Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Our First Show... at Our New Home!

My, oh my! What a night.

Swithun's now the man of the house. He's 8, was about time!
We certainly did not expect such a great turnout for our first show of the season. We realized very quickly how different our experience as a business is going to be since we are no longer "sheltered" by our previous neighbors at the Village Gate Mall. Being inside a building that is considered a destination in itself, helped us grab people's attention even when we may not have been a high priority on their list. But we have grown up and are a "Big Improv Group" now. The fact that so many people showed up to our event for our show *exclusively* made us feel honored, proud, and excited.

Ben & Irwin mind-melded over their love
. . . for sushi.

HONORED, because every time someone visits our venue to see us perform, we feel like superstars. At that moment, we don't worry about anything else because we focus all we've got on our audience's expectations, and do our absolute best to not let them down. We adore the audience from afar and give them the best of ourselves on stage. We may goof up every now and then, but we do it with the best of intentions, promise!

Barbecue vs. Sushi - - - Things that matter.
PROUD, of having such a talented and devoted group of individuals that puts hours of practice into developing a skill that others want to enjoy. Being a part of the Village Idiots family isn't something trivial, it eventually becomes a deep connection that our teammates experience. Just like love, however, it has its highs and its lows. Yet, there's just something about a show performance done with people you trust and respect that beats all the negativity that may burden you. 

EXCITED, as in,
Irwin, illegal "alien" from Mars, is tired of the long drive.
Martha, Mexican smuggler, tells him to go to the back of the truck.

Swithun's smartphone makes him
feel dumb.
This week's show was fantastic, there's no doubt about it. The turn-out was tremendous. The theater is looking great. The cast did an excellent job, albeit being rusty. And we had a beautiful full moon at the end of the show to top it all off.

We are very grateful to everyone that has made this journey of ours possible. We hope to bring you more positive updates as we continue doing what we do best - becoming inspired by our environment, agreeing with the premise, and adding our own flavor of awesome to make the best out of any situation!


The best gospel hit of the Summer 2014: Pre-paid Minutes.

--- Photographs of the show, courtesy of Valerie Peters. We love you, Val!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Idiot Intensive Weekend 2014

Steve and Don waiting for the action to begin.

The weekend of June 27th was one full of fun and excitement for the Village Idiots. For the first time in over a year, the idiots got together for hours on end to learn forgotten concepts, practice rusty skills, and have tons of fun with each other.

Let's face it, it's been a bit of a rough year for the Village Idiots. 
Steve and Curtis embrace. Irwin thinking, "Oh, to be a young man again."

How much molestation can a poor pillar endure?  
Since the end of November 2013 it was more appropriate to call ourselves the "Nomad Idiots," given that we kept bouncing from place to place and didn't stay long enough to set our roots. We bid farewell to our infamous pillar, traveled upstairs to the Upstage Theater (that only lasted one set of shows in New Year's Eve) and performed sporadically at the Writer's and Books gallery while we continued our search for a permanent home.

This madness went on until we discovered our kindred spirit group, Bread & Water Theatre - they're our serious-theater equivalent of sorts.

We have now moved into their theater located at 172 W Main St. as artists in residence. We hope to be partners in crime for as long as possible, and have been sharing responsibilities of getting the place ready for all of our fans to enjoy!


We kicked off the 3-day event with a Characters & Physicality workshop on Friday. We discovered our inner squeaky voices, monstrous strolls, and explored different ways to break the laws of physics!

Steve is like Superman... without any of the upper body strength. 

Laura, stop breaking things!
Ed Keegan
Friday evening, we had special guest and Rhythm Connect owner, Ed Keegan, facilitate a drum circle for us.

The fun was never ending and the whole experience felt like a journey from rhythm and melody to chaos and cacophony and back to pleasant music.

The whole group is already looking forward to another similar experience!
--- Thanks, Ed!
We began our Saturday morning with some Elizabethan speech lessons... That is, "how to sound like Shakespeare without really being a Shakespeare nut." We covered all the different verbal seasonings for our spoken platter, but we all agreed that the best part was getting to insult people repeatedly with goofy, funny sounding, outdated words. Like hedge-pig. We all loved hedge-pig.

