Want to add a little more chaos to your holiday season? Director and founder of Camerosity Improv Theater Tim O’Donnell and friends have A Camerosity Christmas in the works. I checked in with O’Donnell and actor Joseph Tanner Paul to get the latest on their raucous, unscripted holiday show.
“Why improvisational theater?” I ask. “What’s the benefit of not having a script?” According to O’Donnell, “An improvised scene is impermanent. When you watch a great improv scene, you are seeing a piece of art that can only exist once.” Adding to this idea of ephemeral beauty, Paul says, “It’s because of this that a particular energy is created that just isn’t there with traditional theater.”
Camerosity has only been around since 2012, and its audiences are primarily made up of “theater people.” Paul would like to see the fan base expand. “We feel that improv can bring in your traditional theater goers but can also bring in people who wouldn’t otherwise show up to the theater. We like to gear our shows toward family … and urge both the young and old to come out and have fun with us.”
O’Donnell concurs, “I love the Eugene theater community. It’s a great group of people. But I want to bring people into the theater who aren’t part of our family. I feel like improv is the perfect welcome sign for anybody who isn’t part of the community yet.”
Will there be audience participation? “Always,” O’Donnell says. “The audience helps randomly select the slides we use in each show. We’re also planning a white elephant gift exchange for after the show, so anybody who brings a wrapped present to contribute can get in on some serious re-gifting.”
Paul says you can expect the unexpected at the upcoming show. “Anything can happen, and what’s done is done; nothing said can be unsaid. Sometimes it’s like a snowball rolling down a hill: It just keeps getting bigger and you’re forced to just roll with it; when it hits the end it’s astonishing what has been created,” he says.
What sells me on this show is that O’Donnell and Paul really, really want you to have a good time. “I want the audience at my show to be cheering and clapping and yelling from start to finish.”
Who can resist that? Join in the holiday cheer this weekend with Camerosity.
A Camerosity Christmas runs 8 pm Friday and Saturday, Dec. 20-21, at the Blue Door Theatre, Lane Community College; $5.