How costumes are an offer in geek improv comedy

By Andie Wells

Photo credit to Ryan Camancho

Generally, in improv, an offer is seen as dialog or action that advances a scene. An audience member sneezes and the improvisor could offer their scene partner a tissue; the improvisor accidentally burps and then the scene becomes about their poor manners; the light person dims the lights or makes the lights red and gives the improvisors a spooky setting for their graveyard or their scene in the depths of hell.

One thing I’ve learned from geek improv comedy, though, is that an offer doesn’t have to be just a dialogue or action…

Everything can be an offer!

Why costumes are an offer, especially in geek improv comedy

If an improvisor comes on stage wearing a cowboy hat, they are endowing themselves as something either in line with the costume piece – a cowboy – or in opposition to the costume piece – a city slicker out of the city and in the country for the first time. Costumes inform the scene.

The Dandies use costumes in our geek improv comedy to immediately get our audience members into the fandom world we’re playing in.

The perfect example of this is our monthly Star Trek improv show, Holodeck Follies. When we greet our audience members in Star Trek inspired costumes at the show doors, they are transported (hur!) onto the deck of the USS Albatross. In this way, we make our offers without even saying a word and the audience has already bought in to that offer.

How I feel as the head of costumes and props for The Dandies’ geek improv comedy shows

As the head of costumes and props for The Dandies, I absolutely love seeing the looks on our audience members faces as they walk into our geek improv comedy shows – from childlike wonder to a sudden look of respect. These are all offers as well. Offers that get the Dandies excited and ready to boldly improvise where no improvisor has gone before.

It’s also amazing to see the many audience members who cosplay at our geek improv comedy shows. This is one of my favourite audience offers. When we see your cosplay outfits, there’s a moment of shared connection as we bond over our love of fandoms – whatever they may be!

Costumes have always been one of my favourite aspects of The Dandies’ shows, but there are so many reasons to love geek improv comedy. Want to experience the joys of geek improv comedy for yourself? Put together your most elaborate cosplay or throw on your comfiest outfit (or anything in between) and join us at our next Holodeck Follies!