Irwin and Steve learning how to read.
We grabbed some lunch together and continued playing, now Short-Form Games & Scenes. We were reminded of how to grade our own performances based on game structure proficiency, mastery of energy flow, and creative presentation. We then tried to repackage some of the Village Idiots classics - such as the Pillars game, where we got to ask Jesus what his favorite food was.
(¡sǝᴉɹɹǝqʍɐɹʇS :ɹǝʍsu∀)

We then had another special guest, Barry Kur, a renowned Lessac Instructor and Professor Emeritus at Penn State University. (Arthur Lessac founded the Lessac Kinesensic Training System for the Voice and Body.) Through the 6-hour Lessac for Voice and Body course, the Village Idiots explored how to create different realities with their bodies based on the potency, buoyancy, and radiancy of our actions. We then experienced how our voice truly originates from the nature of our movements and state of action. It was an innovative experience for our group that, at times, may have looked more like a hostage situation than a theatre workshop (in the words of Teacher Kur).

In Steve's cab, Izzie is dying and Brian just wants a compliment. 
Although the Voice and Body workshop took place over two days (Saturday evening and Sunday morning), let's not skip the Saturday late night Improv Jam! Most of the idiots (those that were not already burnt out by our full schedule of activities) stayed for a few hours and played with each other. Given our busy lives, it isn't often that we get to share the stage all together at the same time. Familiar and not so familiar faces played as one and were already including the great lessons learned during the past couple of days in their creations! Needless to say, it was a blast to see some of the scenes take place.

"What kind of improv intensive would this be without the challenge of long-form?" many improvisors may ask. Well, it's not like the weekend hadn't already surpassed the expectations of the participants already, but we did want to cover as much ground as possible. So, without further ado, the Harolds & Long-Form Techniques workshop came around.

Swithun = security guard. Martha = "I don't care!"
Curtis and Molly perform their e-commerce dance.
Steve just waiting around.

After that, we polished our musical bone with the Creating Songs workshop. Some of the evening's favorites were:

Swithun, Cris, Steve, and David = "Dystopia in the Key of E"
"♪♫ ~ Old people... We can't get into our pants ~ ♫♪"


"♪♫ ~ Don't do crack... Uncle Joe, put that needle down ~ ♫♪"

If you'd like to listen to some of our musical hits, let us know! We're thinking about creating a completely improvised song album if the demand for it is high enough ♥

The last (but not least, by any means) event of the intensive weekend was the Sketch Writing Review workshop. The very talented improvisors also have writing chops, if you didn't already know, and because of the great ideas shared at this event we may dabble in sketch if the conditions are right. (To our fans far away from Rochester - No worries, we would probably put the videos up online instead of performing them live~)

Now that the weekend is over we realize how truly *INTENSIVE* this series of events was. Nevertheless, despite the exhaustion and burnt-out brain cells, we already have a follow-up intensive in the works. Hopefully it will be just as good or, who knows, could it get even better?

As a final note, the Village Idiots would like to thank Rachel Baumgarten for her wonderful photography skills and Molly Hill for playing with us throughout the weekend. It was clear to us that this event would not have been the same without them!

That being said, we now leave you with the complete album of the Village Idiots Intensive Pictures - Enjoy!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Catch 23 Fall Tournament 2013

As hosts of the Catch 23 competition, the Village Idiots wish to congratulate... 


Plan B: Eric Kohl and Brian Calmes
Not The Audience: Steve Spindler and James Battaglia

Third Place

Left Brain, Right Brain: Leslie Bowen and Allie Trimboli


Up Again St. It: Mike Anthony, Laura Fleming, and Andrew Theede
Improv in Triple D: David Coon, Don Beechner, and Derrick Williams
The Badgers: Ken Smith Jr. and Brittany Ransbottom

Other Teams

Cotton has the Hiccups: Eric Kohl and Tommy Godfrey
Passion: Irwin Harris, Martha Vargas, and Peter Schafer
No Communication: Brittany Ransbottom and Robert Karl

Thank you to all the participants of this tournament!

We look forward to organizing more quality events in the future.

