There are plenty of ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve; you could watch the ball drop on TV with family, you could be packed in a bar drinking champagne with strangers or you could be partying with friends, making resolutions about the year ahead.
Knowing that not everyone has exciting plans and sometimes people like to try to start the new year by doing things that might be a little different, the Washington Improv Theater is presenting a New Year’s Eve celebration, with two action-packed improv lineups to help you say goodbye to 2013 and have you laughing as 2014 begins.
“We have done New Year’s Eve shows before, but not every year. It just seemed like a fun thing to do this year since 2013 definitely had more than its share of horrible things, so finding a way for us all to get together and laugh it off is a wonderful opportunity we couldn’t pass up,” says Mark Chalfant, WIT’s artistic and executive director. “Improv is about living in the moment and responding to what’s happening right now. If that’s not an awesome perspective to try on for the new year, I don’t know what is.”
Dan Miller, WIT’s director of external relations, believes the show is a great, low-pressure way to ring in the new year.
“New Year’s Eve brings a lot of inflated expectations in terms of going all-out and partying, our event will be a lot of fun, without the crowds or the ridiculous costs,” he says. “Since there’s no script, every performance is a world premiere at WIT.”
Miller says both shows will be long-form improv, so it won’t be games like on Whose Line Is It Anyway. Instead, the evening will include performances by a broad cross-section of some of DC’s top improv players.
Things will start off with an 8 p.m. show, The End is Near, which includes improv skits, Your Holiday, Crude Mechanicals, and the Resolution Solution.
“Your Holiday is a two-person show where experienced player Topher Bellavia finds a scene partner in the audience,” Chalfant says. “Crude Mechanicals is an improvised show in the style of Shakespeare. And the Resolution Solutions will feature an all-star cast of DC improvisers creating improvised sketches inspired by audience members’ New Year’s resolutions.”
The performance at 10 p.m., includes We Should Talk, featuring Zack and Barb (Chalfant and Catherine Deadman)—couple counselors who haven’t met a couple they couldn’t try to help with their improv-based practice.
“In We Should Talk, Catherine and I are really trying to explore relationship issues on multiple levels. We can take a problem that an audience member has and heighten it to absurd levels, thereby exposing the extreme black-and-white thinking we often fall into around relationships,” Chalfant says. “Our characters Zack and Barb have their own unique, toxic, chemistry which the audience can sense a mile away, so the show also has fun exploring he difference between what we do and how we advise others.”
The later show also includes The Sweater Kittens, a smart and hilarious all-female improv posse; Temporary Surcharge, up-and-coming darlings of the indie improv scene; and another round of Resolution Solution, uproarious scenes from audience members’ resolutions.
“In addition to the unique line-up of shows on the schedule, the all-star cast performances playing with audience resolutions will be a treat,” Chalfant says. “There’s a vulnerability created by audience confessional moments like this, where everyone in the room realizes that each suggestion reflects another member of the audience who is sharing the show experience. That deepens the stakes and at the same time heightens the hilarity.”
The later show will also include a light reception with nibbles, and a midnight countdown complete with champagne toast.
“Post midnight, everyone will leave with sore rib muscles from giddy laughter, and a cathartic relief created by letting go of everything you hated about last year,” Chalfant says. “Laughter clears all the garbage away so we can all start the year with a clean slate.”
Washington Improv’s The End is Near/Here is onstage TONIGHT! (Tuesday, Dec 31st) Two shows: 8pm and 10pm at Source, 1835 14th St. NW, Washington, DC. Tickets: $20 and $25. Details and tickets.