It’s with great pleasure that I got to practice with (mostly) short form troupe Junk Science (I’m also happy that short form beyond the Family Friendly show is making a 2018 return to DCH with the Big Friday show).
When I asked them if they had heard people malign short form before – maybe it was just my own small anecdotal sample size? – they all did that slow, sage, thousand-yard-stare nod.
The mainstream success of Whose Line Is It Anyway? doesn’t automatically make short form some sort of inauthentic improv version of Bud Light. Not only do audiences like it, but if the haters would give it a chance as performers, they might find that GAMES ARE FUN, and play to a lot of improvisers’ strengths.
Nonetheless, those who won’t be converted will still find something to like with Junk Science, as they punctuate every short form game with a long form scene, calling back on some of the ideas and jokes raised in the game.
"We were aware of short form's reputation for being hack or jokey, which is initially why we included long form. Then when we realized how fun it was to mix the two, the format really stuck,” says Anna Gould.
"While performers appreciate the level of difficulty of long-form, first time visitors have responded really well to short-form,” adds Junk Scientist Steve Evans. Not just first timers, but vets like yours truly.
Doing both types in the same show is part of the allure for Pablo Mares. “I like the challenge of doing different types of improv in the same show. It forces you to use different parts of your brain.’
The remainder of Junk Science is Mimi van Amerongen, Chris Cuan, and Mike Standish, and they are dedicated. The training center is normally bursting with troupe practices late Sunday mornings, but on December 31st, Junk Science and I had the joint to ourselves.
That dedication may explain their hilarious, polished practice, one that always keeps the audience in mind. "I love this troupe because they are trying to create an EXPERIENCE for the audience; not just a performance,” says coach Allie Trimboli.
Mike: "We started with a King of The Mountain run, and then we crafted this mix of short form and long form: shlong form."
Did I mention the wordplay was heavy with these guys? Oh, now you’re gonna tell me you don’t like puns, either.
Their next show is Thursday, January 18th at 9:30PM.
Kevin Beane graduated from the DCH improv program in 2016 and is in the DCH troupe Preschool Fight Club. He also cohosts Quizprov, with occasional DCH shows, and performs in the Dallas-area troupe Autocomplete. He likes sports, eating, sleeping, board games, poker, euchre, and procrastinating. He hails from Akron, Ohio. You can also read him in TheatherJones.com, where he is the DFW comedy beat writer.