You have to fail in order to succeed, and watching failure play out on stage during an original improv theater performance is thoroughly entertaining. Dad’s Garage entertains more than 30,000 people each year with improv and off-the-beat scripted productions that are creative, original and down-right hilarious. On today’s Around Atlanta episode of Atlanta Real Estate Forum radio, the Associate Artistic Director and Director of Education at Dad’s Garage Theatre, ED Morgan, joins us to talk about the popularity of improv theater and how Dad’s Garage is serving a younger generation by introducing them to arts they never knew existed.
Morgan has been performing with Dad’s Garage since 2007 and has worked as a performer, director and writer, and even co-authored DGTV series and stage shows. Knowing the ins and outs of theater allows him to excel in his career and helps him teach other about the therapeutic techniques of improv. Dad’s was founded in 1995 by a group of guys attending Florida State University who decided they wanted to start a business in theater. Today, the role that the arts play has grown significantly, and thanks to companies like Dad’s, artists are allowed to do their own thing and confront debatable issues with humor and grace.
Dad’s is a nonprofit organization where cast members perform both improvised and scripted live theatre with a mission of “transforming people, communities, and perspectives through laughter.” The improv classes offered at Dad’s trains and rewires, or de-wires as Morgan states, the social filters that our brains have. “People flock to improv because it’s funny” states Morgan. “But it also trains you to explore your imagination and not feel judged for playing around. We want to give your ideas a chance rather than just saying it will never work.”
The theatre currently features weekly improv shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights that are completely original and even feature audience engagement. Morgan states, “There is no age limit for the shows, but be ready to hear adult stuff like you would on a late-night television show.” A tip he offers audience members is to not be terrified of the stage. “If we bring you on stage, it’s to make you look good. We will be the ones looking stupid and you’ll love great!” Morgan said.
Thursday night at 10:30 p.m., cast member at Dad’s will compete on stage during Extreme Elimination. This comedy blends the tiered positions in the company. You will see the experienced artists, the regulars and the rookies battle it out on stage, the audience will score the members and, in the end, the last man (or woman) standing gets the title of best improviser for the night. Friday night hosts Cage Match at 10:30 p.m. where two teams fight like cats and dogs in a long-form improv battle. This show offers four incredibly different shows in only one-to-two hours. Saturday at 10:30 p.m. the longest running live comedy show, Theater Sports, takes place with a game scene featuring three judges who do everything in their power to make members receive a low score. According to Morgan, “This is a great show for an intro to improv. The absolute beauty of improv is you have no idea what’s going to happen.”
Dad’s offers a lot more than evening shows, they also provide corporate events, team building sessions, education, school outreach and private events. They recently expanded their school outreach program to a more flexible system that reaches more young adults. This system allows high school educators to teach improv for free and helps students learn the value of respect, collaboration and understanding, and offers a gateway to students interested in arts. Dad’s Garage will provide interested educators with materials that teach the basics of improv, including video content, worksheets, activities, games and a teaching guide.
For more details on shows and improv classes tune into today’s show with the link above or visit www.dadsgarage.com. Interested high school educators, including those from homeschool co-ops, can read more about this program and request course materials through the program’s webpage.
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