Midseason Replacement Celebrates 1 Year
Improv theater is on the rise in Pittsburgh, and there are a handful of local theaters who offer attendees the opportunity to experience it in the flesh. The Steel City Improv Theater (or SCIT for short) is definitely spearheading the movement, fostering the growth of many local troupes who have the chance to hone their craft on stage in front of a live audience. We even profiled them earlier this year in an interview. One such group, Midseason Replacement, emerged on the scene a year ago and has had quite the successful year, nabbing the “2012 Outstanding New Group” at the SCIT Awards. We had the opportunity to chat with troupe member Mike Peditto while he reflects on the past year before gearing up for their 1-year anniversary show this Saturday at the SCIT.
Midseason Replacement’s improv style stems from the premise that, “Sometimes sitcoms just don’t last, and the network’s only hope is a Midseason Replacement”. Each performance begins with a rather typical sitcom exposition, but quickly turns wild.
“Typically we will ask the audience for a happy memory from their childhood, such as their first kiss or learning to ride a bike, and we take that event and recreate it within the world of a sitcom using the big outlandish characters sitcoms feature, the bad choices, and situations sitcom characters always wind up in,” which usually results in something bizarre. “The lack of a script and the fact that improvisers like to make bold fun choices often leads to the show taking the route to a conclusion that you don’t typically see on TV.”
Saturday’s anniversary special will be twice the length of their usual performance, which takes place the second Saturday of every month at 9PM at the SCIT. “Our typical show is about 20-25 minutes like a normal sitcom, but this particular episode is going to be a double episode and feature more opportunities for the audience to guide where the show goes.”
As if this milestone weren’t enough to be proud of, the group had the opportunity to participate in The Del Close Marathon in NYC, a 3-day event at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater in which improvisers from around the world travel and perform for 56 straight hours.
“Even though we didn’t have the most exciting time slot performing at 6:45AM, we got to perform the show at the main UCB theater where so many amazing people have performed, and even at that hour the theater was still full, mostly from people who stayed up all night watching shows. Being around so many people who loved what we do as much as we do was refreshing, and getting to see people like Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz perform live was the kind of thing you don’t get a lot of chances to do. Horatio Sanz took a bunch of vine videos with us after the show and was so happy to do it. Improvisers in general are very friendly and welcoming people, and spending a weekend meeting and talking to all these different people with so much experience and talent was great.”
The experience has ultimately strengthened the talents and camaraderie of the group. “Getting accepted to perform in the marathon was such exciting news, and was that extra shot we needed as a group. We came back from the trip a much stronger team and I think it has shown.”
Catch Midseason Replacement this Saturday, November 9th at Shadyside’s Steel City Improv Theater on Ellsworth. The show starts at 9PM and tickets are only $5.