June 2018

Join us for the Inspector General Improv Comedy Crash Course!

On August 18th at 6:45pm Connor McCanlus, Michael McBurney, and Tyler Ray Kendrick will be teaching the fundamentals of improv!

Connor McCanlus (Director) is a local comedy performer, producer, and director whose work has been featured in Chicago (Second City, The iO Theater, MCL Chicago, Athenaeum) and NYC (Upright Citizens Brigade, The Magnet Theater, The People's Improv Theater). He has taught improv and musical improv workshops at Philly Improv Theater, Coalition Theater in Virginia, and the University of Pittsburgh and coached the Point Park University improv club from 2014-2016. His team Well Known Strangers hosts the weekly Pittsburgh Improv Jam at the Cabaret at Theater Square; he performs monthly at Arcade Comedy Theater in Well Known Strangers with Extra Cheese and The babyGRAND Show.

Mike McBurney (Bobchinski) has been performing improv regularly at Arcade Comedy Theater since 2014. He is a member of short-form max team 8-Bit and house team Penny Arcade, which produces matinee shows for children on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month. He also coaches the short-form house team Game Shark.

Tyler Ray Kendrick (Svistunov) has been taking classes, performing, coaching, and teaching comedy in Pittsburgh for the last 3 years. He's well experienced in writing and performing stand-up and sketch comedy as well. He started taking classes at Steel City Improv Theatre and the Unplanned Comedy Warehouse where he currently teaches.

Afterwards, stick around to enjoy Throughline Theatre Company's production of The Inspector General

Suggested donation of $5 for the Comedy Crash Course. Please note, this does not include a ticket for the show. Please sign up below if you plan to attend!

March 2018

This month's blog comes from our Public Relations Director, Michael McBurney, who is an active member of the Pittsburgh theatre community and avid comedy fan and performer:

The theme for the 2018 season is “Make ‘Em Laugh,” and there are a number of reasons I’m excited about that. On a very basic level, comedy is a wonderful salve for the many stresses and injuries that can happen in life, whether in the sense of everyday mishaps or much larger concerns (say concerns over the state of the global climate, the political health of the nation, or how we can ultimately come to properly treat each other as human beings, just as completely random examples). On a personal level, I’m excited because comedy has always been, and continues to be, an important part of my life. I remember getting books out of the library as a young boy to try and teach myself how to make sound effects with my mouth and vocal chords, and while I recall failing spectacularly, I think that started me down the path of trying to mimic voices and accents. That in turn, along with having an English teacher for a father, almost certainly set me down a path to be drawn to theatre and performance.

Now, years later, I find myself lucky enough to be using those skills regularly in many different ways - not least of all at Arcade Comedy Theatre on a team called Penny Arcade. The team performs in the afternoon twice a month, on the second and fourth Saturdays, for an audience of children and adults, and we get to engage everyone by taking suggestions from them and asking for volunteers to help with the short form improv games we play during the show. It is a constant source of joy to see the connections people can find through comedy in these shows, regardless of what was happening in their lives before they walked through the door, and to know that they leave feeling happy, and perhaps a bit recharged and ready to face the world again.

For similar reasons (and for the fact that many of us have had thoughts of numerous comedic plays we’d love to perform), Throughline hopes you will come and join us for this season’s shows. Whether the comedy is witty or bizarre or highly satirical, they all provide opportunities for us to take a pause and revel in a moment outside of our personal lives and be entertained. In taking such a moment, we can sometimes, if lucky enough, gain a moment of perspective that allows us to see things as we hadn’t before, and realize that with the right amount of good humor at our side, almost no task is impossible.

One of the aspects of improv that Penny Arcade emphasizes to our audiences is the necessity of collaboration – in order to perform a truly entertaining scene, the performers have to work together and support each other. Similarly with Throughline, all productions are naturally collaborative efforts, dependent upon the talents of actors, directors, crew, company, and board of directors. Through all of this, though, the collaboration of patrons is an integral part; without an audience to come and see (and truly be engaged in) a performance, everything is somewhat academic. To that end, helping us by becoming a sustaining patron through our Patreon account, a one-time donation, or volunteering to usher or assist with other behind-the-scenes aspect of a show is a collaboration with Throughline that helps immensely and also allows us to connect with the community on a deeper level.

So again, I hope to see you and laugh with you this season! A long-maintained comedic trope is the happy ending, and the more we come to collaborate and laugh together, the more I’m certain we’ll find our way to happiness in each and every day.