Improvisational comedy, by definition, fits whatever situation in which it’s deployed and touring comic/instructor Michael Glatzmaier will offer three consecutive nights that show differing angles to the craft.
Glatzmaier, currently on the road but originally from Washington state, will host improv programs Thursday through Saturday nights at Bare Arms Brewing, with offerings including music, an “Improvised Drinking” workshop, standup and improv performances.
It’s a return to Bare Arms for the 31-year-old Glatzmaier, who performed there in August. This time he brings a varied lineup aimed at raising money for his MG Teams program and shooting footage for an ongoing documentary that pairs onstage comedy performances with a look at life on the road in between.
The three-night stand starts Thursday with a night of standup and improv comedy with a musical flavor with Glatzmaier joined by comics Mike Hudak and Daniel Celiz.
Glatzmaier and Los Angeles comic Jake Sanders will team Friday on “Improvised Drinking,” a workshop on improv comedy and limited to those who are of drinking age. Saturday is a night of improv performance, with Glatzmaier, Sanders, comic Eric Patno and others in a program Glatzmaier compares to the television improv series “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”
Glatzmaier finds more than laughs in improv and its techniques. Improv theater in high school helped build the self-confidence and motivation that moved him into mainstream classes from special education ones, he said. Something as simple as the open-ended “yes, and” principle of improv, where a performer is encouraged to be creative while not limiting a partner, has multiple non-theater applications from the business world to helping teens with emotional and mental health issues.
“I teach a lot of team building and improvisational theater is a great tool,” he explained. Improv training drives his and his wife Natasha Vargas’ company MG Teams.
Vargas presently is working remotely while staying with family as Glatzmaier has been living out of his suitcase for the last three months, performing, holding workshops and making a film that combines comedy performed onstage with scenes from life on the road. The latter spans what goes on during those brain-numbing long drives between gigs, the highs of performing before a packed club, the lows of shows with tiny audiences, and those odd incidents that often find their way into comic invention.
One of his more memorable offstage moments came during a fanboat ride in a Florida swamp where an alligator attacked the boat. He confesses he’s hoping someone will invite him to do something Texan and filmable — shoot guns, rope cattle or ride horses, say — while he’s in town.
For someone in improv, a “yes, and” response can take you to all sorts of new places.