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PGraph’s Action-Packed 2014 & 2015 Preview

Posted by on Mar 3, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

We recap some highlights from 2014 including our trips abroad and talk about our top secret plans for 2015!

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Our Big, Giant Writeup in the Austin Chronicle

Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Edinburgh, Slider | 0 comments

Our Big, Giant Writeup in the Austin Chronicle by Roy Janik I can still remember the first time that PGraph was featured in the Austin Chronicle. We were improv babies, and still six strong. I must have stolen about 20 copies of the Chronicle for the record books (I have no record books). As we’ve grown over the years, the Chronicle occasionally checks in. And that all came to a head with this massive writeup/interview in the December 2011 issue. It’s an epically long interview and article by Robert Faires. Re-reading over a year later, I see that it’s also a thoroughly accurate snapshot of our Edinburgh experience, and our thoughts and opinions that crystalized out of it. It’s almost a character reference for PGraph, and a crash course in how we view improv, each other, and the troupe dynamic. Read the whole article here:...

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Montreal!

Posted by on May 6, 2013 in Slider, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Ever since we first visited Montreal in 2009, we’ve been wanting to return. Montreal is a beautiful town full of contrasts and culture. You’ll find lots of opposites living side by side in a strange harmony: French and English, classic and modern, religious and secular, European and American, all vibrantly rushing against each other. And what better time to enjoy the cultural delights of Montreal than in the dead of winter, when the whole rushing city seems frozen still? So in late January, Pgraph packed up our thick winter coats, or thermal underwear, and our snow boots and flew North. The Montreal improv scene is on the cusp of explosion, in a good way. Montreal Improv, our hosts for the weekend, started teaching classes in 2008 and opened Montreal’s first dedicated improv theatre in 2010. They now serve 150+ students with weekly classes and have shows three nights a week in both English and French. Their theatre space is a lovely little black box space up a couple of flight of stairs in what would appear to be an office building. Extra double bonus for us: the theatre space comes with a classroom/guest apartment, where we as visiting artists resided during our visit. Theoretically, we could have stayed inside our buidling for almost the whole trip, venturing out only for groceries once or twice. But we were brave, and boldly faced the snow and ice to enjoy the many amazing food options the city offers. Here we are all bundled up for the cold: Schwartz’s is a Montreal institution, specializing in smoked meat. They’re so famous, in fact, that there is a full-length musical dedicated to its deliciousness. We heartily enjoyed our smoked meat sandwiches in this warm and steamy little diner, accompanied by a pickle spear and cherry soda, as is tradition.   Montreal’s other notable regional cuisine is poutine, a delicious melange of french fries, brown gravy, and cheese curds. Heaven on a plate. Our amiable tour guide, Vinny Francois (one-third owner of Montreal Improv) took us out to his favorite 24 hour poutine joint, La Banquise. Those of you from Austin will know exactly what I mean when I say La Banquise has a distinctly Kerbey Lane/Magnolia Cafe kind of vibe. For those of you less fortunate souls who haven’t experienced these Austin institutions, just imagine funky, vibrant, crowded, diner with incredibly hot tattooed waitstaff. At La Banquise, you can enjoy all manner of variations on the classic poutine. I had mine with guacamole, tomatoes, and sour cream, a little Texas meets Quebec treat. Other toppings options included bacon, mushrooms, onions, and merguez, a tasty portuguese sausage. Oh yeah, we performed and taught improv too. For our Friday night show, we pulled Grimm out of the library and brought our folksy German peasant family to the stage to tell strange and wonderful tales from the Black Forest. There was a king, a bird pecked someone to death, and a mouse, a piece of cheese, and a button all lived happily together. On Saturday night we gave Some Like It Improvised, our screwball comedy inspired show, a night on the town. A wealthy heiress showed she wasn’t too good for a snarky tailor, and while the heiress’s scheming sister caused all manner of trouble. On Saturday and...

