Arts and Entertainment

Blue Stilly Players get audiences involved in improv

Seattle-based improvisational performers Andy Clawson, left, and Dusty Lee, both of whom hail from Arlington, led the Blue Stilly Players in an improv session at Legion Park on Aug. 24. - Kirk Boxleitner
Seattle-based improvisational performers Andy Clawson, left, and Dusty Lee, both of whom hail from Arlington, led the Blue Stilly Players in an improv session at Legion Park on Aug. 24.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — The Blue Stilly Players took advantage of the Arlington Farmers' Market on Saturday, Aug. 24, to engage with an audience through their improvisational session at Legion Park entitled "Go Ahead, Be Dramatic!"

While Bridget Clawson, founder of the Blue Stilly Players, had hoped for as many as 50 participants from the audience for the free afternoon performance, Seattle-based improv talents Andy Clawson and Dusty Lee managed to rope in close to 30 amateur players from the crowd throughout the hour-and-a-half session.

"Both Andy and Dusty are local Arlington boys, who are doing good stuff in the big city in all things dramatic," said Bridget Clawson, Andy's mother, who explained that the day's interactive dramatic exercises included warm ups such as word association, as well as story-building based on random sentences submitted by audience members. "We want audiences to have fun and see how easy it is to flex the mind with improv."

According to Bridget Clawson, the Blue Stilly Players have found that local audiences appreciate brisk and audience participation-oriented performances that are free of charge and put an emphasis on fun for all ages.

"We're getting to know the Arlington audience, and matching that with the volunteers we get to stage productions," Clawson said. "Improv sessions are easy to stage and fun for the audience. We're especially aiming to get young people involved in theater, in a low-key and fun but instructive way, that inspires them to do more and explore life through this art. It's memorable because it's so right there, inches away from the audience, getting them to be part of the show."

Clawson reported that the audience feedback she received would support further improv clinics and workshops.

"Next spring and summer will probably lead to more improv, with family-centered material that's fun for the audience, and easy to produce and stage as public art," Clawson said. "The Blue Stilly Players are mainly interested in satisfying the appetite of local residents for free, accessible, family-friendly shows. What we need more of are people who want to get involved in bringing that kind of theater to the public in Arlington."

The Blue Stilly Players are a nonprofit organization whose website is http://bluestillyplayers.com. For more information, email Clawson at clawson4855@msn.com.

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