By SCOTT WEISSER
THE GOSHEN NEWS
SOUTH BEND —
GoProv will soon be on the go again.
The weekend of Sept. 27 and 28, the Goshen-based group will perform at South Bend Civic Theatre’s Firehouse Theatre, 701 Portage Ave. GoProv will put on two shows nightly.
SBCT got started in the firehouse venue, later relocating to its current location. Going home, as such, the SBCT crew is staging at Firehouse Theatre a series of experimental performances, including cabaret/concerts, improvisation, staged readings, an open mic night, a poetry jam and other showcases.
Goshen’s GoProv is an improv comedy ensemble, riffing on and rolling with audience input during its shows. The onstage work/play is spur-of-the-moment. And it fits well with the “Firehouse Cabaret” project.
“It gives us an opportunity to put on a little ‘cabaret of comedy,’ if you will,” said Steve Freeto, GoProv’s founder, director and host.
Of the Firehouse showcases, Freeto explained that the 7:30 p.m. shows will be similar to what GoProv did a couple of years ago with its Improv Battle Royale with Cheese, staged at Goshen’s New World Arts. Freeto said teens and improv rookies will have the opportunity to play improvisation games Friday, Sept. 27.
“The winner of that battle will come back Saturday night and challenge some of our seasoned veterans in the final Improv Battle Royale with Cheese,” Freeto said.
According to the SBCT crew, audience input via applause will factor into determining the winner.
Following the Battle Royale, “GoProv After Dark” will be staged each night starting at 10 p.m.
“The plan for that is to do a little bit more experimental improv, longer-form,” Freeto said, in addition to perhaps a few short-form games. He also said a guitarist and possibly a keyboardist will be joining GoProv for those performances.
“We don’t really know how the show’s are going to end up,” Freeto said. “We know what we’re going to do — it’s just based on audience suggestions and audience interactions.”
For the Firehouse Cabaret, GoProv’s cast will include Freeto, Greg Sommers, Andrew Kreider, Angie Pippenger, Adam Miller, Geoff Owens, Matt Payton, Alex Kilmer, Justin Williams and Drea Novotny. Freeto indicated the overall number of GoProv players numbers more than 20, with six to eight improvisers per show. He said around eight players in the troupe perform consistently.
Freeto said that around nine times a year, GoProv has a jam session at downtown Goshen venue New World Arts that’s free and open to the public. Anyone can stop by to watch and learn and participate in the improv. The jam sessions are a way for GoProv to practice with an audience, practice with new players and see it there are people willing to participate with the group, Freeto said.
“I personally don’t like auditioning for improv because it’s more than just singing a few bars or saying a few lines,” he said. “It’s about the chemistry with the group. We audition, if you will, through the jam sessions.”
Tickets to the South Bend Civic Theatre shows cost $10 and are available by calling 574-234-1112 or by visiting the website www.sbct.org.