“It’s different — it’s a different skill set than scripted theater,” Reiman said.
In an improv performance, Reiman said the elements of the performance aren’t set in stone until a performer begins stating facts to build the scene. That’s why troupe members have to be well-acquainted and able to communicate easily with each other.
“We try to tell people things about themselves,” Reiman said. “‘You’ve been waiting here for the last hour, haven’t you?’ and suddenly they have been. Or, ‘Boy, your house is messy,’ and suddenly it is.”
But improv is good for more than just entertainment. Improv is becoming a popular training tool for companies to encourage employee innovation and team-building, Reiman said.
“It’s really good to teach people how to brainstorm and not just shut down ideas but go with them and follow them to their natural conclusion,” she said.
After watching a few of these performances, many people want to try improv themselves, Murray said. This year’s festival includes eight improv workshops for people at any skill level interested in learning from professionals from around the country.
Workshops are 2-5 p.m. July 12-14 and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 13-14 and cost $35 per class or $160 for a five-class pass. For more information visit festival.reddirtimprov.com.