An exciting musical Harold inspired by an audience suggestion.
David H. Hepburn, Daryl Patrice, Stephanie Rae
As Yet Unnamed will perform in the 8:35 pm block on Friday, August 16.
We’re so excited that As Yet Unnamed is making their Countdown debut this year! We absolutely love your format, which you describe as an exciting musical Harold. How did you come up with it, and what do you love about performing it?
We love putting our own spin onto classic improv forms, and we are all big musical theatre nerds, so when we started playing around with the Harold, adding music came very naturally.
One of our favorite things about this form is seeing how the songs we’ve created lead us into richer scenes and characters. Musical improv gives you very little time to think, so sometimes we’ll blurt out a line like ‘I’m so excited to go swimmin’ and I’m gonna eat a lemon’ and think ‘Oh Lord, now I have to justify this thing that makes no sense.’ But then, through scenework, we discover that our character really does love lemons, and this is an important part of the story, and it actually makes *perfect* sense! And that moment is always hugely satisfying.
How do the three of you prepare for a show? Are there different modes of preparation for the improv portion and the musical portion?
We like to warm ourselves up with a game or two: Justify, Three Sentence Scenes, and Four Corners are a few of our faves. Then we just like to run the Madrigal one good time, and hope for the best!
How did the three of you meet and start performing together? What do you love most about performing with one another?
We actually met each other randomly at an improv show that Stephanie was performing in. Daryl was sitting in the audience next to David (we were the only black people there so naturally we gravitated to one another). After the show we approached Stephanie and drowned her with compliments and the idea was thrown around about an all-black improv team, and here we are! We love performing together because we each have something different to bring to the table, so we all shine and help each other shine. We’re fully open to bringing each other our weirdest, most vulnerable, and authentic selves. There’s a lot of trust between us.
You’re from Miami, where you’re members of the Black Improv Alliance, established earlier this year. Could you tell us and our readers a bit about BIA’s mission, and what you have in store for South Florida audiences?
Our mission is to bring black folx together in a space where they can feel free to be their own kind of funny. Many of us have experienced racial insensitivity in one form or another within the improv circuit. In the BIA we seek to create a safe space where there are no “tokens,” we’re not the butts of jokes, tropes, or stereotypes. We’re just us, freely and unapologetically.
Right now we’re still playing around the greater South Florida tri-county area (Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties), but two of us, David and Stephanie, just played our first out-of-state festival, the Baltimore Improv Fest! On Monday, September 9, we’re playing Indie Night with our friends at Improv U in Delray Beach! Check us out at 9:15pm!
Running this festival each year, we’re consistently amazed and impressed by the sheer volume (and high quality!) of improv coming out of Florida, especially South Florida. What do you think makes the state/region such fertile ground for improv in particular?
Part of it is definitely the diversity that is in Florida, especially South Florida. So many different stories, so many different kinds of funny! There’s a little something for everyone, and we’re excited to add our own flavor to the community!
And, finally: one of us has never been to Miami! What’s the first stop you’d recommend someone make on their first visit? (It can be food-related, but it can also be someplace totally random!)
Well, besides the beach, a very popular part of Miami is the Wynwood Art district. There are great places to eat (like Kush Gastropub) drink and dance (like Wood Tavern, Brick, and Gramps, which also has a dope drag show called Double Stubble every Thursday night) and just walk around and enjoy art (Wynwood Walls is great for that). But also, our friends at Speakeasy Theatre have scripted and improv shows every Saturday night, and classes every Thursday night and Sunday afternoon!!