Four troupes of improvisational comedians from across the region are showcasing their unusual entertainment style this weekend in the second annual Iowa Improv Festival. David Kaniuk, a member of the Des Moines-based group Comedy XPeriment, says people who haven’t seen improv before are in for a refreshing treat.
“What I would expect from it is really fast-paced comedy, unlike what you’re going to see on TV,” Kaniuk says. “TV has gotten so plotty and so fake.” Unlike a scripted play, members of the audience are able to toss out ideas and improvisation troupes create scenes, short skits or complete plays instantly, making each show unique.
He says the Comedy XPeriment troupe performs long-form improv. That’s like putting together a one-act play based off of a few suggestions. Other groups, like the Cedar Rapids-based Comics In Action, or C-I-A, do short-form improv which is more like TV’s “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” with quick games and a faster pace.
In addition to C-I-A and the Comedy XPeriment, the festival will also feature the group “88improv” from Omaha and another Des Moines troupe, called OM NOM NOM. Each of the four groups perform each night for about 25 minutes.
“It’s not really a competition,” Kaniuk says. “It’s more like a celebration of the art of improvisation and also just a chance for us all to get together.”
The festival runs tonight and Saturday starting at 7:30 each night at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines’ Stoner Theater. Learn more at “www.facebook.com/ComedyXPeriment”