44 hours? 44 Hours of insanity– uh, improv. Over the weekend, The Hideout Theatre had their annual improv marathon. It began 4 years ago and has been a must see/do ever since. Let me explain. There are a core of 8 improvisers. The crazy 8 have to play every hour of the marathon. They have a 45 minute set and 15 minute break. Each hour is a different show. It can range from the kid centric show “What’s the Story, Steve” to the unabashedly creepy “The Black Vault.” Throw a little violence in there with “Pulp Friction: Improvised Tarantino” and you’ve got every possibly variation on show. Improvisers from those shows come in and play to support both the core 8 and keep the energy up.
Now you might be wondering, “why do this to yourself?” Other than the obvious reason of helping to raise money for The Hideout’s scholarship fund, it’s also about pushing yourself beyond what you believe you’re capable of. And this year one of Merlin’s Works’ own was among the crazy 8. Michael Joplin was a consummate pro through the entirety of the marathon. Never truly wavering, he seemed to be able to listen while temporarily snoozing on the wings. Waking up momentarily to add a brilliant button to end the scene or to take on the leading role in the Fakespeare set. There was constant talk among improvisers prior to the marathon about how Joplin would break and I don’t know that he ever truly did. He seemed to constantly have his head in the game, giving offers to move the scene forward, supporting the offers he received, and just listening, listening, listening.
It was amazing and brilliant and many other similes that mean wow and we, at Merlin Works, we are incredibly proud of Michael Joplin.