What Had Happened Was is the ColdTowne main stage happening Saturdays, 5/12-6/2 at 8:30 PM. This improvised comedy show turns the suggestion of a historical event into a tapestry of facts, misunderstandings and laughs. With a focus on tying the events that lead to history’s greatest catastrophes to events of today, this cast of world-class improvisers will live, love, fight, die, and probably get a lot of stuff wrong in the time period of your choice.
Producer Katie Stone, whose production work on the show “Naughty Bits” has been lauded by the Austin American Statesman as “consistently hilarious,” developed the show in March of 2017 as her ColdTowne Advanced Studies courses. Since then, it’s been workshopped repeatedly to get it ready for the Saturday stage.
To give you an idea of the show, we’ve put together three of our favorite moments from our previews:
- Pete Parsons, a very Trumpy Napoleon
Small, petty, and ultimately far more classist than he promised… sound familiar? At the suggestion of “French Revolution,” Pete saw the parallel immediately. As he enjoyed French delicacies in the signature Trump cadence, the audience felt hopeful that we, too, could hope for our leadership to soon be exiled to Elba.
- Xaria Coleman, “Hello. I’m white but I’m gay.”
One of our key goals is to play with concepts of identity throughout history. At times, because improv requires actors to take on other perspectives, folks have to make it very clear who they are when they come onstage. To save time at the start of a thoughtful scene about the difficulty of being queer in the 18th century, Xaria Coleman (now NYC) walked in and immediately shouted “Hello! I am white but I’m gay!” Her bluntness broke the audience, and made it immediately clear what she wanted to address about the past and present.
- Conor Sullivan, “They spent so much money on lightbulbs”
While Conor is secretly our history ringer, he also delights in comedic
inaccuracy. In a show about the Industrial Revolution, Conor bellowed, “it was super expensive to be a photographer back then because every time you took a photo with flash the lightbulb exploded.” The audience exploded with laughter, because, of course, what child HASN’T thought this when watching films using flash powder. Drawing on these instincts and childhood memories is part of where the fun of our classroom-based show comes from.
You won’t want to miss the hilarious moments to come from this group comprised of the city’s cleverest minds. Get your tickets to What Had Happened Was, happening Saturdays at 8:30, May 12 – June 2 at ColdTowne Theater. As always, shows are BYOB. TICKETS HERE.