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The Available Cupholders Ring In The New Year At FST

The Available Cupholders Ring In The New Year At FST

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is proud to announce that The Available Cupholders, Austin's top improv troupe and a Sarasota Improv Festival fan favorite, will return to Sarasota the first weekend of January 2019 for a special residency. During their time at FST, the group will perform two improv comedy shows and lead three workshops. Limited availability performances will take place two-nights only: Friday, January 4 and Saturday, January 5 at 7:30PM in FST's Bowne's Lab Theatre. Tickets are just $15-18 and can be purchased at floridastudiotheatre.org or (941) 366-9000. Improv workshops will be held January 3 and 5, and enrollment is just $35. Those interested in discovering their own creative spontaneity can register online at floridastudiotheatre.org, or by calling Pamela Smith, Education Administrator, at (941) 366-1350.

Based in Austin, Texas, the Available Cupholders have been performing improv together for almost fifteen years, and are among the few groups who have performed at all ten Sarasota Improv Festivals. Their over-the-top energy, antics, and willingness to take risks have made them a consistent Festival favorite. Featuring five of Austin's top comedians and actors-Kaci Beeler, Michael Joplin, Ace Manning, Bill Stern, and Jeffrey Sweetlamb-the Cupholders are dedicated to producing improvisational comedy that pushes the boundaries, explores untouched territories, and creates memorable theatrical experiences.

"The fact that the Cupholders have been together for so long gives them a unique chemistry that few other ensembles have," shared Will Luera, FST's Director of Improv. "Their energy, wit, and strong acting resonates with our audiences, who enjoy high-quality entertainment. The Cupholders go above and beyond your standard improv set. Their years of experience allow them to take risks in content and presentation that few other teams are able to do."

On Friday, January 4, the Available Cupholders will perform PROCESS, a warmly satirical look at the method of creating live, scripted theatre, which has played to sold-out houses in Chicago, Austin, and Sarasota. The Austin Chronicle calls PROCESS "Hilariously spot-on" and CultureMap Austin says it is "Thoroughly entertaining. PROCESS cleverly combines improvisation and traditional theater in a way that says fresh things about both."

In this show, the Cupholders will assume the roles of actors, directors, designers, stage managers, and tech personnel as they prepare for a play's premiere. Audiences will see the entire creative process-some of the best (and worst) auditions imaginable, glimpses into rehearsals, frustrations during tech week, and the final performance on the show's opening night. The key is that everything-the dialogue, characters, setting, and plot-is improvised in the moment and based off of audience suggestions. To take things up a notch, Friday's performance will conclude with a fully realized final act of the improvised show, complete with costumes and props.

On Saturday, January 5, the Available Cupholders will perform EXPLODING/IMPLODING UNIVERSES, which will be familiar to those who saw the troupe perform at the 2018 Sarasota Improv Festival. Using time compression and stretching, the Available Cupholders start by performing a one-minute scene at lightning speed. Next, they perform the same story in two minutes, then in four minutes, then in eight minutes, etc. With each iteration, the performers develop characters, create tension, and add color to their improvised universe. Following intermission, the Cupholders will perform a completely new, improvised one-act play at normal speed, and then repeat it at double the speed, performing it in half the time. The next time, they'll perform the play twice as fast as the previous time, and repeat this process until they have compressed the one-act play into one or two minutes. "The key is to embrace all of the beautiful mistakes and changes that emerge along the way," explained the Cupholders.

On January 3 and 5, the Cupholders will lead three special workshops covering improvised scene work and how to create fully formed, three-dimensional characters. All of these workshops are suitable for beginners who are interested in dipping their toe in the exciting, inventive world of improv as well as for more advanced participants.


Special performances of the Available Cupholders' long-form improv shows will take place on January 4 and January 5 in FST's Bowne's Lab at 7:30PM. Tickets are available for $15 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at (941) 366-9000 or at floridastudiotheatre.org. Single workshops are $35.To enroll, call Pamela Smith, Education Administrator, at 941-366-1350.


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