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PGraph’s Trip to London

Posted by on Jun 22, 2012 in Slider, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Kaci here with a little London Trip Re-Cap! We went to the UK for 12 days earlier this month to teach and perform our special brand of improvised theatre. We spent most of our time in London, but also had jaunts down to Brighton and over to Bristol. We were able to arrange this trip because these people had all seen us in Edinburgh and liked the work we did. It’s amazing…every step into the unknown has brought us innumerable surprises after the fact. We had the most gracious hosts you can imagine at every destination. We stayed with some very lovely people – Jonathan & Jinni, and their two flatmates in a 4-story flat in Tooting Bec. It was our “home base” for the entire trip, and so, so refreshing to return to. We took the tube or the train everywhere we needed to go. We performed 3 shows, one at London’s Slapdash Festival of Improvisation (which we were invited to by the smashing Jules Munns), one in Jonathan Monkhouse’s weekly Wednesday show at The Miller, and one with The Maydays at The Little Marlborough Theater in Brighton (which was put together by the charming Heather Urquhart). We taught workshops and coaching sessions that were tailored to individual groups as well as workshops open to the public. They mostly all featured exercises in performing narrative improvisation (improv that tells a longer story throughout the course of a show), but also some individualized techniques. All said and done we taught for a total of 26 hours while we were in the UK. So yes, it was a bit of a working vacation, but it was all very fulfilling and fun work. We couldn’t have done it without the generosity and openness of all the lovely UK improvisers we met. They were a joy to teach, very much jumping full-force into every exercise we threw at them. We had countless chats at pubs after every event. We drank countless bottles of Crabbies Alcoholic Ginger Beer. We also had some free time to take in some local sights. A day in Brighton to explore the seaside. A few days in London to take in some sights including Covent Garden, Parliament, Big Ben, The National Gallery and The National Portrait Gallery, The Victoria & Albert Museum, afternoon tea, more pub time, a West End show called “Posh” which was so very well done and compelling from start to finish. We also got some very nice reviews. One from a random reviewer, 4 stars from Remote Goat seen here. And one very lovely write-up by a fellow improviser who saw our Villainy show and took our workshop in Brighton. We made such amazing friends on our trip, solidifying contacts we’d made briefly in Edinburgh into becoming real friendships and real connections. That probably sounds cheesy or overly emotional, but I really loved getting to know Jon, Jinni, Andy Yeoh, Andrew Gentilli, Jules & Judith, Heather, and so many others. It was really fucking cool. We’ll definitely be back one day, and several of them will probably come to Austin in the next year or so, too! (I hope we can be as good of hosts to them as they were to us!) Now, some pictures! Roy, myself, Valerie, and Kareem in front of The National Gallery....

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Reverend Goodman Wrap-Up, Dick & Jane Returns, June London Trip and More!

Posted by on Apr 3, 2012 in Slider, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Kaci here! (I’m the shorter girl with glasses if you only know us by our good looks) I’ve got lots of exciting news for you, dear reader, and some wrapping up to do as well! I’m going to break this into separate parts for easier digestion. Reverend Goodman’s Cure-All Elixir Traveling Revue Our January-February run of Reverend Goodman was exactly what we wanted it to be – an exciting, never-ending challenge that put our audience first. If you missed it, this was our traveling medicine show-inspired format.  Kareem Badr headed our devious quartet as Reverend Joseph Goodman, I played Bess Davis, an English prostitute, Valerie Ward was The Widow Charlotte Payne, while Roy Janik took up the mantle of a scientist-academic as Dr. Percival Sharpe. We played our characters the entire time, from start to finish, and there was no fourth wall (the audience was always directly addressed and acknowledged). The premise? The year was 1909. We were a group of traveling performers pushing morality tales, miracles cures, and advice to the “towns” (our audiences) we visited. Lots of audience interaction, participation, and unexpected surprises. The biggest surprise you probably didn’t realize? We never worked off a set-list. We made up our games, scenes, and scenarios in the moment – pretending we had this entire show planned out. Some audience members thought we scripted the whole night, but it was far from that, despite the fact that we knew our characters, setting, and purpose. Another fun element to the show was that we pretended to be “Good Christian Men and Women” and then unveiled throughout the show what terrible tricksters, thieves, murderers, and cads we actually were. For us, we had never so directly tried working with our audience. Pulling up willing participants and giving them a good time, talking to seated members while in character – knowing when to leave people alone and when to play with them – was something we had never done much of before. Our group philosophy is very strongly tied to bringing our audiences along with us into whatever journey we’re going on. We want them to be surprised as we’re surprised. We want them to feel delighted when we feel delighted. This format was our way of honing our instincts with the audience, as well as putting ourselves deeply into a character that we would develop over the course of 2 months. We don’t know when we’ll bring this show back (it involved lots of props, costumes, and set), but we have a feeling it’ll be in a much bigger capacity with the addition of music. Pick-Our-Play, Our New Format Gives You The Ultimate Say If you come see our Friday night show any time in the next few months, you will likely see our new format (I can’t promise this 100%, but we’ve done it 4 times already and are excited to continue). We have a couple copies of the Dramatists Play Service catalog. In each one is just a long list of play titles. For our new format, we have an audience members read out random titles that grab their attention. Then, we pick one as a group that we are most inspired by. THEN we each turn around to face the back of the stage, as a short synopsis...

