UM...GEE...UM improvisation celebrates their 25th--count 'em--Year Anniversary, with a special show on May 17 at 8 p.m., with some fabulous guests from the past. Join them at the Broadway Playhouse, 526 Broadway in Santa Cruz, for a evening where laughs are guaranteed and just about anything can happen. The troupe has been going strong since 1989, with today's members just as dedicated to making it up as they go along and spreading the joy of spontaneous theater.
For those of you who get out newsletter, please note that our 25th Anniversary has moved from February to May 17th! Yes, life is negotiable, we all have lives, so we improvised! Thank you for being great fans and we'll see you in a couple of months!
Um...Gee...Um is very excited to be part of the second annual Santa Cruz Fringe Festival. We'll have 5 shows at Center Stage during the 10-day festival, and anticipate having a blast creating spontaneous theater, using input from our fabulous, fringe-going audiences. Come celebrate the fact that we’re really all just making it up as we go along—some of us just choose to do it on stage!
You can purchase tickets on our SC Fringe Festival webpage:
And be sure to check out the impressive line-up of other shows at the Fringe. A festival pass gives you a chance to see lots of great shows for a teriffic price: http://www.scfringe.com/.
Um...Gee...Um's Fringe Shows
Thursday, July 11 @ 9 pm
Saturday, July 13 @ 3:30 pm
Sunday, July 14 @ 9:30 pm
Wednesday, July 17 @ 7 pm
Saturday, July 20 @ 8 pm
We’re suddenly having a festival of... well... festivals. Um...Gee...Um will be performing as part of four different festivals in the next few months.
First, we’re quite excited to be part of the first Cabrillo Theater Festival. Cabrillo College Theater Arts has opened its black box theater space to local companies this spring and is producing a festival of eight one-act plays, and one improv show--guess who! UGU will be performing at 9:20 p.m. on Saturday, May 4. The plays run the gamut from ghost stories to Woody Allen, including a bawdy farce presented by UGU member Suzanne’s other theater company, Friends of Gus. Special ticket rates are available if you see more than one show in the festival.
Here’s the line-up:
Handy Dandy by William Gibson directed by Wilma Marcus Chandler (Lampshade Productions)
Believe It Or Not by Storytellers Erica Lann-Clark and Olga Loya
Turn of the Screw by Jeffrey Hatcher directed by Brian Spencer (SEETheatre)
Blackbird by David Harrower directed by Joan Van Antwerp (Van Antwerp Theatre Company)
Breath, Boom by Kia Corthron directed by Karmina Mendez (Rainbow Theatre Company
A Contemporary American’s Guide to a Successful Marriage ca 1959 by Robert Bastron directed by Davis Banta (You Had To Be There Improv and Sketch Comedy)
Death by Woody Allen directed by Adam Stanton (Cabrillo)
Eleanora Duse Dies in Pittsburgh by Don Nigro directed by Robin Aronson (Friends of Gus)
Then, also in May, UGU will be part of the annual Santa Cruz Improv Fest--a great chance to see performances by many of the talented local improv troupes. Our show is on Saturday, May 18 at 8 p.m.
And why should the 21st century be the only world that gets to enjoy all this improv? To rectify this situation, we’re going back in time to Scotland--at least metaphorically speaking--with shows at the Scottish Renaissance Festival (http://scottishrenaissancefestival.org) on June 15 and 16 (exact times TBA). We’ll be improvising one-act Shakespeare plays that will have the Bard twirling in his grave. With delight, of course.
Finally, we’re super jazzed about being part of this year’s Santa Cruz Fringe Festival. We’ll have five shows during the 10 days of the Fringe, July 11 through 20. Check out www.scfringe.com for all the details closer to the date.
In honor of our 24th Anniversary, GT weekly interviewed long time Um...Gee...Um player Suzanne Schrag about improv, Um...Gee...Um history, and more. Read the article here:
We’re excited about the upcoming anniversary show—our 24th. Yes, indeedy, Um...Gee...Um... is celebrating TWO DOZEN years of surprising Santa Cruz—and ourselves!—with our own particular brand of spontaneous theater.
One of our goals for 2013 is to perform a little more. After our Anniversary show on February 23rd, we’ll be performing at the very first Cabrillo Theater Festival on May 4th, and then will be back for another show at the Broadway Playhouse on May 18th. We plan to be iambic pentametering our little improvised buttocks off with spontaneous Shakespeare at the Scottish Ren Faire again in June and, of course, the annual Improv Fest—and maybe even the second Santa Cruz Fringe Festival!—over the summer. Wherever we may be, however, we pledge to continue in our quest to present quality, in-the-moment theater that involves, entertains and encourages our audience to share the joy of story and spontaneity. After all, let’s face it--nobody’s actually got a script for this crazy gig called life.
In honor of our 24th Anniversary, here’s a little bit of UGU history:
Way, way back in the pre-earthquake days of spring 1989, sixteen folks from Wilma Marcus’s Improv class at Cabrillo college got together to talk about forming a troupe. Eight of those people became the original Um...Gee...Um and began presenting improv and sketch comedy (yes, in those first days, some of the stuff WAS actually scripted) at the Cafe Chameleon on Front Street. Early in 1990, the group moved to the Front Street Pub (anyone remember it?) where they performed in the back room on Monday nights for almost 2 years. By 1992, the group had moved exclusively to improvisational theater and to the Actors’ Theater, making up spontaneous skits, songs, stories and even entire one-act plays at the space that is now called Center Stage. They performed there nearly every single Monday night for close to 6 years.
In the fall of 1997, the next generation of Um...Gee...Um was born, doing several shows throughout the year at Actors’ Theatre and the Broadway Playhouse. We even ventured out of our happy frog pond of Santa Cruz to do shows in San Francisco, Monterey and San Jose (where a show at a bar netted us the single suggestion of “beer” for every single scene). The troupe returned briefly to its pub roots on Front Street in 2006, performing the first Friday of each month at Club Caution for over a year. Since 2007, we’ve added gigs at the Scottish Renaissance Faire each year in June—doing spontaneous Shakespeare for patrons in period garb—and the annual Santa Cruz Improv Fest in July, which features the many fabulous troupes that reside and perform right here in our wacky and spontaneous home town.
Space objects and environments are tough for us improvisors. We typically rush through our actions or ignore environmental objects. Here is a glimpse of how that might play out in the "real" world.
We had so much fun at our show on Friday night. Thank you everyone for coming out and being part of our creative experiment in improvised theater. We are playing these days with telling multiple stories at the same time, and with really following our impulses only continuing with stories that feel alive for us. It is making it more clear to us what it is that compels us in our stories, and what makes us feel stuck. Basically the more linear the plot is, the less freedom we seem to feel, and the less inclined we are to move that story along. We seem to enjoy telling stories that have lots of spaciousness, can turn in any direction, and allow us to feel free while at the same time feel compelled to move it forward. I'll post a video from a scene soon. Happy Improvising!