Madlab Hosts FFN's Date Night 2016 Tonight

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MadLab's resident improv troupe is back once again to share your story of love by making it up in hilarious, unpredictable fashion in FFN's Date Night 2016.

Showtimes: 8 p.m., Tonight Feb. 4, Friday Feb. 5, and Saturday Feb. 6, Friday Feb. 12 and Saturday Feb. 13, Friday Feb. 19 and Saturday Feb. 20. Tickets: $10, $8 for students and senior citizens, $6 for MadLab members. Visit www.madlab.net/MadLab/tickets.html for tickets and more information.

Directed by, the players include: Jodie Engle, Peter Graybeal, Josh Kessler, Vicki Kessler, Alex Lefeld, Erin Prosser, Matt Schlichting, Nikki Smith, Erik Sternberger, Matt Stout, and Stephen Woosley.

This Valentine's Day, Full Frontal Nudity is back again to tell more stories of love... YOUR story, your neighbors' story, your parents' story, your podiatrists' story, everybody and anybody's stories of love! How? We don't know. But, as long as there are stories of love to tell, we can tell you we will be making it all up based on your stories. So, once again, it's date night!

Now, while FFN has performed Date Night several years in a row, this year it's different. The group held auditions in October to expand their ranks and added four new members: Jodie Engle, Alex Lefeld, Matt Schlichting, and Matt Stout. Actually, Engle could be considered a returning member as she was in a version of FFN long ago. Now, more about the newest members of FFN and maybe some things you didn't know about the long time members:

The New Kids:

Alex Lefeld

What's your prior improv experience? Alex Lefeld is an acting and improv veteran who has trained at Second City TC in Chicago, SAK Comedy in Orlando, and co-founded Fishbowl Improv at Ohio State University. Alex performs improv regularly with Fake Bacon and is a resident teacher with Make A Scene Improv. Alex graduated with a BA in Theatre from OSU with specialized training in acting, movement, voice and improv. Alex is also an award winning actor whose acting students have gone on to sign with acting agencies in Columbus, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City.

What brought you to FFN? FFN was one of the first groups that I saw in Columbus outside of OSU and I loved their energy. They inspired me to become a better local improviser. I have always said that to become a better improviser you need to surround yourself with diverse improvisers and by joining FFN I know I have succeeded.

Favorite weather event of all time? Thundersnow

Jodie Engle

What's your prior improv experience? I am a life-long lover and student of improvisation. I've been doing improv off and on for years with many talented improvisers in Columbus and down south in Jackson. I have a background in theater but seem to do less and less plays over the years since I found improv. I am married to a guy enrolled in the ten year plan to get his dissertation in history and together we are improvising what two people look like successfully raising two children.

What brought you to FFN? I met Chris Lane, founder of FFN, in Cleveland at a class in 1999. He asked me to join his troupe for an upcoming show (he needed more female improvisers). It was the first time I had ever experienced uncensored creative storytelling. It kind of blew my mind. Fifteen years later, I am humbled to take the stage again with FFN and enjoy learning long-form improvisation.

Anything else you'd like to share? While we lived in the 'sip for five years (Mississippi), I learned about arts integration and had the opportunity to pass along some improvisation strategies to educators who used it as a teaching tool. I had no idea of the direct alignment between improv and English Language Arts or History until I saw it in action. The research says when students can act out something they've learned in their own way they learn it better. I've seen it in classrooms and with my own child. If you ever want to have a conversation about arts education - let me know. It's kind of a passion of mine. Okay, I'll move on to a different topic now. Sorry for the long side note.

Returning to Ohio has been terrific! We've gotten back to our favorite restaurants and shops, visited old friends and tried not to hit bikers on all the new bike lanes. The one thing we're sorry we didn't miss was the Ohio winter of 2013. Living in Mississippi and seeing all the depressing and bitter posts from our cold, snowed-in Ohio friends made us feel sorry for them as we sat outside sipping our mint julips. Heck, one couple promptly moved to Florida after that winter! But "bless her heart", Mother Nature has been sweet to stay warm and make us feel like we've brought the south up to Ohio...for now.

Matt Schlichting

What's your prior improv experience? I previously studied and performed at iO Chicago. Before this, I was a first-year member of Fishbowl Improv at Ohio State, and over-participated in high school theatre.

What brought you to FFN? I knew I wanted to keep doing improv once I moved back, and these were the first auditions I heard about!

Favorite weather event of all time? An ice storm hit in 2009 while I attended OSU. They didn't cancel classes even though an inch of slippery death covered all of the roads and sidewalks. I'm happy to report that I only fell four times that day.

The Old Timers:

Josh Kessler

What brought me to FFN? I came to FFN because my ex-wife encouraged me to come try out after I moved back to Columbus in 2005. I got to keep the improv troupe in the divorce.

Favorite weather event: Do future weather events count? According to Wikipedia, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) assigns names to tropical cyclones "below 10°S between 90°E and 160°E" in alphabetical order and based on a rotating order. And Joshua is nestled in there on the list, right in between Imogen and Kimi...

Vicki Kessler

Improv experience prior to FFN: As far as prior improv experience goes, I had none. My experience started when I was thrown to the wolves as part of FFN's 2006....I think it was 2006...long form show "The Love Jungle". I only had a couple of months of "training" at that point. Now...I had done quite a bit of acting before then, but I had never done improv.

What brought me to FFN? I used to have a lot of fun doing stupid little "vignettes" with friends of mine out in public. You know...have a very loud pretend argument in a supermarket or restaurant...have fake karate fights in random parking lots..that kind of stuff. FFN's coach at the time, the great Chris Lane, would watch and just laugh at us. At one point he looked at me and said I should be in FFN...and well....simply put....you did what Chris Lane told you to do.

Favorite weather event: Anything but the meteorite that killed the dinosaurs....because that wasn't a blankety-blank weather event! I don't care what the Weather Channel says!! A weather event starts in the Earth's atmosphere like a tornado or a hurricane....a meteorite starts in blankety-blank space! It's a piece of an asteroid that broke off and then passed through the Earth's atmosphere. Starting in the Earth's atmosphere and merely passing through it are two VERY different things. Not a weather event...see www.universetoday.com/36398/what-is-the-difference-between-asteroids-and-meteorites/.

Nikki Smith

What brought me to FFN? Fuckin' Andy Batt. Cast me in Dick Germs on the promise that I'd improv with them at the end. Little did he know they'd be so stuck with me.

Favorite weather event: Ice Circles. Because seriously, what the hell?

Erik Sternberger

Favorite weather event: My favorite weather event of all time was when I was on a family vacation in Wisconsin and we had a tornado cross the road in front of us. The weather got so bad we had to wait it out in a Nike Town Outlet, so I got to play with sports equipment instead of sitting in the car!

Erin Prosser

Improv Experience prior to FFN: I was previously with the Shimmy Shake Project.

What brought me to FFN? Sarah Brunet was heading to NYC and FFN wanted to replace her with someone that looked strangely like her...

Favorite weather event: I supposed my favorite weather event of all time would have to be fictional. The tornado in Wizard of Oz. Everything about it is awesome.

Stephen Woosley

Improv experience prior to FFN: Uh, none.

What brought me to FFN? Chris Lane used to watch me and Vicki Kessler nee Andronis do these "vignettes" as Sarah Brunet called them where we would just do these scenes out of nowhere, fake fights, sometimes physically, etc. and somehow thought we might be good at it. He was right about Vicki. Jury might still be out on me.

Favorite weather event: The meteorite that killed all the dinosaurs.



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