Sunday, December 19, 1982

"Femprov is the warmest, most personable improv group in the city."
Flashes and flops: improv lives on 
by Steven Winn • SF Chronicle

A Monday night, several weeks later, 9:30 PM. Femprov, the Bay Area's only all-women improv troupe, is doing a set at Cobb's Pub on Chestnut Street. Formed in 1979 out of a frustration with the subservient roles women were assigned in earlier improv troupes, the group was popular initially as a novelty. Now the following is widespread, and deservedly so. Femprov is the warmest, most personable improv group in the city. 

The connection between the members is evident, in the responsiveness to each other's drift —or grammatical miscues —in a bit.  Ego seems to be nonexistent.

A movie trailer parody for "Nice Girls After Dark," is apt and droll. There's a gooey, loopy love-song number addressed to a male member of the audience, rich in a kind of mad cap hyper-sexuality "What I love is that women are supporting each other," one member drawls satirically in another bit. "Sexist" or "feminist" behavior, by conventional definition, is adopted by the members and shrugged off at the same time. Wit fails at times, but the bond to the audience is strong.

"When I did standup," says member Pat Daniels, "I did jokes about not getting dates. A lot of men, and women for that matter, think you have to compromise your femininity in order to be funny. Improv lets you get away from that. We can do a scene where four other women are actually supporting what you're doing instead of competing with each other —and the audience —to run themselves down."

Adds Terry Sand, "What a lot of actors are doing is 'indicating' emotions. In improv, you don't have time to get set to do that. Whatever comes up, that's what you have to go with."

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