Voted the Best Local Performing Arts Troupe by readers of the East Valley Tribune in 2011, National Comedy Theatre’s ensemble of players concocts improvised situations at lightning-fast speeds, relying on audience participation and their own wits to elicit thunderous laughter and applause. After turning to their all-ages crowd for assistance in shaping games and scenarios, the cast employs knowledge gleaned from operating-room sketches to tickle ribs with anatomical exactitude. The show often favors spontaneity over prudence, with performers gleefully stepping into their roles as acrophobic skydiving champions or long-winded court stenographers. Audience members get to select the winning team at the conclusion of the show, and can learn the form themselves during improv classes.
A sprawling mandala design covers the floor of Plaza de Anaya's main dance studio, welcoming dancers in with warmth and beauty. Amid that artistic setting, seasoned instructors teach dance styles from around the world that include belly dancing, barefoot flamenco, and anaya tribal dancing. Cultural gatherings are an important part of the school's community, which is why the studio also schedules an array of monthly events and workshops that might be dance-based or include henna tattoos that dance when you pinch them.
Like a young pilgrim climbing a mountain to seek the wisdom of a wizened sage, Dave Thurston made a trek many years ago to the heart of improv comedy: Chicago. There, he studied with Second City, the Annoyance Theatre, and iO, and met such comedic greats as Tim Meadows, Martin Short, and Catherine O'Hara. Now, returned from this metaphorical mountaintop, Dave produces more than 250 shows a year at his network of Outliars Comedy Clubs, and shares his more than 14 years of experience with classes of hopeful improvisers.
Today's side deal slides your funny bone a tall, calcium-rich glass of milk. For $10, you get one ticket (a $20 value) to see acclaimed joke-jockey Marc Maron fling cutting witticisms and acerbic satire from the stage of MADCAP Theaters in Tempe. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to pick up your tickets at the will-call area.