Beckwith, Tin Shop theaters team up for improv fundraiser

BUCHANAN — Last week, The Beckwith Improv Group tried to hold their laughter in as they watched member Sam Blevins mime climbing a fence to get into a petting zoo.

“Help me up,” she said, exaggeratedly grabbing the arm of one of her cast mates. “I need to see the goats.”

“Freeze!” called out fellow member James Huffman. The scene stopped as Huffman stepped into the scene, completely changing its storyline and jokes.

“I know this was supposed to be a dance lesson,” Huffman said, restarting the scene. “But this doesn’t feel like a dance lesson. Are you sure you want to go through with this?”

Despite letting out a round of laughs, the group members tried to keep things professional as they were preparing for an upcoming performance to take place in Buchanan.

The Beckwith Improv Group is teaming up with Buchanan’s Tin Shop Theatre for a one-night improv show to raise funds for both the Tin Shop and Dowagiac’s Beckwith Theatre.

The event will be hosted at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Tin Shop Theatre, located at the corner of Days and Oak streets in Buchanan. The entrance fee is an open donation. The show is recommended for audiences 18 years and older.

“This is a general funds fundraiser to be split between the Tin Shop and us,” said Ryan Murray, an organizer with the Beckwith Improv Group. “At this time of year, no other productions are going on, so there is no other money coming in, but there are still heating and water bills to pay. We thought this would be a good way to have some fun and raise some money.”

Improv, short for improvisational theater, is a form of unscripted comedy that relies on games, frameworks and occasional audience participation, to create a unique set. Saturday’s show will feature a variety of different skits and games that will provide a unique experience, if for no other reason than an improv show changes each time it is performed, according to its cast.

“It’s fun,” Murray said. “It’s on the spot, and you never know what is going to happen. So far, people have really enjoyed [our shows], and we always have a good time.”

The idea to host the fundraiser came from Blevins, who is both a member of the Beckwith Improv Group and co-chair of the Tin Shop Theatre board. She said the theater was looking to host a fundraiser event, and partnering with the Beckwith Theatre seemed like a good fit.

“We wanted to do something local, and we have worked with the Beckwith in the past,” she said. “We have always had a partnership, and that is something we really want to build up.”

Both Murray and Blevins said they would encourage the public from both Buchanan and Dowagiac to attend the improv fundraiser Saturday, saying that not only would audiences be supporting two local theaters, but that they would experience a good round of laughs, as well.

“It’s just going to be a good time,” Murray said. “It’s a way for people to laugh and enjoy themselves for the night.”

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