May 9, 2008

A History: The Trip Fives

The history of the improv groupThe Trip Fives, as told by Jared Brustad.

The tale of the Trip Fives...

We've probably got more history together than any other troupe in town.

Jenny and I went to Cherokee Elementary together parted by only one year. There we both performed separately in annual talent shows, putting on skits that were truly the toast of the school.

Cut to the 8th grade at Westridge Middle School where Ed and Bryan sit in the lunchroom together showing each other Marvel drawings that they've done. Jenny was also there, but didn't give two flips about Bryan and Ed because, well, she did know them. I attended Westridge the previous two years but it is irrelevant to the story. Tim had yet to be born.

Then came high school. Jenny, Bryan and myself attended Shawnee Mission West. Tim, being born post maturely, and Ed attended Shawnee Mission Northwest. All five of us competed against each other at some point in the 4 years in forensics, mainly in IDA (Improvised Duet Acting) and HI (Humorous Interpretation), both at weekly tournaments and at State.

A year after I graduated H.S., I auditioned for Lighten Up. Ed and Tim were already performing there during their senior year at Northwest. Not too long after, Jenny and Bryan joined and we all performed in LightenUp's Theatre Sports. Aside from performing together, we all hung out together, all the time. Some of us shared an apartment. We even witnessed a homicide together*. So we've all been through a lot together.

Back to Improv, after Lighten Up turned into Funny Outfit, the age-gap presented itself. The majority of the older cast didn't want to perform with a majority of the younger cast, so we split weekend shows. The "younger group" experimented with creating longform pieces that fit our energy and style. We came up with Too Hot for TV, a longform structure that loosely resembled a Jerry Springer show. We even performed this piece at the last festival.

After Funny Outfit was over. People went their own ways. Jenny, I believe moved to California, Bryan went back to college, and Ed, Tim and I continued with improv and eventually started BareTV (with a little encouragement from Tom, owner of the Westport Coffeehouse. BareTV was an improvised Internet Mock show. It lasted around 20-some episodes, and I don't want to talk about it anymore. I didn't mention Captain Fantastic Presents for other reasons.

Moving on, Ed joins the Air Force. Jared gets married and has a child. Tim goes back to school. Bryan has a very respectable Job. Jenny moves back and gets married as well. Bad-boom bada-bing, Ed's 4 years are spent, moves back and gets an itching to do some improv. Trish gets him involved with Steve who directed Act Two, Baby! and gets Ed's feet wet again. Ed wants to do more, and yearns to perform with the old gang again.

Ed contacted Tim, Bryan & myself about it. We all said yes. A few bad name ideas later The Mantastic 4 & Two Beard and Not Two Beard we decided that, knowing ourselves very well, it would be best to avoid any man-on-man-gay-scene-action. In comes Jenny. The rest is history, or the future**, I'm not sure.

There Ed, are you happy?

*After a show at the Westport Coffeehouse, we all gathered at a small dive-bar called BJ's Lounge in Westport. At some point a masked gunman came in and tried to hold up the bartender. Two drunks at the end of the bar tried to wrestle the gun away from the perp. At this moment everyone in the bar could see what was happening and everyone hit the floor. Gun goes off. Masked man runs out of bar. Drunk woman lays dead over chair. What a night.

**Since Jared typed this, Bryan has moved away to Denver, Jenny had a baby, but is back in the group, and they added the talented Megan Mercer. The future is bright.

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