Dressed in their Christmas best of red T-shirts, jeans and sneakers, the student improvisational comedy group IMP walked out from behind the curtains last Friday night, ready to stake their claim.
“This is our space,” Mariah Mac-Kenzie said. She and her fellow IMPers have been waiting to say that for 10 years. They’ve used stage space and classrooms in schools across the Island, but now they have a place to call home.
The annual holiday IMP show marked the inaugural performance in the new black box theater called The Space: A Place for Everyone. The studio of the former Vineyard Fitness Center at the Triangle in Edgartown is now home to an open performance space where the IMPers can perform, fitness enthusiasts can work out and artists can rehearse.
IMP director Donna Swift, dance teacher Sandra Stone and fitness instructor Katryn Yerdon decided to rent the space with the common goal that they wanted to work freely within their fields.
“I was in class and had a brainstorm and thought, this is a cool space, I wonder how it would work if a bunch of us get together,” Ms. Swift said earlier this week. “If the three of us could split the rent, we could make it work.”
They decided on a neutral name to keep it neutral ground. When IMP is not using the space, the curtains can be drawn back to reveal the mirrored studio.
“The sky’s the limit,” Ms. Swift said. “It could be performances, poetry, musicians might want to use it, fitness or dance We have lots of availabilities right now.”
Ms. Yerdon is holding strength training classes, yoga classes will begin soon, a homeschooling program will use the space for movement classes, and Mrs. Stone and her husband Benjamin Stone are starting MV Glee in the next few weeks. Based on the hit television show Glee, Mr. Stone will teach vocal lessons one hour and Mrs. Stone will choreograph for another. The six-week session will culminate in a performance.
But on this night, the Space was filled with laughter and holiday cheer.
“What’s the weirdest Christmas gift you ever received?” asked one improviser. “A porcelain jaguar,” replied an audience member. One student led another through a guessing game, where the audience cheered as the guesser got closer to the answer.
“I have a pet,” Mariah said as the guesser, and a small applause rang out. “I have a, cat? A big cat?” she said getting even closer. “A cheetah, a hyena?” Mariah eventually wound her way to the answer.
“Name a negative emotion associated with the holidays,” an IMPer told the audience in another exercise. Stress and jealousy won out. “Now name a positive emotion,” she said. Someone called out happy, another fuzz.
Stress, jealousy, happy and fuzz then told the story of the three little pigs with corresponding emotions.
“We’ve rehearsed everywhere from my basement to the beach to gazebos, wherever we can find space,” Ms. Swift said. “We’re very excited They were really excited to be like, this is our home.”
For space inquiries and rates, visit thespacemv.com or call Ms. Swift at 508-939-9368.