Imagine you’re at a theatre enjoying a show, and the next thing you know you’re being ushered onto the street due to a potential fire. On August 17, the performers from Starship Improvise were named silent heroes of the day after they finished their long-form improv performance outside a construction site. The show started at The Pleasance Dome theatre and everything was going well. Later, the show was disrupted by a fire alarm going off prompting a mandatory evacuation. In an unexpected turn of events, the performance ended up being in The Potterow underpass, drawing in additional crowds of people.
Starship Improvise is a dream team of actors from Tony and Olivier Award-winning companies Mischief, Showstopper! and Austentatious. Their hit TV show Celestia 7 ran for 15 seasons, propelling some of the cast to international stardom. They love everything science fiction: so anything from Star Trek to Galaxy Quest is on the table.
As an improv performer, you have to be prepared for everything, and you have to react fast. And, most importantly, you have to say yes no matter what. So, when the fire alarm went off, the performers did not bat an eye and went into the street to finish what they started.
Starship Improvise co-creator and co-artistic director of Showstopper!, Adam Meggido recalled the performance: “The fire alarm went off in the last twenty minutes of our show so we went out onto the street and finished it there – most of the audience stayed on to watch and then other people gathered around – and what had been a very annoying intrusion into our performance became something with an incredible atmosphere and spirit to it. People were shooting on their phones, selfies were taken with us with the crowd, it was one of those moments you can’t plan for, but that encapsulates the real joy and spirit of the Fringe.”
The event is a testament to the professionalism of the actors: when a situation goes wrong, there is always a way to turn it around. And that is exactly what Starship Improvise achieved.