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    TheatreSports

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    TheatreSports is actually a hybrid of acting and competitive sports. Each evening is a duel in improvisational theater of rival teams, umpired by an impartial referee. The teams perform short scenes using a medley of improvisational games, all based on audience suggestions. The winner is sometimes decided by the audience and sometimes by the judges. The teams are rated round-by-round for skill, story and entertainment value. TheatreSports is practiced in fifty cities in eleven countries (including the English-speaking countries and Scandinavia). Freestyle Rep is its New York conservator and licensee. The Sun (Brisbane, Australia) has written, "TheatreSports is fiendishly clever, and is open to more twists, strategies and impossible plays than any test match on the playing field." The sport was originally created in the '70s in London by Keith Johnstone, who was then working at the Royal Court Theatre but has always testified that he got the idea from watching the rough-and-tumble theatricality of professional wrestling. It did not flourish until 1971, when Johnstone took up teaching at the University of Calgary. (Improv had not caught on in England at the time, partly because, unlike Viola Spolin's Chicago in the 1950s, playscripts had to be approved by the Lord Chancellor). Like many sports, an evening of TheatreSports begins with a coin toss. Each team mounts a series of "deliciously harrowing improvs" (Peter Filichia, Theater Week) in response to audience suggestions. To forestall boredom or break out of a stagnant skit, a judge can stop the action or yell "thirty seconds" to force the round to conclusion. Traditionally, a large bicycle horn has been used in place of Vaudeville's shepherd's hook. This fall, guest judges joined the contest, including a burly umpire from the Staten Island Yankees, who contributed a spine-chilling "Yerrr OUT!" as needed.

    Dates:  Jan. 6, 2002 - May 26, 2002
    Schedule:  Each Sun. 7 p.m.
    Venue:  Trilogy Theatre, 341 West 44th St
    Price:  $5
    Official site:  http://www.FreestyleRep.org
    Tickets/info:  (212) 642-8202


    Note: Information is displayed as supplied by the producers or publicists and is not written by Offoffoff.com.

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