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The Reverend Is Coming To Town

Posted by on Dec 29, 2011 in Slider | 0 comments

Beware the Reverend and his three cohorts. They travel from town to town, claiming to be good Christian men and women, selling miracle medicine and telling great and entertaining tales of woe! But do not be deceived by them! They are liars and thieves, every last one.

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Unanswered, We Improvise

Posted by on Sep 4, 2011 in Out of Bounds, Slider | 0 comments

For Out of Bounds 2011, we debuted a new format, inspired by a show we saw at The Edinburgh Fringe.

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Last Day in Edinburgh

Posted by on Aug 29, 2011 in Edinburgh, Slider | 0 comments

So today was our first and only day in Scotland post-fringe. We had a nice lie-in (well, most did- I got up early and had coffee with my new friend Jaylene, and then came back and cleaned up the living room). Once we were all suitably roused, we went for tea at Eteaket, an unbearably adorable tea place with delicious teas. Also, we had tasty sandwiches and tiny pastries. Then we headed towards Arthur’s Seat by way of the Royal Mile. We had never really ventured any further East than our performance venue, and it was amazing to see a new part of the city. It’s so easy to get used to the same path you tread each day and never realize what else was just a block or two beyond. Even before we got to the Royal Mile, we made discoveries. We had jokingly planned to pick up a bucket of KFC to eat at Arthur’s seat, but as we walked down to Princes Street we passed thorough an outdoor market with lots of little stalls selling delicious foods, mostly run by French people, it seemed. We picked up a hard sausage, some delicious triple cream cheese, and a baguette. We also saw a fresh crepe stand, and a couple of booths serving food out of four foot woks. Then as we walked along Princes, we had an amazing view of the Castle and beautiful rose gardens. Every ten feet someone remarked “I wish we had known about this! I wish we had more time…” But the time for wishing for other things was gone, it was time to enjoy the new things that the day brought. It was clear and cold when we left in the morning, but as we approached Arthur’s Seat the weather turned colder and threatened rain. As we ventured eastwards of the good ole Radisson Blu, we experienced the city anew. Fringelandia slowly fell away, and the buildings looked a little less commercial, a little more old. We sampled fudge at the fudge kitchen and marveled at the beautiful yet eerily creepy modernism of the Parliament building. We took the long away around the base to get to the direct route up Arthur’s Seat, and we began to climb. The Fringe was nothing if not an exhilarating challenge, and climbing Arthur’s Seat was the physical manifestation of our three week trial. As we climbed higher, the wind blew harder and the rain began to sting and pelt us. The rocky path was damp, narrow, and slippery. We grew warm with the exertion while the wind froze our poor faces. We became damp beyond relief. We carefully trudged our way up the hill, step by step, and when we reached the top, dizzy and soaking and exhausted, it was the best feeling in the world. Crouching, huddled together, we tore into our meat and cheese and sausage, with no knife to cut, only our numb fingers to rend. It was one of the best meals of my life. We made our way down. Much easier but much scarier, with our already downward intention needing only the slightest wrong step to hasten itself to at least a twisted ankle. But we made it down safely, wandered back to our flat deflated and satisfied, and got...

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Final Edinburgh Show Log

Posted by on Aug 28, 2011 in Edinburgh, Slider | 0 comments

A complete log of all the shows we performed and all the shows we saw in Edinburgh, with amusing and accurate descriptions.

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The Best Possible Audience Review

Posted by on Aug 23, 2011 in Edinburgh, Slider | 0 comments

We just got the best possible audience review. Read it here.

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