To Laugh or Not to Laugh: Improv Shakespeare at Garner Galleria

The Bard as you’ve never experienced him before.

Have you ever heard of It’s All True by Shakespeare? How about Edgar and Rebecca’s tragic love story, or Charles’ betrayal?

Of course you haven’t! That’s because the play was completely improvised in one night and performed by the Improvised Shakespeare Company at Denver’s Garner Galleria Theatre. Using themes and language based on the writings of William Shakespeare, the Improvised Shakespeare Company creates a play on the spot using an audience suggestion for a title, with each performance promising a completely unique experience.

“You had to be there” definitely applies here.

My experience

It’s not an exaggeration to say that I laughed the whole time. My cheeks and ribs hurt when the show was over. The play I watched was called It’s All True, which came as a suggestion from the audience.

Ross Bryant, one of the actors, took center stage to begin the production, proclaiming to the audience, “Wake up, sheeple. It’s all true.”

The play was about a king with two sons, Edgar and Charles, one of whom is conspiring against him. The king orders one son to kill the other, and from there, hilariousness ensues. A queen enters into the picture along with some feral orphans, and in the end everyone dies except the orphans, who are revealed to be the French in disguise. The speed of the actors’ improvisation was amazing, and incredibly funny. At one point during the performance, all the actors even broke into song, creating lyrics on the spot.

For lovers of Shakespeare, the Improvised Shakespeare Company is a perfect way to experience the funny side of the Bard. Even if you’ve never read or seen one of the real plays, the humor still translates, and you’re guaranteed a good laugh.

What to know

The Improvised Shakespeare Company will be performing eight unique shows a week at the Garner Galleria Theatre through March 22, 2020. The performances are broken into distinct acts, performed for 90 minutes straight with no intermission, but cocktail service is available throughout. Tickets for most performances are $42. Check out denvercenter.org for tickets and more information, and learn more about the company at improvisedshakespeare.com.