Local improviser Dave Morris captures heartfelt moments in his Pick-of-the-Fringe award-winning show Photo Booth, now playing at Intrepid Theatre’s 15th annual Uno Fest, a celebration of solo-performance with shows from around the world.
Morris takes to the stage at the Intrepid Theatre Club with no idea what his show will be about. All he knows is that, with help from audience suggestions, he’ll be weaving a meaningful story — one with complex characters, dramatic action and “a lesson in there somewhere.”
Like a painter with a blank canvas, Morris steps into the spotlight (also improvised by Theodore Sherman) with mimed brushes in hand, ready to paint a picture for the audience and prove that improvisation can be so much more than comedy.
“This isn’t going to be the waka-waka, ha-ha-ha kind of improv,” Morris explains to the audience. “Well, maybe it will be a little on the ha-ha-ha side,” he adds.
And it was. Morris has a natural ability to emphasize the idiosyncrasies of life, the little things and fleeting moments that make living hilariously delicious. He is so relaxed on stage that it helps the audience feel comfortable being lead on an adventure where no one, even the leader, knows where it’s heading.
Three brave audience members got up early on to provide Morris with some inspiration for his story — they each thought of a moment in their lives they would never forget and acted in out in a single pose. Morris then took those three poses and made them the bones of the story.
He told us the story of Jean-Pierre, a half French, half Spanish doll maker whose father was murdered in front of him as a child by his own mother. While his French accent was better than his actual French, Morris’s use of the language, as well as Spanish and broken English added authenticity to his characters. It also added a lot of laughs to the show, especially when referring to his puppet “Honk” (Hank).
His story took the audience on a journey through the desert, over the Cliffs of Insanity and into a drunken sword fight, and shows what happens when love shoots you in the front, instead of stabbing you in the back.
While every performance of Photo Booth is different, the one constant is Morris’s ability as an improvised storyteller to weave audience suggestions and his own ideas into a piece of entertaining theatre. And while it’s not stand-up or sketch comedy like some would expect, it is rather hilarious.
Watch for Morris and his improvised theatre company Paper Street Theatre Co. (An Improvised Tennessee Williams, An Improvised Samuel Beckett and An Improvised Film Noir) which plans to have a full season of improvised theatre next year.
Morris is also offering an improvised storytelling workshop as part of the festival, Saturday, June 2 from noon to 3 p.m. Pre-registration required 250-383-2663. $50.
Friday, June 1 at 9pm
Saturday, June 2 at 6:30pm
Intrepid Theatre Club (1609 Blanshard)