dcp_2502.JPGValentines day at the Santa Barbara Improv Workshop - it just sounds magical, doesn't it? And as you can see from these first few photos, the romantic tension added a bit more energy to every scene and everyone's performance. Or maybe it was the hats.

I decided to bring the bins of hats, wigs, and other costume props so that the players had a bit more inspiration for their character work, and I think the Expert Panel scenes best showed off the results. In the first photo, above, Li-At, Jim, Tony, Tristan, and Marika were working with the suggestion Frogs. Marika was the moderator. Tristan was Madam Deuchamp, a French frog importer who supplied customers like Jim, the French chef. Both had to deal with Li-At's animal rights character as well as Tony's Paleoanthropologist (yeah, I'm not clear on that last one, either).

dcp_2500.JPGThis group had Bread as their suggestion for Expert Panel, and Angela played a health inspector (that huge, gloved hand was a help when inspecting for cleanliness). Allegra was an accountant (bread!). Ben was a rodeo clown trying to find bread for his peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Sol played a farmer advocating for stone ground bread, and Dustin was the Texas-cowboy moderator. I think Dustin was the most memorable of the moderators, doing a great job of being excited about everyone's answers. The explanation Ben gave about making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich had the audience rolling.

dcp_2503.JPGDavid, Kenna, Terri, and Sharon were Auction experts with Andy as their moderator. It may not be obvious in the picture, but Sharon has a hat over her knee, making it look like she was missing the lower part of her leg. She played the founder of the auction bidder's society I'd Give My Right Arm For That. Her rival was Terri, who usually auctioned off baked goods, but by the end of the piece we knew she had sold at least one child to Sharon's character. David bought Party goods and had the disposition to prove it, and Kenna was the money person at an auction house who typically slept through the bidding. Andy was, well, beautifully underspoken in his enthusiasm.

dcp_2506.JPGNow this was the group you wanted to party with on Valentine's Day. Snow was their field of expertise, and you are seeing Mark as the Abominable Snowman named Snorky Forky, Eric as Lockjaw the gold miner and Snorky's ride, Aydin played the Ukranian Anton Korostis, and Marika as Shelby McIntire, Policewoman and builder of the world's largest snowman. Not in the picture is Jim, who played an enlightened Yoga-Swami sort of moderator. I think my favorite moment from this group was when Snorky was asked how he felt about the term Yeti, and he said "Yeti is insulting and makes me sad".

dcp_2490.JPGThis shot is from a Surprise Lines scene which used those little candy hearts with messages written on them for the lines. You can see Terri and Tristan are reading their hearts, and no, Tristan is not flipping off Ben. I found a huge bin of those candy hearts for $2 at Albertson's and they had a large number of messages - some of them odd as Valentine's messages ("Let's Read"). For some reason, Ben had a fascination with wearing wigs that evening.

dcp_2491.JPGThis was another Surprise Lines scene using the candy hearts. A bank robery was taking place, but the lines from the hearts had Marika and Dustin's characters in the middle of a lover's quarrel. Allegra gamely kept her arms up as the bank teller/victim/other woman, giving them the space they needed to resolve their conflict during the robbery. Markia is sucking down one of those awful candy hearts.

And that's a pretty good overview of the special things we did on that special night. Thanks again to Andy, Kenna, and Allegra who took pictures (my apologies to any of the photographers I missed).