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By Olivia Marble / Correspondent, Wicked Local Video
For the first time in over a year, the Acme theater improvisation company will take the stage, where they will perform “The Vaccination Presentation”.
The free performance will take place, outdoors, at 4 p.m., June 19 and 26, on the lawn in front of ArtSpace at 63 Summer St. in Maynard.
Closed since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the free show will be the first and last of the 2020-2021 season at the Acme Theater. Don’t worry, however, as the theater companies are gearing up for the 2021-2022 season, which begins in September, said David Fisher, director and creator of Acme’s Improv Company. The troupe is made up of 10 actors who have been together for about 14 years.
“The presentation of vaccination” will be totally improvised, he said. The actors will be inspired by the spectators who will launch scene ideas, based on a medical theme.
“We knew [the audience] would end up suggesting anything related to COVID or quarantine and we decided to look into that and allow them to suggest as [many] medical-type ideas as they could think of it, ”Fisher said.
For example, the public might be asked to suggest a profession that might be found in a hospital. It could be anything from a janitor to a surgeon, Fisher said. The public could also be asked to name a disease that has been eradicated or a profession where someone could be injured – the possibilities are endless.
The actors then acted out the scene while playing the whole length.
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Despite the name, Fisher said the show was meant to be funny and wouldn’t be used as a “rallying cry” for people to get vaccinated.
“I’m sure there could be scenes where the idea of getting the vaccine could probably come up during the scenes and will likely be shown in a positive light. We all believe in the power of vaccinations, ”he said.
Prepare to perform
Fisher, who runs improvisation workshops, says improvising is not that different from everyday life. People improvise dialogue all day long, although they usually know what they are talking about, he said.
“For improvisation, it’s about creating a different character and being honest with your stage partner. If you don’t intentionally try to be funny and just try to react, it will end up being funny anyway, ”he said.
Even if the actors invent the dialogues as they go, the troupe rehearses.
“It seems a bit counterintuitive, but [they rehearse] in order to really build the muscle memory that it needs, ”he said.
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One of the hardest parts of improvising is finding a character and a story, he said. They recently hosted a rehearsal – the first after almost 18 months – and feel comfortable working together.
“There is a lot of interaction and agreement that needs to continue with the artists,” Fisher said.
There are also other challenges.
“We want to keep everyone safe, which is why we are outside. All of the cast have been vaccinated, so we won’t be socially distanced, but unlike other shows, we won’t bring viewers on stage just for safety reasons, ”Fisher said.
Spectators will not be required to wear masks but are encouraged to do so. They should also bring chairs or blankets.
For more information, visit acmeheater.com. Free entry; donations will be accepted.