The Fast and the Funny

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It’s estimated that the human brain takes 400 milliseconds to conjure up new ideas, which means the participants in the Phoenix Improv Festival better think fast if they hope to fill an entire weekend with quality material.

Good thing they’ve been practicing, according to executive producer Bill Binder. “The artists and performers that are featured spend the whole year gearing up for the event,” he says. “No one ever wants to bomb, especially since the festival is recognized as one of the best in the nation.”

So while attendees might not see any visible flop sweat, they will witness performers providing three straight nights of uproarious and entertaining material starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 14. Starring more than a dozen different troupes from around the Valley and across the country, the festival (which is celebrating its 10th anniversary) will feature all manner of improvisational antics during 26 performances at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street.

While the schedule includes a few short-form comedy sessions (think Whose Line Is It Anyway?), Binder says the festival largely consists of long-form improvisational stagings that offer more than just gags. “Troupes tackle their performances in different ways, so you might get some comedy as well as some more thoughtful material,” he says.
Thu., April 14, 6 p.m.; Fri., April 15, 8 & 10 p.m.; Sat., April 16, 4:30, 7 & 9 p.m., 2011

 
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