Comedy of endurance at Studio 50's marathon soap-opera
Friday 21 January 2011
Tonight an ensemble of 25 actors and musicians will embark on a stamina-busting, 50-hour improvised comedy soap-opera, the appropriately named Studio 50. This troupe of hardcore performers will be joined by 30 guest artists to help turn Hoxton Hall in London's Shoreditch into a New York nightclub hosting the 1977 World Disco Dancing Championships.
All told, this exhausting event breaks down into 25 two-hour episodes, or to put it another way the equivalent to making your way through the majority of all 136 episodes of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Leading this sustained improv happening is Adam Meggido, artistic director of The Sticking Place, the production company behind a 36-hour soap opera created in 2005 by Ken Campbell. The idea was exported from Canada by Dana Andersen, director of the Die-Nasty soap-a-thon troupe for which Mike Myers has guest-starred.
Meggido, who also created improvisational musical troupe Showstopper!, hopes that this latest outing of the spontaneous extravaganza will see it break out as an established fixture of the comedy theatre scene. Certainly endurance of the physical kind is a given and this exploit will leave its mark on audience and actors alike. "The first 24 hours is usually fine," explains Meggido, "but the during the second night the actors experience what we call 'the gates of hell', meaning paranoia, hallucinations and strange things happening with your depth of vision." This nocturnal neurosis is driven through with nothing more potent than food and water and a 'soap-buddy' who can guide the performer through moments of uncertainty.
Not all of the audience stay for the duration but those that do will also need to recuperate.
'Studio 50', at Hoxton Hall, London N1 (www.improvathon.co.uk) tonight 7pm until Sunday 9pm
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