The Suspenders of Disbelief made their debut performance at the Gatlinburg Improv Fest last night. The majority of the troupe members work at Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre, where their shows are mostly scripted. The cast seemed to revel in the freedom of improvisation, while competing in a style similar to ComedySportz.
James Newport served as emcee for the show. He is the creator and director of the Gatlinburg Improv Fest and had experience teaching and performing improv in Milwaukee, Orlando and Washington, D.C. His wife, Krisha Newport, is in the cast at Sweet Fanny Adams. She is the link that led to that venue hosting the new festival.
The four performers were divided into two teams of two. Chris MacPherson and Tim Coleman were called “Old School” while Krisha Newport and Jeremy Gregoire were called “New School.” The team names were a funny reference to the improvisors’ relative ages. After both teams had done a scene, James asked the audience to vote for the scene they preferred. The winning team received five points.
My wife suggested that the team format might be a good idea for Einstein Simplified to try at a corporate gig. I agree that it would be a good way to quickly engage an audience that isn’t already familiar with the players. We’ll stick with our regular format at our weekly Side Splitters gig and in our two shows this weekend at the Gatlinburg Improv Fest.