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Malibu youth showcase comedic wit through improv

Bryce Wissel of comedy troupe Mission Improvable (left) pretends to be a zombie eating Darby Dempsey’s (middle) brains while Julian Tompkins drives a car. Chris Bashaw/22 nd Century Media
Patrick McIntyre (left) of Mission Improvable acts out a scene with Maci Cunningham (center) and Tamzin Astani. Photo by Chris Bashaw/22nd Century Media
Caueh Carter (left to right), Sullivan Dempsey and Johnny Tarbox act out an improv skit where they pretend they’re in a taxi. Photo by Chris Bashaw/22nd Century Media
Chris Bashaw, Assistant Editor
3:34 pm PDT March 17, 2014

Rounds of hearty laughter circulated throughout the Malibu Civic Theater at Malibu City Hall on Friday, March 14, during a youth and teen comedy improv show.

Children and teens from Malibu’s Young Actors Project treated Malibu residents to a night of comedy, all alongside special guest artists from comedy troupe Mission Improvable.

“Laughter really opens people’s hearts, and once people’s hearts are opening they’re more accepting and they appreciate diversity,” said Shoshana Kuttner, executive director of Malibu’s Young Actors Project.

Children of various ages – some as young as 5 years old, others as old as their late teens – played a number of improvisation games that tested their abilities to think on the spot. 

One such game involving four participants required one to pretend he or she was an art curator who had to describe what was going on in some of the whacky poses the other three participants shaped themselves into.

Another game involved a pantomime of Olympic Cheese Eating where three participants acted out a cheese-eating competition scenario as a fourth participant played an announcer who had to keep up with the skit’s crazy twists and turns.

“Part of what they learn is how to be confident,” Kuttner said. “They also learn how to speak in public while they experience the joy of expressing their creativity. It can sometimes even be physical and stress-relieving.”

Malibu’s Young Actors Project was founded by Kuttner in 2005 and has since attained status as a nonprofit organization. Ultimately, Kuttner said she wants “to grow healthy, happy kids” in Malibu and build a program she said she would have loved to be in when she was a child.

The group provides opportunities for children in Malibu to attend summer camp, act in plays and participate in after-school workshops, which often feature visits from professionals in the entertainment industry.

“I bring talent, all of these talented people with different specialties, into Malibu to work with the kids after school so I can give Malibu parents a place to send their kids and they don’t have to drive somewhere else,” Kuttner said.

Malibu’s Young Actors Project is located at the Malibu Stage Company, 29243 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. 

For more information about the group or its programs, visit www.youngactorsproject.com or email Kuttner at shoshana@youngactorsproject.com

Alternatively, interested residents can call (310) 447-8245.