1/10/18: Hansbury & Slack
What: Brian Hansbury and Beth Slack perform an improvised hour-long musical based on a suggestion from the audience, exploring an important moment in someone's life.
And? These two (three if you count their pianist Jody Shelton - and you should) consistently blow me away with their talent, humor, and heart. This particular rendition of a couple anticipating the birth of their child while Ocean's 11 plays on the television was both touching and hilarious.
1/12/18: Improvised Shakespeare
What: A troupe of five players improvise a ninety-minute play in iambic pentameter (ish), based on a suggestion from the audience, using familiar Shakepearean tropes, style, and structure.
And? These guys are absolutely phenomenal and I don't know how they do what they do. "The Globe and the Shell" was hilarious, weird, bloody, and full of weasels.
What: Young mayor Jeff gets persuaded by former classmate Lydia into painting downtown red, in the hopes of putting their small town on the map, revitalizing outside interest, and boosting commerce. When the outside interest comes in the form of a bus tour full of made-up stories, they have to decide if what they love is the town or those who inhabits it.
And? I think whatever message playwright Greg Pierce was trying to convey was muddied at best. It is a good question, but there's a lot of excess noise, to the degree that I ultimately didn't know why we were here. (I also got a bit annoyed by the set design, but it's a bit of a petty rant that would probably be appreciated only by my fellow PHTS alum)