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VIC hits the ‘sticks’

Tuesday, July 28, 2009
VC Reporter and Ojai Valley News
by John Hankins

A contingent of madcap and capricious comic actors from the “Big City” — Ventura Improv Company (VIC) — are dropping in on the smaller burgh of Ojai for an evening of merriment this Sunday.

Call it, “VIC in the sticks.”

This special event is a fundraiser for the Ojai Art Center and a hell-raiser for audience enjoyment, sponsored by Ojai ACT, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2.

The VIC “serves up more laughs per hour than a Neil Simon play, a TV sitcom or a comedy-room show … at a price less than the admission to any other live performance in the county,” wrote Spencer-Lorraine in The Reporter.

Many people in Ojai are already familiar with VIC performers on Ojai ACT’s stage, most recently John Medeiros as the hilarious Pseudolus in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and Gary Best in “Music Man” and “My Fair Lady.” Some Ojai residents who’ve appeared with VIC include Buddy Wilds, Catherine Dain and Shabad MacGregor.

vic players
Any one of these core members of Ventura Improv Company can make you laugh.

Improv is a unique form of entertainment for both the players and the audience, who often create the scenes together — but in any case will be surprised at the result. Or as the courageous, no-fear VIC players boldly declare, “scripts are for sissies.”

“In improv, we expect a kind of collusion with the audience, a partnership in creation,” said Tom Mueller, one of the co-founders of the VIC in 1989 and whose long-time expertise in comedy will be in full view.

Mueller expects at least a dozen players to participate on the Ojai ACT stage and will likely feature a comedy competition of sorts, but then, you’ll never know what exactly will happen and that’s part of the pleasure.

The VIC belongs to the international TheatreSportsTM Institute, and welcomes members and teams from other areas to play in Ventura. The VIC has won competitive awards and features weekly workshops for adults and teens and shows every Friday and Saturday.

To find out more about the VIC, call 643-5701 or log on to: www.VenturaImprov.com.

Meanwhile, get a taste of all-out, unpredictable entertainment this Sunday, 7:30 p.m. at Ojai ACT, 113 S. Montgomery St. Tickets are $15 general or $12 for seniors, students and Art Center members, and may be ordered by calling 640-8797 or log on to: at www.OjaiACT.org.