Rapid Reaction: The Hideout’s 2013-2014 Mainstage Season

For improv geeks like myself, Christmas comes in early October when The Hideout Theatre releases its Mainstage schedule for the entire next year. And here’s my first take on the 2013-2014 show line-up…

Courtesy of Roy Danger and The Hideout Theatre.

Courtesy of Roy Danger and The Hideout Theatre.

I Love You So Much

I was raised on fake movie love. Sixteen Candles and Breakfast Club and Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally… These movies, and others, have created a generation of misguided, idealistic, wannabe romantics with no connection to reality. There’s still a part of me that believes I’ll meet my soul mate in a bookstore, and that she’ll be Meg Ryan-hot with a goofy sense of humor. Life doesn’t usually work that way, but who cares? Hollywood says this is the prototype, and I obey Hollywood.

(Which is maybe why I’m single at 34.)

Real love, as opposed to fake movie love, seems thorny and complex—at least it has the few times I’ve brushed up against it. The beauty of real love is its enduring depth and commitment. Loyalty. Unconditional support. Sacrifice. These are the building blocks of a rewarding relationship, right? Right, guys?

Which is why I’m thrilled that the Hideout is kicking off the new year with a two-month run of shows all about LOVE. From the description of the show (see the flier above) it appears to tackle love in many of its manifestations—platonic, romantic, lust-fueled, in a group, between old friends, long-distance love, love interrupted by the cruel vagaries of life, etc.

It’s being directed by Jessica Arjet—whom I’m thrilled to see step again into a directing role—and Roy Danger. These two folks have, as do well all, different experiences with love. And that mix should create a dynamic, compelling approach to this rather broad topic. Expect a lot of “awwwwwww”s from the audience.

Do I want to be in this show?
Of course. This show will require some vulnerability, and that’s an exciting goal to pursue as an improviser.


I’ll admit I don’t know much about Kurosawa. What I do know is: he was a pioneering Japanese filmmaker who’s probably most famous for “Seven Samurai” which I watched in a college film class. That’s about it. I know Woody Allen counts him among his favorite directors of all time and that serious film buffs agree.

This show excites me for a whole different set of reasons. For starters, it’s being directed by Kareem Badr and Shannon McCormick, two of the more cerebral improvisers I know. Their combined brains working on the Kurosawa will be incredible to behold.

Also, fighting! High-quality stage combat and special effects are some of my favorite things to watch, and I imagine this show will have a fair amount. Then there’s the question of: How do you pay homage to a Japanese director with a bunch of (mostly) white people? Do you do accents? Will there be costumes? Make-up?

Do I want to be in this show?
Duh. While not an avowed Kurosawa fanatic, I am a fanatic of these two directors’ storytelling abilities.


Another run for Theatresports, a show The Hideout did this summer and which I “guest appeared” in twice. What a fun show. It’s sort of like a Maestro on steroids, with more bells and whistles thrown in.

Do I want to be in this show? For sure. Because I’ve recently develop a serious boner for short-form improv, and this is the short-form show in 2014.

The International Improv Experience

This show is a bit of a mystery to me—and to the director, Roy Danger, too. Basically, thanks to the kindness of so many Austin improvisers (especially P-Graph), other cities around the world know and love Austin improv. So this show will seemingly tap into those international connections, and through a mish-mash of video and improv and ET CETERA bring those connections to light. I’m confident it will be unlike any other show you’ll see anytime soon, and that’s why…

Do I want to be in this show?
Hell yes. I may not be able to afford fancy international travel, but I can afford to improvise with Bulgarians via Skype.

Women’s Prison

A genre-heavy show featuring only female improvisers, this show will probably be the flat-out funniest of the year. I mean, how can you go wrong with funny women in a wacky situation in the WACKIEST of decades (the 1970s)? You cannot, that’s how. And it’s directed by Kaci Beeler, who’s as knowledgeable about how to bring a specific genre to life via improv as anyone. And I imagine the show will end up featuring some theatrical elements that’ll put it over the top. I am curious, however, how the community would react to a “men only” production. Because I have a show idea that involves the Brazilian soccer team that is gonna blow some minds!

Do I want to be in this show?
Absolutely. But, as it usually does, my penis ruins everything. But I’ll be in the front row. Or I’ll drill a hole into the rehearsal space and watch from there. Either way I’m going to be pervy about it.

Nothing and Everything

And so 2014 will end with an eight-week run of an improv show (a) directed by Jon Bolden of Manhattan Stories directorial fame, and (b) based on the world and work of Anton Chekhov. If those two sentences alone don’t make you salivate for this show then you’re not familiar enough with either man. Chekhov was the first writer whose work I bragged about reading so as to seem smart—all the way back in 9th grade. He’s a master storyteller, and introduced modern theater to the power of the short, emotionally charged line of dialogue. My goodness, Anton!

And I can attest that Jon Bolden is the ideal director for this show, because he brings to the subject matter a passion and understanding that’ll translate seamlessly into an improvised show. If you can make sense of Woody Allen, which the audience knows, you can make sense of Chekhov, which the audience probably doesn’t.

Do I want to be in this show?
More than I want a wife.


So there you have it, kiddos. My quick-and-dirty assessment of what’s shaping up to be a fascinating year of improv at The Hideout. And I get the feeling there’ll be more surprises from that theater throughout the next 12 months. And with ColdTowne and The Institution and Merlin Works continuing to push the boundaries and expand their offerings, it’s a fantastic and inspiring time to be an improviser in Austin, Texas.

Now then, if I could finally learn how not to shit the bed during an audition…

1 Comment

  1. The 2015 Hideout Mainstage Season: Redux | on October 30, 2014 at 9:41 am

    […] Hideout Theatre revealed its 2015 Mainstage season. And just like I did last year, I’m going to give you my hot-off-the-press opinion on each show. I reserve the right to be […]

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