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Arts Collective @ HCC’s What Improv Group?!’s ‘Love Synchs!’

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As part of a 2-show Valentine Affair on Feb. 10 and 11, What Improv Group?! of the Howard Community College’s Arts Collective performed the second half of their venue, “Love Synchs!.” (The first part was on Friday, “Love Is…?”.)

W.I.G.?! began in February 2009 and has been about “creating and exploring its unique underground take on improv and storytelling.” They have performed throughout the local area and partnered with Steppenwolf West (Los Angeles). This season it continued to partner with Howard County Poetry and Literature Society and Howard Community College’s Arts and Humanities Division.

Using their fine array of performers from their earlier productions, including Douglas Beatty, Jordan Colea, J.P. Desmond, Noelle Ford, Doug Goodin, Chania Hudson, Daniel Johnston, Thomas Matera, Emma K. McDonnell, Apryl Motely, Dana Panczenko, Lauren Tobiason, Lauren Blake Williams, and Sierra Young, we were entertained cabaret-style including Valentine snacks, sweets and beverages. Each table was covered with hearts both decorative and edible to add to the theme of love. 

W.I.G.’s Douglas Beatty. Photo by Bruce F Press Photography.

Tonight’s format was little different than their traditional one.  Loosely, the plot was about a drag-show contest where participants, portrayed by cast members, would be judged on their lip-synching ability. The first act introduced us to the characters, most of whom were gender-switching. Almost all the male performers played females and vice versa. As the emcees of the mayhem, Doug Beatty in a blond wig and Sierra Young with a five o’clock shadow, held the group together throughout the fun. 

W.I.G.’s Noelle Ford, Lauren Tobiason, and Lauren Blake Williams. Photo by Bruce F Press Photography.

In the second half, the group took it up a notch as the lip-synching began in earnest lead by two hilarious bits by McDonnell and Ford. However, this is truly an ensemble production and the bravos have to go to the whole group for making this a successful event. They created this wonderful recipe for laughter. As always, each performer complements the others. At the end the audience was up dancing with the artists.

W.I.G.’s 2016-2017 Cast: Back Row: L to R: Daniel Johnston, Lauren Blake Williams, Doug Goodin, Lauren Tobiason, J.P. Desmond, Jordan Colea, Sierra Young, Thomas Matera, Douglas Beatty, Emma McDonnell. Bottom Row, L/R: Chania Hudson, Noelle Ford, Dana Panczenko, and Apyrl Motley. Photography by Bruce Press.

Special nods go to C0-Directors Daniel Johnston and S. G. Kramer, who, as always, kept the action flowing. Linwood Milan was the Stage Manager, and C.J. Cameron was Production Assistant.

Having had the chance to view some of their past productions, it has been a pleasure watching members of W.I.G.?! develop as improvisors.

Don’t worry if you missed this romantic treat because there will be an Improv Festival March 30-April 1 called “Improvaganza” (we’re sure this will be Howard County’s First Ever Improv Festival) which will feature improvisational groups throughout the local area on March 30, 31, and April 1, 2017, including Master Classes on April 1, 2017.

Closing out the season on June 8 – 18, 2017, Arts Collective will mount an Original Devised Play. So, put both events on your calendars.

Arts Collective @ HCC’s Love Synchs! was presented by Howard Community College’s Arts Collective’s What Improv Group?!, on Febuary 11-12, 2017, at Art Collective @ HCC performing in Howard Community College’s Rouse Corporation Foundation Student Center, in Room 400 – 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, in  Columbia, MD. For future Arts Collective events, go to their website. For tickets, call the box office at (433) 518-1500, or purchase them online.

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