The best team I was ever on was Frank Booth. I’ve played with other groups that have been very good, but that was the best one. It was the best because we rehearsed nearly every week for four years. And we probably performed over 200 times together. We weren’t the most talented or the smartest group ever, but we knew each other as performers well and worked well together on stage. I’d like to do that again, be in a group that has rehearsed 200 times and has performed 200 shows. But here is the difference. I’d like to do that in one year instead of four.
Last Saturday I got a chance to visit my friend Lillian Frances. Lillie and I were on a team called Frank Booth at ImprovOlympic in the 90s. I was on that team for about 4 years during which we probably performed over 200 Harolds together, mostly at iO, but we also performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and a few other places along the way. We created a show with our friend Tara Davis called the Frank Booth in the Blue Velvet Lounge where we combined torch songs and long form improv, setting scenes in the same lounge where Tara sang. Our swan song was a show called Therapy directed by Miles Stroth where we vented our real life foibles in front of an audience and then poked fun at ourselves through improv.
It’s been years since we’ve seen each other, but we still have a very strong connection. Lillie and I had similar sensibilities and even more similar ambitions. We both wanted to run our own theatres, we both loved improv and we were both frustrated by ImprovOlympic. Don’t get me wrong, it was a wonderful place to learn and grow as performers. It was the kind of frustration you feel when you love something and feel it could be even better if only you were in charge. A feeling that many, many performers have felt over the years as they passed through iO.