Laugh/Riot presents ‘Deviant Behavior,’ the company’s new yearly improv show

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 at 4:32 PM

With February usually comes the New Works Festival, featuring plays by up-and-coming playwrights from throughout the country.
This year, the Laugh/Riot Performing Arts Company has changed things up a bit. They have discontinued their New Works Festival and improvisation group Laugh/Half and have replaced both with a new yearly improv show.

“For the last couple of years, we have had an improv group that performs semi-regularly that was part of Laugh/Riot called the Laugh/Half,” said director Rob Connick. “We couldn’t give it the time or energy to give it a full production and I felt like it pretty much plateaued, that without investing more time and effort into it, it wasn’t going to get better.”

“Deviant Behavior” is an all-improv show, part of Laugh/Riot, directed by Rob Connick. It will feature special guests — local magicians Cliff and Amy Hopkins on Fridays, burlesque troupe ladies on Saturdays and musician Justin Moyar on Sundays.

The first 30 to 40 minutes will feature an improv show where red and black teams will compete for points. After the show, a winner will be selected, then the special guest will perform. Given 40 minutes during the special guest performance, the cast must put together a 15-minute play based on what the audience tells them and perform it to end the evening.

“At that point the audience will give a literary genre or film genre, TV genre, a title, and someone will either pull a prop out of their purse, give them a jacket, give them a shoe, give them something, give them a character,” said Connick. “Then the cast is going to have that entire guest performance time to go away and when they come back they are going to present a fully original, newly created 20-minute play, with that title, in that genre, with that prop or character, as one of the main pieces
to it.”

Connick emphasized the performance will be different every night because it is improv and the actors are coming up with everything on the spot based on audience participation.

“It’s going to be based on what the audience calls out and what they’re given to work with; we wont know for certain. Odds are in eight performances they’re never going to get the same things called. That will make it a challenge for the actors,” Connick said.

“Deviant Behavior” is part of Edinboro’s theatre history. It was an improv group on campus from around 1999 to 2006, in which Connick was involved during his time here at Edinboro.

Connick mentioned the fact that every year they try to bring back an old show from the program’s history. This year, with “Deviant Behavior” being brought back, it has caught the attention of alumni with whom this might be a familiar name.

“We’re hoping that by bringing the name back we are showing how even though Laugh/Riot isn’t connected to the university, we are still very much a part of the performance history here and aware of it,” said Connick.

The show runs Feb. 16, 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. It also runs Sundays, Feb. 19 and 26 at 2:30 p.m. in Diebold Performing Arts Center.

Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for E.U. faculty, staff, seniors and non-E.U. students and $3 for E.U. students. Ticket and show information can be found online at or Facebook. com/LaughRiotErie.

Anna Ashcraft can be reached at ae.spectator@ 

Tags: laugh riot

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