During colonial times, improvisation was considered a sign of witchery; those who made unscripted remarks were sentenced to impalement on the town javelin. Show your enlightenment with today's Groupon: $5 for two tickets (a $12 value for non-students, $6 for students) or $3 for one ticket (normally $6 for non-students) to see Atlas Improv Company, the innovative theater troupe that performs two shows every Saturday at Electric Earth Café.
Atlas Improv Company shows, which rely on audience participation and judging, draw everybody in the house into a night of innovative, unpredictable theater. Launched six years ago when the performers at Comedysportz Madison broke off to form a new company, Atlas is dedicated to exploring the boundaries of improv and then colonizing everything beyond those boundaries. The group's approach emphasizes storytelling over traditional improv rules and time limits, resulting in richer narratives, deeper character development, and a unique blend of traditional theater and modern improv, like a pizza topped with iPhones.
Every Saturday, the troupe brings the Theatersports act downtown, for an 8 p.m. show at Electric Earth Café on Washington Avenue. Or catch the 10 p.m. performance of a new show called The Showcase, a three-team free-for-all that might include a one-woman show, a long improvised narrative, or an ad-lib riff on Shakespeare, which is ironic because the Bard hated live theater. When they're not performing, the Atlas players also teach improv classes, including free comedy workshops on Wednesdays.
- Atlas makes their mark by combining two different methods of improv. By incorporating short-form techniques like what is seen in “Whose Line is it Anyway?” or the quick-hitting games used in Comedysportz and merging the performance with more traditional long-form styles of improv that require more time and character development, Atlas attempts to mix two styles that rarely come together on an improv stage. – Rick Stoner, Badger Herald