Sounds, Sights, Submerged

Improv is like a boxing match. No one knows the outcome, so when someone lands an effective (comedic) blow, the audience hangs on the tension that the opponent will falter, unable to come back or outdo the initial punch. “You're my manager!” an accounting intern says to his male boss, for example. “The bikini is kind of creeping me out. And you don't look like anything like Princess Leia at all.” But the members of a good troupe know each other and use that to their advantage, expanding the sketch. “Well you look fantastic,” the boss replies. “I have to say, you're the best Power Ranger that accounting has ever had.” This type of comedy usually involves wild gestures and sometimes props and sight gags, but RadioStar Improv, as its name suggests (whose members spontaneously uttered the above exchange in “Dress Code”), instead records its sketches for podcasts. “The thought was that most performance improv relies heavily on the energy of the audience, physicality, and facial reaction,” producer and performer Dan Wilson says. “What would nonvisual improv look like?” Tonight at RadioStar/Submergency, you can see how the troupe does with an audience as it records a session onstage. It certainly has the motivation to do well; its collaborator is a group (also aptly named) known for using water, whose skits “carry the potential for sopping vengeance, should the performers fail to perform adequately.” It's part of January's B.O.O.M. Fest (short for Best of Off-Market), in which numerous groups who've used the theater during the past seven years return for short engagements before it closes.
Wed., Jan. 26, 8 p.m., 2011

 
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