Laugh Factory

When is the last time you laughed so hard your face hurt?

For a whole hour?

That’s what I found myself doing, laughing and then when walking out of Wild Goose Creative I was moving my jaw around to try to stretch out those muscles that had been tautly and quickly used inside the small performance space. And I wasn’t even the one on stage!  After the last month and the wild ride I’ve found in life and work, it was exactly what I needed and the perfect moment.

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Columbus Unscripted and a group called Speak Easy recently hosted a mashup of improv and hilarity with a real focus on women.  It was called Sassy Do!  And everything about this performance was brassy and sassy mashed up into a delivery for an intimate audience.  No more than 30 people were inside Wild Goose and the darkened room with string lights towards the back– but that small group was completely focused toward the black construction-grade painted stage towards the front with it’s local performers.

The ladies come from all over Columbus and they do this for fun– they all have day jobs.  You’ll find a woman who is in higher-ed, a barista, an accountant, a stay-at-home-mom and more.  They practice, just like any team would on a regular basis.  They bring in the experts from the Chicago improv community to teach them, too.  It’s all in an effort to bring out the best show and unearth the funny parts of themselves, and ourselves, that don’t always pop to the top when we’re in the midst of chaotic lives.  And that’s what is making me sit here rubbing my cheeks after an hour watching!

Barbara Allen, one of the women who is so passionate about what they do, told me their chemistry has just been magnetic.

“An unspeakable trust forms our ensemble.  We work from a foundation of agreement (saying yes) and then we work toward discovery together, not a forced creation.”

At the core, these women are incredibly supportive of each other.

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But as we step away from the serious– you’re about to find out that these ladies are truly hysterical.

The performance goes something like this.  A lady from Speak Easy comes to the stage to tell a story from her own life.  In one of the cases on the night in question, one gal told a story about growing up in Detroit only to be carted off to Canada to live in the middle of nowhere on a lake with her mom and her mom’s boyfriend.  Suddenly she was uprooted from suburban life and a very “Do This-Don’t Do That” childhood and taken to a place where she could explore the beautiful, and sometimes rough, terrain for hours.  She made her own boats, she took long bike rides 13 miles up one peninsula and then 13 miles back.  Did I mention she was under 10 years old at the time this all happened?  That Speak Easy speaker sits down and then the Sassy Do! improv group begins.  They act out the story through improvisation.  In this quick snippet of a skit, they’re talking about riding bikes outside in this big beautiful wilderness.  All of a sudden, in this made-up version of the story, mom comes outside in all of her glory that could only be made up in an improv moment.

At the end of the performances there is an All Play, where the audience can participate in some improv– women and men alike.  It’s our chance to go up, after laughing our way through the last hour or so, and see if we have any kind of chops for the stage.  As a “reporter” for this blog, I didn’t try it myself.  But that doesn’t mean I won’t when I go back.

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And I will go back.  It costs 5 bucks to get in and get that laugh that is good for the soul.

Next time taking some good girlfriends along with me so we can all laugh at ourselves.

Or maybe my husband.  That could be lively 😉
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If you’re intersted in checking out what Columbus Unscripted is all about just visit this link.

And if you want to sign up for improv classes, they are available right here.  The next session starts August 15th.