Instant Art

Photo: Mark Arbeit

Laughtrack Theater Co. has been whooping it up since September 2008. The improv training center and theater was founded by Shannon Winpenny, who spent years studying and performing with Mainland groups like Second City, and Kim Potter, who serves as the director of the training center.

 “There’s been great improv in Hawaii with troupes like Loose Screws. We just wanted to give a space for it,” says Potter.

Most people are familiar with the art of improv in its short form. Long-form improv is closer to a one-act play, where the suggestion “potato!” could lead to a 25-minute skit on poverty and Ireland.

“We create relationships and characters instantly, then tell a story,” explains Winpenny. “There’s no script, so you need a group bond.”

There are two ways to enjoy Laughtrack Theater. One, sit back and enjoy the shows, which take place weekly on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 and 10 p.m. Tickets are $10, and the place is BYOB.

Or, if you want to try something new, enroll in the improv classes taught by Winpenny. She’s had about 100 students and has been surprised by the variety. “We’ve had a former Buddhist nun, OHA members, cake bakers, construction workers.” The six-month-long classes meet once a week for three hours. 

 “The big thing coming in to watch or do improv is to let go of judgment,” says Winpenny. “Then you can really enjoy what you do onstage—and off.” 1123 Bethel St., 384-3362.