BWW Interview: Autumn Clack of AN IMPROVISED PLAY X3 at Boiling Point Players
The Boiling Point Players opens their 2016-2017 season with AN IMPROVISED PLAY X3, produced by Cone Man Running Productions. The show is a three-night series of improvised plays and will be performed at Obsidian Theater. Each full-length performance is based on suggestions from the crowd. I got the opportunity to ask Autumn Clack about the group's beginnings, their upcoming production, and what's coming this season.
For new audiences, please tell us about Boiling Point Players. How did the company get started?
Clack: A few years ago, Ruth McCleskey, one of our co-founders, and I were lamenting the fact that we never got to do plays together because there usually weren't enough female parts in the shows we auditioned for. Ruth had the idea to go ahead and just produce our own play and be in it, so we teamed up with our other co-founder, Melanie Martin, and decided to put on two plays with all female casts. Before we knew it, we were calling that the first season of Boiling Point Players.
What is AN IMPROVISED PLAY X3 about? What can audiences expect?
Clack: AN IMPROVISED PLAY X3 will literally be about anything. Or, more specifically, three different anythings. It will be similar to a long-form improv show, in that absolutely nothing is planned or scripted before. The audience will come in and give a suggestion that we ask for, and the whole play will be built off of that. Once the play begins though, it will feel more like a traditional play than an improv set, with a cohesive plot with a beginning, middle and end, well-developed characters, and relationships.
Some of the actors in this production come from diverse backgrounds with a lot of great experience. Tell us about them. How did you get this talented team together?
Clack: With each over a decade of performing in Houston in improv and theatre, Ruth and I are lucky enough to know some of the most talented performers in town, and have had the chance to work with a few of them along the way. When we decided to tackle producing AN IMPROVISED PLAY, we knew we would need the best of the best to pull it off. So we sat down and thought up our dream team, the people we've worked with in improv and scripted theatre who have experience in both forms, the people we knew we needed in our lineup to make this work, and reached out to them.
Because the show is running on off-nights, and because we were very flexible with our rehearsal schedules, we were able to pin them all down. Which is a miracle, because they're all hugely in demand involved in tons of other projects right now!
How did you all come to decide to perform long form improvisation for this production? Has the Boiling Point Players performed sketch comedy or short form improvisation?
Clack: Me and Ruth's alter egos are the improv duo OPHELIA'S ROPE. We've been doing long-form improv together for 12 years, and have even recently written some sketch together, but that's always been separate from our theatre performances. Boiling Point Players has included improv in our annual cabaret performances, but it has always been billed as part of a variety show and never gotten a stand-alone spot in our season. Ruth actually had the idea to do AN IMPROVISED PLAY several years ago after reading about it. I thought it was a great idea, but seemed very daunting. We kept it on the back burner and tossed it around from time to time, and this season, it finally felt like the right time to do it.
What is next this season for Boiling Point Players?
Clack: Our next show is in January - it's our cabaret, A NEW DAY, at Rudyard's Pub. It will feature songs, short plays - new works that are being written specifically for the show- and improv. After that, we have William Shakespeare's COMEDY OF ERRORS with an all-female cast, directed by Christine Weems, in February 2017.
AN IMPROVISED PLAY x3, produced by Cone Man Running Productions is showing November 13 through 15 at 8:00 p.m. at Obsidian Theater. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at boilingpointplayers.com.