It's game on down at Heirloom Dance Studio, where a motley group of young comedians gather twice monthly to perform on-the-fly feats of improv athletics. The eight member crew—who originally banded together for last year's Curb Cup event—call themselves Insert Foot Theatre, the self-effacing moniker belying their nimble verbal footwork.
Boise Weekly recently caught up with one of the group's founders, Ron Torres, following one of Insert Foot's weekly rehearsals. We only had one real question. How does one go about practicing improvisation?
"The best way I can describe it is it’s a lot like an athletic team ... It’s really the idea of rehearsing the connection between players," says Torres. "You’re playing the games as you would in a show, setting up scenarios, what you’re doing over and over is putting different duos together, because with a different duo, you’re going to have a completely different scene."
In front of an audience, the premise of each short game is simple—pair up two of the company's players, ply them with some sort of audience-supplied situation or relationship (shouted suggestions ranging from mild abnormality—"identical cousins!"—to cheeky irreverence—"priest and altar boy!"), then let them work. Oh, but each game usually has a catch. The game New Choice requires a swift change of direction whenever a bell is rung, for example, while in Mikey's Game, one actor must wordlessly explain the substitution of an everyday object with something bizarre. Thus, the audience watches C.J. Sower pushing a pineapple up his anus rather than into his pocket, while Erin Corey—the lone female regular—mimes the transformation of a bed into a beluga whale.
It's funny stuff, but Insert Foot isn't just kidding around. With two shows a month and a growing fanbase, the group is setting out to become a downtown institution.
"We have a core eight, we could expand to a core 12," says Torres. "What’s going to keep something like this going is developing into workshops ... eventually having our own theater space, maybe a little school, putting on one good full-length show."
Boise audiences can catch these serious comedians and their rotating musical guests every other Monday, including this Monday night, at the Heirloom Dance Studio, 765 Idaho St. in downtown Boise. Shows start at 8 p.m., and it's only $5 to get in.