Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, September 14, 2001

Improvisation group Loose Screws from left, Paul
Jordan, Stephanie Conching, R. Kevin Doyle, Emi
Fujinami and Dan Kois.

Loose Screws improv
group stays tight

By Gary C.W. Chun

They call themselves the Energizer Bunnies of local theater. Despite the turnover of performing venues around town over the years, the inventive and quick-witted members of the improvisational theater group Loose Screws keep going and going and going ...

And this weekend they invite everyone to join them downtown to commemorate the group's 8th anniversary with a show entitled "Brains Over Bronze." It's being called that because, as artistic director R. Kevin Doyle pointed out, bronze is the element used to celebrate eight years of blessed togetherness.

When it comes to onstage improvisational play, there has to be a chemistry between all concerned to make it work both for themselves and the audience. Doyle said during a group interview Tuesday at the Hawaii Opera Theatre's rehearsal space that "thanks to the infusion of new blood into the group, these new and talented people who have joined us have reinvigorated people like myself and Stephanie Conching, who've been in Loose Screws since the very beginning."

People like Paul Jordan, a Cincinnati, Ohio, native who's been in the group since February, a former Army man whose beefy body also contains a natural ability for comedy, and Emi Fujinami, originally from Tokyo, a U.S. resident for nine years with a background in both theater and improv and possessor of what Doyle jokingly calls "an incomprehensible Japanese accent."

Conching mentioned that, with regular rehearsals leading up to this weekend's performances, there are now up to 14 Loose Screws. Doyle added that "around 40 to 50 members have passed through the group over the last eight years, and some of them have gone on to work in places like Chicago, D.C. and Japan, some doing improv, some not."

The current company plans to mix up old and new audience favorites. "It'll include some games," said D.C. expatriate Dan Kois, "plus a longer form fairy tale that will star everyone in the group, and our own Game-O-Matic, in which someone in the audience will suggest a name of an improv game and then we'll play it, inventing the rules as we go along."

Loose Screws also will give a sneak preview of an all-improv silent movie show that will open sometime next month. Doyle said "It'll be along the same lines as our previous long-form shows that used kabuki, sci-fi, Joseph Campbell's hero journey and musical themes. The audience will see about 10 minutes of improv without words, as we try to create a story with characters."

Eight Years of
Improvisational Theater

What: Loose Screws: Brains Over Bronze
When: 8 p.m. today and tomorrow
Where: The ARTS at Marks Garage, 1159 Nuuanu Ave.
Cost: $10 ($1 off if you bring a prop the actors will use)

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