Do-it-yourself theater

Untamed II: Suddenly Untamed

The MySpace Fairy (Bud Perry) attacks this techno addict’s (Michael Rapisora) computer with a hammer.

The MySpace Fairy (Bud Perry) attacks this techno addict’s (Michael Rapisora) computer with a hammer.

Photo By David Robert

When Bud Perry showed up on his first night as director of Untamed II: Suddenly Untamed, he said something very un-director-like: “OK, guys. You’re writing the show, so—good luck!”

He wasn’t being lazy—this is the idea behind Untamed II, a production of Truckee Meadows Community College. The approximately 20 actors involved, all of whom are under the age of 30, have also written their own material. Perry describes the show as “some monologues, some scenes, some are existential, and you’ll have to scratch your head and think about them … but mostly, it’s a comedy.”

Perry conceived the idea about four years ago. As a student and employee of the TMCC Visual and Performing Arts Department under the direction of department chair Paul Aberasturi, Perry experienced something similar in an advanced acting class, and he believed it could work as a full-fledged show. He proposed the idea to Aberasturi, and although it took four years to happen, the first Untamed came to life last year.

“The first one went really well,” remembers Perry, who distributed audience comment cards last year. “They really enjoyed it, but they said they wanted more comedy, more slapstick and something with a mime.”

Mime? Yep, they’ll even have a mime at Untamed II. Hey, you asked for it.

This spring, Perry, along with production stage manager Gena Garcia, posted fliers all over town and at TMCC calling for script submissions. Within five days, they’d received 225 scripts, which they read in one week. Perry and Gena selected 99 scripts and then held auditions, primarily using scripts Perry had written beforehand. Their cast is comprised of TMCC students, University of Nevada students, and some actors who just liked the idea of Untamed and wanted to participate.

Don’t worry; they won’t attempt to perform all 99 in one evening. The show is still expected to run a very reasonable two hours. Each of Untamed II’s three nights will feature 33 scripts, all of which run anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes long. The frenetic pace is part of what makes it fun.

As an additional element of surprise, Untamed II takes some direction from the audience. In a style somewhat reminiscent of Whose Line Is It, Anyway?, Perry will ask the audience to shout out a number from 1 to 99. Hanging on a clothesline behind him will be numbered note cards that each name a scene. He’ll choose a number, call those actors to the stage, and say “Go.” Actors must always be ready, and the results of such improvisation are surprising and a blast to watch.

Perry himself will also be featured as part of the cast. While all the writer/actors are very talented, watch closely for performances by TMCC theater students Ryan Kelly, Dan Smith, Greg Klino, Brittany Schake, Lissa Rodriguez and John Frederick, all of whom have performed in past TMCC shows, including last year’s Untamed, as well as Frog and Toad and Urinetown: The Musical.

You can see all 99 scenes with a three-day ticket. Or, if you have to miss Friday’s show, Perry has arranged to film it. DVDs of the Friday show will be available by Saturday night. I have no idea what you’ll see when you go to Untamed II. But judging by the handful of scenes I saw in rehearsal, you have a lot to look forward to.