Coop d’Etat

Why did the chicken cross the road? “Well, that is an excellent question,” says Jack Reda, a man who wears a chicken suit for a living. “I don’t know if I can answer it now. It would ruin it for anyone who is going to come to the show” – namely, the “Boneless Chicken Cabaret,” one of a whopping 50 presentations at this year’s Miami Improv Festival. The chicken show – presented by Reda’s troupe, the District of Columbia’s Unscripted Players (D-CUP) – is a combination of “improvisation, sketch comedy, music, dance, and interactive theater, performed by men dressed as chickens. Without speaking any intelligible English, the chickens explore birth, art, karate, and more.” The chicken’s motivation for crossing the infamous road is indeed “one of the mysteries of the universe that we try to unravel,” says Reda. He also notes the date – Friday the 13th – and says, “It’s a little bit scary… and we will certainly try to exploit that.” The festival is the brainchild of Miami improv troupe Just the Funny. While many of their peers ran off to Chicago, New York, or L.A. to pursue comedy, only to disappear in an overcrowded pool of unemployed wannabes, the cast of Just the Funny went wee-wee-wee all the way to… well, just over to the Miami Museum of Science and Planetarium, where they hunkered down and perfected their craft with weekly shows. After several years of toiling away on home turf, the group now has traffic moving the other direction, as the country’s funniest folks head south to the museum for the troupe’s now-nationally-renowned fest. For example, on Friday evening alone, D-CUP will be joined by national acts like the clever and subversive Upright Citizens Brigade (they perform at 8 p.m.) and the Groundlings (whose alumni include Will Ferrell and Phil Hartman; they perform at 9). Jupiter’s aptly-named improv troupe Gated Community goes on at 7; and a program called Inside the Out-of-work Actors’ Studio starts at 10. (“Join host ‘James Tetley’ as he re-lives [these actors’] single high, and most importantly, their multitude of lows through an in-depth interview and a look back at their very short demo reel.”)
Jan. 11-15
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Deirdra Funcheon