Airplane! The Fundraiser!

The discussion about indie theater fundraising continues today with a look at Impetuous Theater Group,  who are gearing up for their next production, The Chronological Secrets of Tim by Janet Zarecor. When it came time to think of a fundraising event for said production, the gang at Impetuous came up with an attention-grabbing idea: a live, one-night-only stage performance of the movie Airplane! I asked my fellow nytheatre.com colleague Josh Sherman, who is also the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Impetuous, to tell me how they came up with this one. He was gracious enough to send me the following response yesterday afternoon, a few hours before the start of Airplane! The Fundraiser!:

With a fundraising event for Impetuous, we always try to think outside of the box and surprise our audience base a bit.  We have freedoms with fundraisers that we don’t have as much with our traditional play season and we like to broaden our scope, stand out a little bit. 

But the short answer is that we also tend to come up with our best ideas while drinking beer, which explains Airplane! The Fundraiser!  🙂

We found this postcard lying around Urban Stages with this dude on it playing the guitar to a little girl who looked remarkably like the dying girl named Lisa in the Airplane! movie.  The dude on the postcard looked just like Brian “Ducky” Smallwood, an Impetuous member and we were like, holy cow, how funny would it be if we performed Airplane! live.  The whole company loves the movie and the more we talked about it the more we thought, hey we really could pull this off.  We cast the whole thing in about fifteen minutes with people we’ve worked with, dug up a transcript of the movie on Google, watched our DVDs a zillion times and gave it the greenlight.  We brought in Jason Zimbler (who directed our second piece, Office Sonata) and he and I brainstormed on how to frame watching the movie in a theatrical context.  We have a pre-flight crew (and an original pre-flight script written by ITG member Janet Zarecor and ITG staffer Taylor Shann) that will prep the audience and get them revved up for some fun audience participation and tell them that their in-flight movie is Airplane!  Fifteen ITG staff and family members will play all the roles (reading off of scripts and the subtitles) while we have a live pianist to provide underscoring and a foley artist to do some sound cues.  Our rehearsal time hasn’t been massive but we’re excited to go up tonight.

Our first fundraiser was a rock & roll fundraiser at Siberia starring Lisa Jackson & Girl Friday.  We had a comedy night with a great sketch troupe out of Boston who I knew from a conference called the Late Night Players, and Devil’s Dance Belt opening with long-form improv at our Impetuous house bar, Limerick.  We’ve had an open mic night at Chashama, our 47:59 Festival is a fundraiser in and of itself (three years running), and Regression Night was a great idea to have real actors perform embarassing pieces written before you turned 19 (more formal than the popular Mortified bit, but similar in theme).

We at ITG just think there’s a lot of different ways that people spend recreational dollars, and that our challenge is to keep coming up with new ideas to get people entertained and to keep them coming back to future Impetuous projects.  Plus, it’s too much fun.

Sounds like fun, indeed. A very inventive idea from a similarly inventive theatre company. How can you not love people who like do to good theatre and throw good parties? Am I right?

Let’s keep those fundraising stories coming, people. I love reading them, and hopefully you do, too. So, you know what to do: light it up!

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