LACONIA — Okay, we need a time, place and a group of people. How about Friday night for the time, the Beane Center can be the place, and for the group of people, Laconia Improv and an audience ready for unpredictable comedy.
Laconia Improv was founded in the fall of 2013 by Josh Rowson, a recent graduate of Laconia High School. For the past few months, Rowson and three others — fellow alumnus Zina LaBrie and current LHS students Taylor Gagne and Mariah Hawkins — have been practicing the art of improvisational comedy. The troupe is holding its first performance on Friday night at the Beane Conference Center on Blueberry Lane in Laconia. A second performance is scheduled for Jan. 31. Both shows start at 7 p.m. and will have an admission fee of $6.
Rowson said he first became exposed to the concept of improvisational comedy through his 14 years of participation in dramatic productions. When on stage, if he or another actor forgot a line, those in the performance would make up something to say in order to stay in character and to keep the plot progressing. Improv comedy takes it a step further, putting actors into a situation but without a script at all, forcing them to improvise lines in reaction to other actors and suggestions from the audience. The format was used for the ABC television show "Whose Line is it Anyway?" which aired from 1998 to 2007.
Rowson decided to start Laconia Improv because he's currently a substitute teacher and a student at Lakes Region Community College — his ultimate goal is to earn an English degree and become a teacher — and he suddenly found himself without an outlet for his dramatic passions. The idea to start an improv troupe was suggested by his former daycare provider, Julie Rothemund. "She gave me the idea to start something like this thinking that I know what I am doing. And to be honest, in improv you have no idea what you are doing, well, I don't anyway," he joked. "It's all made up on the spot, really. You are bouncing off the other person's words and actions."
Those who come to his group's first performance should expect the possibility of a few curse words, said Rowson. He added that the audience will be invited to provide suggestions for various skits, though he noted that participation is strictly voluntary.
If response to the two scheduled performances is positive, Rowson said he will plan additional shows.