- The Village Idiots Team

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Catch 23 Spring 2013 Tournament

These are the participants for the Spring 2013 Catch 23 Tournament.​

FINAL (3/23/13) 7:30p
 THE TONES vs.  
SEMI FINALS (3/16/13)
Friday, February 22
DOUPA (Meg Kristen, Curtis Lazerlee, & Mike Anthony) vs.
TETRIS (Melissa Kelly-McCabe, & Andrew D'Angio White) vs.
Friday, March 1
THE TONES (David Coon, Andrew D'Angio White, & Alyssa Jeanne) vs.
10 ROUND MAG (Brian Calmes & Eric Kohl) vs.
CAIN & BARELY ABLE (Irwin Harris & James Trenton)
Friday, March 8 
THE 20-SOMETHINGS (Brittany Ransbottom, Konrad, & Justin) vs.
WORK IN PROGRESS (Laura Fleming, Derrick Williams, & Mike Anthony) vs.
WE APOLOGIZE (George Haag, Mark Post, & James Trenton) ​

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Catch 23 Tournament Fall 2012

These are the participants for the Fall 2012 Catch 23 Tournament. 


8:00, Sat, 10/20
Pandas & Fake Snow (James Battaglia, Eric Kohl, Hobert Thompson)
vs. Schwoone (Brian Calmes & Peter Schaffer)
 vs. Big Cableknit Sweater (Kathy Crabtree & Don Beechner)


7:30, Sat, 10/13
 Ctl + Atl + Improv (Allie Trimboli, Thomas Macias, Leslie Bowen)
vs. Schwoone (Brian Calmes & Peter Schaffer)
 vs. Big Cableknit Sweater (Kathy Crabtree & Don Beechner)

9:30, Sat, 10/13
 Pandas & Fake Snow (James Battaglia, Eric Kohl, Hobert Thompson)
vs. Hot Sauce on My Burrito (Michael Anthony & Derrick Williams)
 vs. Cape & Cowl​ (Irwin Harris & Mike Mordenga)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Catch 23 Tournament Spring 2012

These are the participants for the Spring 2012 Catch 23 Tournament.

  • Vowel Movement: Andrew Theede, Abby DeVuyst, Eric Kohl
  • Pandas & Fake Snow: James Battaglia, Hobert Thompson
  • Cougar Chasers: Caitlin Heffner, Derrick Williams, Dan Hart

Competing Teams:
  • DOA: Michael Warren, Don Beechner, Ed Keegan
  • Cougar Chasers: Caitlin Heffner, Derrick Williams, Dan Hart
  • Formerly Known as Men: Michael Mordenga, Drew Burke, Nick Maggio, Kathy Crabtree
  • Pandas & Fake Snow: James Battaglia, Hobert Thompson
  • Don't Forget the Wrappers: Paul Minigiello, Caitlin Heffner
  • The Elders: Irwin Harris, Cris Peters
  • Vowel Movement: Andrew Theede, Abby DeVuyst, Eric Kohl
  • Curves Ahead: Annette Ramos, Patricia Farneth, Melissa Weiner
  • Don't forget the Wrappers: Caitlin Heffner, Paul Minigiello

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Improv Resource Center

Sunday, January 16, 2011

change the scene

Saturday, November 6, 2010

"Second to None" 10th Anniversary Clip #4

Hey folks this is the last of the Second to None clips feel free to comment ,or post something you think will help us be better improvisors.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

"Second to None" 10th Anniversary Clip #3

It would be so cool if we could do this as a game. In front of an audience.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

RIFF Saturday Workshops

The following workshops will be held on Saturday morning within various spaces in Village Gate. Each workshop will be repeated twice--one at 9:00am and again at 10:45am. The cost is $40, and you must check in at the Village Idiot's Pillar Theater by 8:50 to be register and be given the exact location of each workshop.

"Intimacy and Group Mind" By Rick Andrews
How do we overcome the fear of improvised performance? By putting trust in our scene partners, groups, and self. In this workshop, we’ll explore the issues of trust, connectivity, intimacy, and group mind from a practical perspective. We’ll work on forging a real connection to our scene partners to get access to more impactful scenework, and we’ll take some of the mysticism out of “group mind” and learn how to connect as an ensemble. Push through your fear to find a better, funnier you.

"Solo Improv Techniques" By Michael Short
How to do work to do a one-person improv show.

