Have you ever attended a comedy show and ended up one of the performing stars?
Local comic Chris Trew performed the last “Trew +2” improv comedy show of the year on Wednesday, October 21 at The New Movement Theater on St. Claude Ave.
In these shows, Trew selects two random audience members that he has never met before to join him on his improvisational journey.
Selecting random people with no experience in live performance might sound like a recipe for disaster, but Trew makes it work. Trew is a seasoned veteran of comedy and an instantly recognizable figure to anyone involved in the comedy scene. For about a decade, he has held a presence in the Crescent City as a performance artist, and he co-founded The New Movement Theater, a comedy club and workshop center for aspiring comics.
The show has been performed since 2016 and has been featured in comedy festivals in Phoenix, Providence, Richmond, Houston, Chicago, Kansas City and anywhere else Trew brings it on the road.
The show opens with a request of two volunteers from the audience that are perfect strangers. There is a brief run-through of improvisational warm-up exercises, Trew instructs his co-stars not to focus on trying to say something funny, but rather just react to situations and dialogue in the best ways they see fit.
As soon as the show starts, it feels like a cross section where the genres of comedy and thriller meet. When an audience sees an improv show performed by a troop that rehearses regularly, it’s expected that some type of structure will stay intact even if a majority of the material plays out like a stream of consciousness. With Trew +2, the audience feels like they are on a roller coaster ride with no seat belt. No one has any idea about what will happen, or even if the structure of the show will stay together. This leaves the audience’s senses heightened and locked in until the finish.
Comedian Chris Trew, creator of the Trew +2 improv show, selects two strangers to join him on a journey of randomness and hilarity. Photo by Jesse Brooks.
The show works because of Trew’s ability to be a quick-thinking actor while filling the role of a silent show director simultaneously. He starts off each scene with a fragment of a scenario idea, tosses it up like an alley-oop to his fellow actors and reacts and guides the scene without hesitation according to how the two volunteers are processing scene themselves. A majority of the comedic material comes from Trew’s own quick wit and quick reactions.
Trew’s skills are sharp, and everyone in the show’s audience is treated to a front seat lesson that tells us that comedy is everywhere as long as you frame the subject right. Most of us are funny. We say funny things, or funny things happen to us all the time in our lives. In interacting with two strangers, Trew has the ability to pull that funny element out of anyone’s personality just by reacting or building a structure for his partners to react to.
Trew +2 also teaches audiences about the art of conversation as well. When strangers are faced with keeping the lines of communication open to protect a structure, amazing things can happen. As much as Trew guided the contents of the scene, he also showed a powerful instinct to take a step back and listen to his volunteers as the situations unfolded. This can tell us that no matter our confidence and control in some situations, we are all stronger when we listen to our counterparts.
The show will be the last of it’s kind in New Orleans for the year, but Trew says the show will return regularly in the new year. Follow The New Movement- New Orleans on all forms of social media or visit newmovementtheater.com/nola
to keep up with all of their regularly scheduled events.