If there’s one thing that you can find an abundance of at Florida Studio Theatre Improv, it’s laughter. Florida Studio Theatre is located in downtown Sarasota off Palm Avenue. The theatre features musicals, plays, improv and a full restaurant and bar.
The FST Improv troupe has a new show every Saturday night. This season’s show is called Out of Bounds. It incorporates two teams that compete for points given by the audience. The teams can range from as little as two cast members to as many as four. The winning team receives a trophy they get to keep until next week’s show where they compete all over again.
One of the most important aspects of improv is rehearsal. The entire troupe gathers at 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays to practice improv games and discuss how to improve their acting. Darryl Knapp is a performer for FST Improv.
“I think rehearsal is very important because it is good for camaraderie for one thing, to get to know other players,” said Knapp.
Normally one wouldn’t think of preparation as something that goes into a show that is thought up on the spot. However Chris Friday, who also performs with FST Improv, feels strongly that it is preparation is key.
“It’s very important. We don’t rehearse what we’re going to do in the shows as far as these are the lines we’re going to use or any of those kinds of things. Because we’re really creating the show with the audience in the moment. But you rehearse the technique of the game and part of that rehearsal and part of what makes an improve show go so well is playing with people,” said Friday.
FST Improv also features piano accompaniment. Not all improv troupes have a pianist to accompany the scenes, so FST makes use of the piano to enhance the shows. Pianist Hunter Brown brings his unique skills to the table.
“I’ve been playing piano since I was 8 years old. And I was like ‘yeah sure’ so I ended up playing a little diddy from there, for some reason they had enough faith in me to be the accompanist for this and I had no idea what to get into. But I was just like ‘yeah sure I’ll do it’. And from there I guess it ended up turning out really well cause I feel like my talents suit improve pretty well,” said Brown.
The Florida Studio Theatre tries to get as much audience participation as possible. They lay out suggestion cards on the tables before the performance that the audience can fill out. The scenes are then used in the shows.
Improv is a popular thing, not only in the Tampa area but also around the country. Edith Jones is an audience member for one of the Out of Bounds shows.
“I love improv. But I’ve never been to it in Sarasota so I thought it would be fun to see how it is. I’m looking forward to it,” said Jones.
There is no doubt that when you go to an FST show, you’ll have a great time.