The Complex (Ruby Theatre)

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Nominated for BEST ENSEMBLE Hollywood Fringe 2017!

DYSTOPIA received an ENCORE Award and will be performing 7/13 and 7/14 at 9:30pm at the Ruby Theatre at the Complex.

Ripley. Kickass women actors improvising artful, long-form narrative. In their current show, DYSTOPIA, Ripley Improv tells the tales of young women coming of age against a dystopian backdrop. Like the heroines of The Hunger Games and Divergent, the women of Ripley’s DYSTOPIA rise up and fight the oppressive powers that rule their lives. Ripley improvises one hour original plays based on your suggestions. No script, no planning, no net.

Cast: Madi Goff, Laurie Jones, Kelly Lohman, Sara Mountjoy-Pepka, Aliza Pearl, Amanda Troop, Jessica Lynn Verdi

Technical Director: Emily Rose Jacobson

Director: Amanda Troop



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"If you’re like me, you definitely won’t consider movies like The Hunger Games or Divergent to be in your “Top 10” films of all time. In fact, Youth Dystopia may be very low on a long list of genres that you’d rush to the movies to see. But if you’re like me, you will also have your whole world of what you thought you knew about action-packed, coming-of-age genre turn upside down when you see Ripley Improv. If you see a Ripley show, I guarantee the next Divergent-type movie you watch with your fourteen-year-old cousin, you will absorb it with a new perspective and more importantly, a new standard. And yes, this new standard is based on an improv show. Ripley Improv starts every performance immediately in genre, walking out on stage, engaging the audience as if they were townspeople right out of District 12, addressing them as an over-the-top regime lead by a silly dictator. The improvisers have an audience member ceremoniously pick from a hat, “The Sacrifice” -- or in Ripley Improv terms, the main character of that night’s story. This sends the cast and its viewers on an epic adventure about the most important time in our lives we too often forget -- the time we get to discover who we are and who we are meant to be. The show begins with grounded scene work based entirely on relationship, often times exposing “heart” right off the bat by creating ever-reminiscent sibling relationships or schoolyard best-friend dynamics. But don’t let this fool you -- the “silly” is sure to leak in in no time. One of the simple staples of Ripley Improv is the infamous names the improvisers dub their characters in this dystopian universe, calling the most beloved leads names like “Kitchen” or “Potato,” allowing for an easy relief valve if things look too dark to handle. And if silly wasn’t enough, this show also leads us on epic roller coasters of action, perhaps through underground sewers to escape a regime obsessed with scrap metal, or in mile-high tree houses in a society that reveres nature as law. But regardless the silliness and epic chase scenes, in no means are these mature improvisers afraid to sit into serious moments and often times even improvise their dialogue with such poignant lines as “Sometimes, life doesn’t work the way you think it will,” or “Trust your own story” -- lessons we all need to be reminded of even as adults. These stories never seem to lack a penchant -- not for the “dramatic” -- but for the meaningful. And when you feel your muscles tie that knot inside your throat, and when notice your brain screaming at your eyes not to let those tears fall because your date might see you, Ripley never fails to alleviate the pain with a reminder that we are all watching an improv show, and we all can laugh at the silly. “Isn’t that right, Potato?” I’ve heard people call Ripley an “All Female Improv Troupe,” “a band of Kickass women,” “a group of girls who continue to prove improv is no longer a man’s sport”; and even though Ripley should be proud to have that as part of their identity as performers, I, however, do not see them as such. Much like LA’s Chickspeare (an all-female improvised Shakespeare troupe), the improvisers of Ripley embrace male and female roles with exquisite detail, never falling into base stereotypes. With every character they play, they play with such abandon and commitment that I cease to see “a girl” or a “female improviser.” The boy in the next district who grew up on the other side of the tracks is, well…. just that. The teenage heartthrob chosen to be the most fit young man at, I don’t know, the “Judegment Ball,” is purely that young teenage heartthrob. The romances we see between the characters are not girls dressing up as boys in some reverse Shakespearean play. The improvisers of Ripley embody the genders so naturally and with such commitment to the character and relationship, that I truly believe this troupe is genderless. And once you see a few shows, you too, might cease to see Ripley as an “All female” improv troupe and start to see them as simply an exceptional “Improv troupe.” Ripley Improv’s Youth Dystopia is a perfect genre for a long-form narrative improv show because Youth Dystopia is all about discovery. And what else is a great improv show but...discovery? But my computer is about to die, and I'm not a real critic yet, so I must end my review. Do yourself a favor and see this show."

"Ripley is fun and playful. Each show is as incredibly delightful as the last; yet each leaves you with an interesting message. Highly recommended!"

"Ripley will delight you with a completely improvised book 1 of a YA dystopian saga.These kick-ass ladies joyfully use their "hive mind" powers to weave smart, funny, and sometimes poignant tales. Ripley is all that stands between us and a future of deprivation and oppression. You should probably get your tickets now before it's too late."

"I've been lucky enough to have seen this show at least a couple dozen times, and I'm going to keep coming back. Ripley has assembled some truly powerful talent and never fail to produce a thoughtful, courageous, and entirely entertaining show. Each production is a tale of dystopia and the central character is a woman choosing to make her path - those are the only guarantees, all other details are completely improvised on the spot based upon an audience suggestion. Ripley is comprised of incredible artists who use all of their skills (acting, writing, directing) every moment of every scene. You shouldn't miss this show. And you should probably see it twice to see just how unique each night is."

"Ripley is such a current, relevant show. Inspiring women, putting on an inspiring show, with no plan except to give the audience a good time. I highly recommend it!!"

"Do you like sci-fi? "Yes." Do you like all kinds of other nerdy things? "Yes." Do you like funny women? "Yes." That was me answering all my own questions, but none the less it perfectly describes why I love Ripley. A hilarious group of women doing super awesome shows. Why are you still reading this? I'm not nearly as amusing. Now go buy a ticket already."


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