"Slowing Down" By John Thompson

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Second to None" 10th Anniversary Clip #1

I Love the history of things. Here is some faces you have seen before and some people you have not seen before. Am i a great writer or what? What? enjoy

Saturday, October 9, 2010

"Second to None" 10th Anniversary Clip #2

I love how young Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch look. On stage you have to get out of your safe place. It is not easy and yeat it is. be fearless and take a chance, it is the best high ever.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Even an Idiot can tell a Story

I like Scott Simon. What he says is correct. Get the audience in the first words out of your mouth. Dont go to crazy town right away make it a fun trip to crazy. Names and images are important. And make sure that trip is something they will remember.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Irony City Improv - Dead Actors - The Matrix

Wow, this is sort of a takeoff on moving body parts but one person does the voices. I would love to try this at a show

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Whose line is it anyway - UK - moving people -

I normally do not like this game, but it is done really well here. The actors keep on talking,and help the audience members along

Saturday, September 11, 2010

ASSSSCAT Improv (5 of 5)

I like the way Tina Fey says this makes me think of that. And then she goes in to a story. I think i am that kind of monologist. Especially when i listen. I love Irwin World but sometimes you have to pay attention. I take that back you always have to pay attention

Saturday, September 4, 2010

ASSSSCAT Improv (3 of 5)

I have had so many dates that ended this way and now its on You Tube. Not that it's all about me. Allthough it should be don't you think.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

ASSSSCAT Improv (2 of 5)

I am like that guy who is in his own little world . Irwin World is a magical litle place where i am worshiped as a god. We only have one zelot in this world me. i must explore other worlds and listen. HELP ME

Saturday, August 21, 2010

ASSSSCAT Improv (1 of 5)

As you can see this follows the classic monology and three beats. I notice things like that .

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Say My Name

Saturday, February 13, 2010


We are family here at the Vip. And just like a family we should support one another. I was not in last nights show but i came to see my brothers and sister idiots act and be funny. If you possibly can and if it does not conflict with other plans go see a show even if you are not in it. This is not the Irwin Harris idiots or(place your name here) idiots it is the Village Idiots. You may not always agree with the decisions made but you should try and adapt if you can. I am not kissing ass here but thanking my lucky stars that i can perform. I am learning. I sometimes use improv in daily life. Remember it takes a Village to raise an idiot. I think we got raised real good.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


How to play Polinius that is the question. Do i play him as the power behind the throne? Or do i play him as a senile old man his best days behind him? Do i play him as a loving and caring father or a man with no moral compass. Is he just a corporate shill to the new king? To thine own self be true. The intent is what i strive for.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Games Idiots Play

While I think we should sometimes stick to the basics of Impro for Stortytellers I love that we try out new games. Last nights show was fun, and as always a learning expierience. Sometimes yes I am in the dark over life and improv but Swifuns in the dark scene was fun. We never burned brighter then in Jeri's Hanukah scene. And Cal's scene left me speechless except for two words . Lets continue in 2010 the decade of the idiot.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pan,Left Right and Center

I have become fasinated by movement. I went to our show last night as a member of the audience and was watching the actors use the whole stage. Sometimes as actors we tend to stay in one spot througout the whole scence . This is sometimes not fun to watch. I would like comments on movement as an actor and how you handle it.I am a beard i want to add body to my work.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The First Love:The Training Wheels are Off

We will soon be moving in to our new studio. I am going to miss the old studio. It was magic and mysterious. Putting in a secret code to get in to the third floor and even having a secret code to use the bathroom. I remember the time during a show we where getting a bit loud and are next door neighbor pounded on the wall. I do not remember which idiot said it might have been Swithun said you can't get in that way. The third floor was like your first love,shy and timid but once you got started boy it was beautiful. We are getting rid of the training wheels and getting a motercycle. We are are the ground floor in more ways then one. I think Village Gate will grow and i think that will be beacause people will coming to see us. We are in the Valley,but very soon we will be on top of the mountain.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Has it been one week since the fest? We are an improv community and growing. Woodstock started out small and it made history. It would be great next year if we could have a speaker of some sort to discuss are unique art form. We are the bastard child but watch us grow and expand and improv. 2010 the new decade of improv.