For my finale show, I rented out the Cabaret theater at Stage 773 and brought in people who’ve helped me along the way and others who I’ve wanted to play with. They are all very good friends of mine who I know I can trust on stage. I was hoping for a bigger crowd (instead made up mostly of the other performers), but I am truly grateful and thankful for those who showed up. Right from the start, I knew it was going to be a fun night. When I walked on stage to introduce the show, the crowd erupted. They were screaming “Ryan!” and clapping like maniacs. Immediately it was a bit between the audience and myself. They just kept cheering. I motioned to hit the lights. Nothing. I swiped my hands through the air like they were swords for them to ‘cut it out.’ Nothing. I blushed up like no other. Once they died down, they started up again. It was really funny. Everyone in the room was having fun.
First Set: 98.6
The first group, 98.6, is the house-team/friends who run the Underground Lounge shows. This was my way of saying thank you (I also just walked up and said thank you as well) for all of the shows that Avery helped me book this past month. He played a pivotal role in helping me accomplish my goal. I loved their set and thought they did a great job yes and-ing and supporting one another. The call-backs to their characters and locations (cabin in Milwaukee) were also very clear, which helped to follow the story. At one point, they mentioned ‘furries’, which is the kind of sex where people dress up in animal costumes. I loved the wrap-up in the final scene when ‘the uncle in the cabin’ entered the scene in a bear costume. Perfect ending to what had been established earlier. I’d like to thank Avery Lee, Orlando Lara, Frank Bieszczat, and Cassandra Phillips for playing tonight.
Second Set: Vanessa, the Sex-Robot (Emily Marder)
For the second act, I wanted to change it up (rather than have nothing but improv groups all night) so I had a solo sketch from a girl I met earlier in the month named Emily. I’d seen her do some solo work a few times and thought it would be a nice addition to the show. She played as Vanessa, a love-sick sex-robot tour guide who took questions from the audience. Myself as well as the audience learned a lot about sex-robots tonight. Things like how many languages they speak, what a robot vagina is like, and what love feels like (even though robots can’t feel). I really enjoyed it. I’d like to thank Emily Marder for playing tonight.
Third Set: Lethal Action Force
For the third act, I had the opportunity to jump in with Lethal Action Force again. I loved every second of it. The suggestion for the action movie was “baby gone bananas.” We opened up in the Amazon. Dead bodies everywhere. Inside of a blood-stained tent was a baby. An evil baby. I got the chance to play this baby (I got waved in). Turned out I was an evil murdering baby Prince. We quickly cut to Langley to the chief’s office in the CIA Headquarters. We met 2 CIA agents who were planning on going undercover (by opening up a nursery) into the Amazon. Why was the CIA after a killer baby Prince on the loose in the Amazon? Because we said so and we committed to it. There were epic fights and nail-biting showdowns. In the end, all the baby wanted was love, which is what one of the CIA agents (Adam) showed me to get me into his arms. Once I crawled into his arms looking for love, he snapped my neck. BABY KILLER! They then proceeded to show me falling from multiple camera angles. This involved everyone on stage picking me up and twisting me around in a bunch of different ways. I was really happy with this set because I knew the others had my back. I got lost in the fun. I was happy with the things I was adding and the characters I was able to play. I got to play a CIA intern, who got slapped and hit in the nuts by everyone who entered the scene (GAME), and the evil baby Prince who met his demise in the end. I really enjoyed this set and am thankful that everyone jumped on each other’s ideas throughout it. I’d like to thank Adam Archer, Caroline Thrasher, Brendan McGovern, Ryan Blanz, and Dylan James Hackworth for playing tonight.
Fourth Set: The Kitchenettes
For the fourth act, I had my friends The Kitchenettes do a set. Members of this group (Jake and Timmy) were very helpful this past month in scheduling some shows as well as filming some shows. This was a set that had music (guitar), which was something I wanted in order to add some variety to the night.They started with a song about MacBooks Pro’s that was so perfect I thought it was scripted. I was amazed. I really thought they did a great job with the songs. My hat (I don’t wear one but if I did) goes off to people who can do musical improv. It’s tough stuff. I thought they did a great job wrapping it up with a call-back to PC’s in the final scene of their set. According to my mother, “Those guys were great!” And I agree. Like mother like daughter. I’d like to thank Jake Dewar, Timmy Hart Baron, and Brendan Buckley for playing tonight.
Fifth Set: Silent Scene w/ Rance Rizzutto
For the fifth act, I did a very special two-man set with veteran improviser Rance Rizzutto. To add variety to this finale, we agreed to do a silent show. I loved every second of this and he was very easy to work with. I thought we played well off of each other and easily told a story through our actions. We did about 5 different scenes in 15 minutes (felt like it went by in 5 minutes I was having so much fun). We had different locations (apartment, barbershop, side of the road) and different characters. Even call-backs. The last scene was a call-back to the first scene. It was amazing how we were on the same page without even saying a word. Special thank you to my friend Jake (from the Kitchenettes) for playing the guitar for this set. The music helped inspire different emotions for our characters. I’d like to thank Rance for joining me tonight.
Sixth Set: Switch Committee
For the final act, Switch Committee (Dave, Alan, David and myself for tonight) played. As always, I had a blast. We got the suggestion of iO waiter, which inspired us to talk about past jobs where we had to deal with shitty customers. Specifically in the food industry. I initiated the first scene as an angry patron at an Applebees calling the Better Business Bureau to complain about the service he was receiving (reservation issues) from the server (Dave). After getting attitude from the first BBB rep, I demanded to speak to a manager. Let the games begin. With each representative that got on the phone, I would demand to speak to another manager to file a complaint. However, they all responded as if they didn’t care. “Oh you wanna file a complaint? K it’s filed.” This paved the way for the rest of the show. The theme behind everything being… “it’s just that easy?” The next scene involved Schwartzbaum praying to God. I quickly became God from the side. He asked for a wish and I informed him that God just wishes someone would pray to him to say they loved him. In other words I was saying people only pray to God when they need something. No one ever just says, “hey God, love ya.” I played a trickster God who finally agreed to grant the boy’s wish (remove a scar that hisses), to which he said “it’s just that easy?” and I said, “nah, sorry I’m just playing with ya.” Another scene I did that I was really happy about was between myself and Alan. Alan (Paul) was angry with my character because I got a promotion over him. Alan quickly accused me of “suckin a lot of dicks” to get the promotion. I replied, with “I sucked one dick” and he replied, “well it was the right dick wasn’t it!?”. The banter back and forth between us was hilarious. With each line we yes-anded one another to progress the scene. I thought it went really well. It eventually led to my character stealing his character’s name (since I steal everything from him). Schwartzbaum walked on to support this move by saying, “Oh Hi Paul” to me and looking at the actual Paul and saying, “who’s this guy?” He begged for his name back and finally I just said, “fine you have it back.” He replied with, “it’s just that easy?” A perfect wrap-up to that set.
That’s it for the write-up of the show. I’m thankful for those who performed and those who attended. My final write-up/summary of the 31 day process as a whole will be coming up next.