Improv comedy was born when a procrastinating Shakespeare forced his actors to wing the last two acts of the original production of King Lear, with hilarious results. Embrace spontaneity with today's Groupon to Pan Theater, located in Oakland's Uptown neighborhood. Choose between the following options, which can be kept to yourself or shared with friends:
- For $15, you get a four-show punch card (up to a $48 value).
- For $20, you get two drop-in Intro to Improv classes (up to a $60 value).
East Bay's oldest improv theater and second-largest theater school, Pan Theater has been ad-libbing its way to acclaim since 2002. The small, tucked-away theater features a bare-bones stage and simple lighting that puts the emphasis on the performers and lends immediacy to shows. During each performance ($10 in advance, $12 at the door), audience suggestions lead improvisers to create unique scenes and characters off the top of their specially elongated heads. Say What? (Saturdays at 8 p.m.) features house troupe Awkward Face playing Whose Line Is It Anyway –style theater games, and Your Life Only Different (Fridays at 8 p.m.) follows fellow Pan troupe The Afters as they devise an entire show based on an audience member's life. Awkward Face also revels in glorious paradox by telling the story of their improvised mini play The Untold Story (Saturdays at 9 p.m.). Performers hail from diverse backgrounds, including training with heavy-hitting guffaw gurus the Upright Citizens Brigade.
Plan your infiltration into Pan's secret comedic society or simply shake up your regular routine by taking part in the theater's Intro to Improv drop-in classes ($20 in advance, $30 at the door). This two-hour whirlwind tutorial caters to both the busy and noncommittal by packing one evening with the optimal amount of uproarious, think-on-your-feet games as well as general human-to-human interaction. Classes are currently scheduled on Tuesdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The Pan Theater is an East Bay improv theater and acting school that hosts gut-busting shows from teams culled from its professional training center. Performers entreat audiences for the evening’s theme during shows on Friday and Saturday nights, inciting laugh riots with unscripted scenes that will never be seen again.
The theater's improv acting classes cycle through intense scene work and the emotion-based exercises of Sanford Meisner, a revered acting instructor and forgettable squash player. Four times a year, a free sample improv class shepherds students through the basics of improv with introductory games including Sound Ball and Zip Zap Zop.
Oakland, California 94612Get Directions