Hot Garbage Players Hope to Establish an Audience for Improv Comedy.
With continued growth and collaboration within the city’s performing arts communities bringing together artists of all backgrounds and disciplines, it was only a matter of time before the current theatre and comedy scenes crossed paths.
Last month saw the introduction of the city’s newest (and possibly only) improve troupe, Hot Garbage Players, who describe themselves as, “a brand new improvisational group dedicated to the creation of comedic stories with an emphasis on long form improv.”
“A lot of the performers here in Fredericton are working really hard to further themselves creatively and professionally,” said Hot Garbage Players’ Jean-Michel Cliche, “which often means starting up your own projects and being involved in as much as possible. This is great but can often be very stressful. Hot Garbage Players was created to be a fun outlet for those performers. We’re trying to keep the shows themselves professional and organized, but the main idea is fun for the performers and the audiences. Fredericton has a great theatre following, but it’s so separate from the comedy scene. I think Hot Garbage Players will bridge that gap and lead to some intermingling of the two mediums, hopefully for both audiences and artists.”
Part of what makes an improv troupe unique and appealing to artists is the approach taken to developing the craft, relying largely on spontaneous creation based on a theme – improv. Rehearsal time is better spent reviewing and exchanging ideas rather than working to perfect scenes and lines. In the end, the limited rehearsal time is a big part of the appeal and fits well with many artist’s busy schedules.
“The stakes just aren’t as high as a fully staged play or a film,” said Cliche. “Plus, the company is composed of a large rotating cast of performers which allows people to jump in for a short rehearsal period leading up to a show without having to worry about the long term commitment other projects may entail.”
Hot Garbage Players made their public debut on April 21 at Wilser’s Room to a receptive audience.
“Our debut went over very well,” said Cliche. “We had fun and the audience seemed to really enjoy themselves too. People kept telling us ‘That was better than I expected’, which is exactly the kind of self-deprecation Hot Garbage is into. And the Capital Complex seems open to continue hosting our shows, so I think we’ve found a home there.”
In a city largely unaccustomed to the improv experience, Hot Garbage Players now face the challenge of growing an audience while also shaping the company into what the members believe it is capable of achieving.
“Our long term goal is to get audiences and ourselves used to long form improv – that is, a full 45-minute to an hour show that consists of one improvised piece, as opposed to the Whose Line is it Anyway? style that people are more familiar with. Once we’re there, we’ll be able to do some really interesting stuff, like being able to play with genres and even parodies. I really think people are going to be excited about our next show, but you’ll have to keep an eye out for more info on that.”