Looking for a night out that’s different from the usual? Something to do while Mother Nature decides what season it is? An excuse to laugh with friends and strangers? The City of Rockville’s Wine and Improv Series could be just the thing.
Billed as “Thursday Nights Just Became Fun Again,” the Wine and Improv Series is the brainchild of Stephanie Phelan, a Rockville resident, musician and actor. It first started at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn, she said. “They had a [successful] wine and arts program so I offered to do a wine and improv,” Phelan said. “I know how much fun it is.”
This season, the program moved to the Glenview Mansion Cottage on the grounds of the Glenview Mansion. Small and inviting, the “charming little place” is perfect for improvisation, Phelan said.
Its size lends itself well to the small gathering that begins somewhat like a cocktail party. The ticket price includes a glass of wine or a beer and patrons can buy more during the 90-minute event.
People chat as the group is gathering and, with chairs arranged in a circle, the evening starts off with introductions, Phelan said. “People have come in and thought it was a performance and they were really shell shocked,” she said. “I tell them if they are reluctant, they can just watch.”
Although participants run the gamut from people who have never done improv before to theater professionals, Phelan said everyone ends up participating–even the reluctant. “There are always people who want to do it and others who are more shy,” Phelan said. “Those who want to do it lead.”
She said she draws people in by telling them that improv is like a basketball game: you learn the skills and when you get out there, you do it. “We start with verbal improv, word associations, where there are no wrong answers,” she said. “Then we move to physical, or gestural, improv, which relies on movement.”
Improv, Phelan said, touches on the strengths of everyone. Participants loosen up, smile and laugh. “They go away invigorated,” she said. “Humor is such a wonderful medicine, especially to be able to laugh with others.”
The next two Wine and Improv sessions will be held from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 20 and Thursday, May 18 at the Glenview Mansion Cottage, on the grounds of Rockville Civic Center Park, 603 Edmonston Drive, Rockville. Tickets are $35 per person or $60 per couple, which includes one drink ticket, with additional wine and beer for sale. Patrons must be at least 21 years of age (ID required). Call 240-314-8690. View this event on CultureSpotMC here.