‘Not Yet Rated’: an unscripted horror comedy

2 minute read
'Not Yet Rated' blends comedy, horror, and cinema with improv theater. (Image by Karen Coleman-Hinners)
'Not Yet Rated' blends comedy, horror, and cinema with improv theater. (Image by Karen Coleman-Hinners)

Do you like scary movies but wish the scripts were more original? Not Yet Rated: An Improvised Horror Comedy uses an audience suggestion and your favorite horror movie tropes to create a completely new improvised movie on stage.

Mike Marbach, Artistic Director at the Philly Improv Theater, has been directing "movie" themed Halloween shows since 2011. In 2017, he created and currently directs Not Yet Rated as an all-encompassing improv team covering themes of horror, action, rom-coms, and more. The show combines Marbach’s love for movies and improv in a way that both “creates something new and pays homage to the source material.”

The cast is made up of veteran improvisers Kelly Conrad, Wilfredo Diaz, Matt Garren, Derek Hayes, Brendan Manklang Kingston, Kirsten LaCerda, Dara Lyons, and Whitney Rumble.

Scary funny

Cast member Brendan Manklang Kingston believes the ‘movie’ to be an entertaining improv form because it “allows for drama, comedy, and wild imaginative scenes that you just don't have enough time to do in most improv formats.” Kingston says comedy and horror go hand in hand because “being scared and laughing are both involuntary reactions that are about building up tension and then releasing it in a surprising way.”

Besides being an hour-long narrative, Not Yet Rated differs from the average comedy show because of its specialized tech. Jack O'Keeffe, tech producer, is essentially another improviser in the show—improvising the lighting, sound effects, scoring, and soundtrack of the movie as it develops on stage.

Improv cinema

Cast member Kelly Conrad is a genuine fan of the improvised movie structure because the improvisers “can't really do this show lukewarm; you have to do everything with full commitment or else the audience won't buy it.” The cast hopes to use their imagination to create plotlines that are scary, gross, hilarious, and cohesive.

What, When, Where:

Take a break from the good old-fashioned tradition of watching scary movies in October and celebrate Halloween with Not Yet Rated, an improvised horror movie that you’ve never seen before and will never be seen again. Come get your fill of monsters, haunted houses, demonic possessions, and psychological thrillers with Not Yet Rated: An Improvised Horror Comedy, performing from October 24-31 at the Philly Improv Theater, 2030 Sansom Street. Tickets are available online.

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