POWELL, Wyo. - The newly established Wild West Players will inaugurate an ongoing community theatre program in Powell with improvisational performances Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13 and 14. The shows begin at 8 p.m. both nights in the Nelson Performing Arts Center Auditorium at Northwest College.
“We started the Wild West Players this fall,” director Fred Ebert said, “with the notion of establishing a community theatre troupe that can endure. With Northwest College as a cornerstone, we can explore a variety of theatre forms while building and maintaining a solid core of community members, young and old, who enjoy working the stage.”
Ebert said the December performances are the result of one of those explorations — an improvisation workshop. “When it comes to theatre,” Ebert said, “improv is the hardest form to learn, let alone to master.”
Unlike most theatrical presentations, the actors have no prepared lines to deliver in what is usually a very controlled situation. Instead, they are totally dependent on the audience to drive the performance.
The Wild West cast members will set up a variety of improvisational opportunities ranging from singing to Wikipedia entries and unusual circus acts, but audience members will determine the topics and situational conditions of each act.
Props figure prominently in many of the skits, and political topics are showcased as well. In one set-up, audience members will draw character names out of a hat to assign improvisers their role to play at a political after-election celebration.
“Since this is such a new presentational form for our cast members,” Ebert said, “we’re also looking for test audiences Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 11 and 12, to help us work on our improv skills. If anyone is interested in being a victim, or make that a guest, on the preview evenings, show up at the door at 7:55 p.m.”
The Wild West cast features the improvisational talents of Carter Reed of Cody; Matthew Dillon of Greybull; Bobbie Brown, James Hooper and Meryk McArthur of Lovell; and Alex Flom, Madison George, Josiah Hogan, Connie Moore and Troy Hunt of Powell.
Admission to both preview and final performances is free, but canned food donations will be accepted at the door to distribute to local food banks.