Horse-based Improv

Imagine an improv theatre. Everyone there loves the craft, community, and joy of improv. They want to share this wonderful artform with the world; they all mean well.

One day the theatre puts on brand new a show called "Stallions: An Improvised Show About Horses". The cast is good, the promo is good, and the show itself is pretty darn good! Somehow the local horse enthusiasts find out about this show and pack the house.

The show does well. The house is full. Everyone is happy.

What happens next? "Stallions" becomes a regular show. It builds up a great following and becomes a staple of the local improv scene. Someone else has the great idea to do a "Jockeying For Love" show, an improvised romcom centered on horses. Maybe it's not as great as "Stallions" but it does well-enough. The built-in audience from "Stallions" is hungry for new horsey material.

Soon enough you end up appointing Xylie Pelter, creator and director of "Stallions" as Artistic Director. Xylie really loves horses. The performers who also love horses excel at doing equine-centric shows. Soon enough the schedule is full of horse-based improv. The public knows if you want a good improv show, you go to the local improv experts. But now it's all horse-based shows: "Fillies", "Dirty Stables", "RoboPony", and so on. Guess what though? The public has plenty of horse-loving individuals. The theatre doesn't suffer because there's no shortage of horse-enthusiasts in their city. Why wouldn't they eat this stuff up?

The people who don't love horses? They don't go. The people who don't have any experience with horses? They don't take classes there. Perhaps it's not surprising to see that nearly all the students who go through the improv school happen to have lots of experience with horses.

It's not the school's fault they can't find any good performers who don't love horses. It's not Xylie's fault no one is pitching them shows that don't feature horses. Heck, every time they even try a show without horses, the audiences just don't show up. It's not everyone that can do an improv show, you know. Xylie, who demonstrably knows how improv shows work, is focused on quality not variety, goddamit.

So there you all are. Doing quality horse-based improv. With the same ten or so improvisers in various combinations in nearly every show, the best performers, the ones who all love horses or are willing to pretend they do.

Everyone at the theatre loves the craft, community, and joy of improv. They want to share this wonderful artform with the world; they all mean well.

And it's great. If all you love is horses.


by Vinny Francois

(Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash, and bonus thank you to Stephen Davidson)