What is a wily band of comedic actors to do when troubled times arise? They improvise, of course. After a long hiatus, local comedy troupe Stick Horses in Pants is ready to ride again, taking the stage to bring a little cheer to their pandemic-weary fans. Technically, they’ll be taking the Westside Community Center parking lot, but you get the idea. The point is that they’re back and more than a little stoked about it.
“We are so ready to perform in front of a live audience again,” says Stick Horse Meggan Hyde, noting that the troupe has done a few YouTube shows using Zoom and run the occasional Dungeons & Dragons campaign to keep their skills fresh and stay in touch. While those activities have been fun, nothing compares to the thrill of a live performance.
“This will be a classic Stick Horses show, with lots of energy and everyone’s favorite games,” says Hyde. “We are excited to bring some much-needed laughter to our fans once again, hear their responses and see the joy on their faces. There’s nothing like it.”
The outdoor event is being hosted by the Funky Little Theater Company at their new home in the Westside Community Center (1628 W. Bijou St.). Funky lost their previous location after they were forced to go dark in March. COVID-19 restrictions resulted in the cancellation of their sold-out performances of The Vagina Monologues, and the remainder of the season.
While the loss of their previous venue has been difficult, Chris Medina, Funky’s artistic director, says there are some positive outcomes.
“Taking away the stress of having to sell enough tickets to pay rent lets us focus on the other things that make us happy. We can pull out shows that really compel us and spend the rest of the time getting to know the community with our classes,” says Medina. The new location also allows Funky to introduce their new neighbors to old friends like the Stick Horses.
“Funky loves Stick Horses because they are professional and hilarious and they keep things fresh,” says Medina. “They also happen to be some of the nicest people around — genuine, good people who love to make others laugh.”
Earning those laughs without a stage will be a tricky task, but Hyde says the troupe is up for the challenge. After all, if they can weave entire comedic skits based solely on a few words from the audience and their own imaginations, presenting such a show on a patch of asphalt while following pandemic guidelines should be a walk in the park(ing lot), right?
“We’ll miss being able to pull audience members onstage,” says Hyde. “But, we get to wear fun rock star headsets, so that’s new. And, again, the live audience is the best thing ever.”
Medina is also excited to welcome a live audience once more.
“The best part about this is seeing our patrons again and getting to meet new people from the neighborhood. We just want the people that come to know Funky is still here — and so are the Stick Horses — and remember what it is like to laugh,” says Medina, adding, “Especially in our current political climate, I think a fun, family-friendly evening of comedy is just what the doctor ordered.”