offering four evenings of creative fun

Creatures of Impulse, the popular 26-member teen improv troupe, is presenting Improv Face Off this week, based loosely on on a Hunger Games-styled theme. Three different performances are taking place at the Firehouse Arts Center after a preview Wednesday night, with each one unique and featuring a different guest opponent troupe.

"The great thing about improv and its inclusive and supportive ideals is the universal appeal it has -- improv is all about listening, supporting, saying 'yes' and together creating something from nothing," said Director Mark Duncanson.

Each night of this week's performances, Creatures of Impulse are facing off with another improv team, performing seven to nine rounds per night, with one game or scene per round. After each round, the teams are presenting the audience with a "wall of prizes," and an audience member is randomly selected to choose a prize from a performer. Points are awarded and the games continue, the goal being to foster interactions between troupes.

Livermore Valley Charter Prep's High School Improv Team was onstage Wednesday for a free preview show; Think Fast from Granada High School was on Thursday; and Improv the Nation from Dublin High School is tonight. Tomorrow night the Creatures of Impulse will perform with a professional troupe, The Un-Scripted Theater Company from San Francisco. All shows are at 7:30 p.m.

Creatures of Impulse has grown from its beginnings in 2006 as part of the city of Pleasanton's Haunted House Performance Class, into the respected, award-winning teen improv program it is today.

"All kinds of kids perform in Creatures of Impulse," Duncanson said. "Over the past six seasons we have had aspiring actors and musicians, but we also attract teens that have never performed on stage, and don't even have aspirations of being on stage later in life."

This season Creatures of Impulse has added performing troupe Puppets of Impulse to its team, performing a full-length improvised musical play, which kicks off its spring tour in San Francisco's Un-Scripted Theater in Union Square.

Creatures of Impulse will again close its season with a bang at the Teen Comedy Festival in Chicago on May 12. This marks its fourth time being the only teen improv troupe to represent California at the national festival.

Founder and director Duncanson is a huge advocate of the supportive improv culture. He himself is a seasoned graduate of the Bay Area Theater Sports improv program and continues to perform professionally. Duncanson credits his college theater instructor Max Pentilescu with unlocking his "improv brain" and teaching him that improv isn't just about comedy, it's about connecting.

Duncanson developed his love for long-form, story-based improv in 1994 when he was cast in "Liquid Soap," an improvised episodic soap-opera based out of San Francisco.

Creatures of Impulse is for teens in grades 9-12, with auditions held in early summer for the fall season. Also available are improv workshops, including "The Great IMPROV Play Date" for ages 11-18, and "The Middle School IMPROV Experiment," both through the Pleasanton Parks and Recreation Department.

For more information on Creatures of Impulse Improv Troupe, Improv Face Off 2013, or to support the spring tour, contact Mark Duncanson at 931-4828 or email mduncanson@cityofpleasantonca.gov.

This week's shows are general admission, $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Student tickets are $5 in advance, $8 at the door. Go to www.firehousearts.org, call 931-4848, or go in person to the box office, 4444 Railroad Ave., open noon-6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, and two hours prior to the performance.