Fairfield University's resident student improvisational troupe Theatre Fairfield acts 'On the Spot'


Fairfield University's Theatre Fairfield presents performances of its resident student improvisational troupe, "On the Spot." Performances will be held on Friday and Saturday, November 16 and 17, with two shows each night at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., at the PepsiCo Theatre on the Campus of Fairfield University.

"On the Spot" is an audition-based ensemble of ten Fairfield undergraduate students. Yvonne Conybeare, a new addition to the Theatre Fairfield faculty as an adjunct instructor, directs the ensemble in what is considered "long form" theatrical improvisation. Dr. Marti LoMonaco, Director of the Theater Program, Department of Visual and Performing Arts, makes the distinction between the two forms of improvisation by describing the long form as, "a much more complex, fully realized performance than short form, which tends to restrict itself to games and quick sketches."

At its best, improvisation demands that company members take a simple suggestion and, with total acceptance, explore the possibilities available to them for development of a situation or a character - on the spot. Acknowledging that no two minds operate in the same way, an ensemble that has developed trust among its members will inevitably generate a combined originality that often produces surprising results ranging from profound to wildly comedic.

Conybeare explains, "'On The Spot' explores the group mind and body. The ensemble strives to continue to surprise each other and with that commitment to one another we expect to delight the audience." The company remains always motivated by the need to sustain a high level of risk-taking while thinking on its feet. With nothing but their ensemble mates, a blank stage and an eager audience, the performers will step onstage and create work sparked by audience suggestions.

Conybeare splits her time between Fairfield and New York City, where she is a resident director at the Metropolitan Playhouse. She has been a performer and director of long and short form theatrical improvisation with Freestyle Repertory Theater in New York and with companies in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Canada. In addition, she has a strong background in classic American theatre with Off and Off-Off Broadway productions of new plays and rarely seen revivals of American and world classical theater. She brings a whole new level of professionalism and comedy to the ensemble.

Conybeare's immediate impression of improv at Fairfield was of the many colors the students bring to their work. "I was immediately blown away by the amount of knowledge and energy that was ready to explode onstage," she remarked. Theatre Fairfield is noted for its passion and talent and this year's crop of actors share an excitement about improvisation that they are anxious to incorporate in "On the Spot." Every performance is unique and new, so come prepared to be surprised and laugh until you cry!

Tickets are $5 and available at the PepsiCo Theatre on the day of performance on a first come, first served basis. Reservations are not necessary.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 26, 2007

Vol. 40, No. 94