Die-hard Jane Austen fans or those just looking for good laugh are invited to check out “Wheel of Austen” at ImprovBoston this month. The show, which is the brainchild of Producer Michelle Boncek and Director John Herman, features a wheel of Austen tropes, the Woodbridge family and plenty of improvised absurdity.
“Will there be a marriage proposal? Probably. Smelling salts? Sure,” exclaims Herman in a release. “But there might also be a UFO landing. In this show, anything can happen.”
“We had one show where one of the suitors found and adopted a group of baby ninja turtles, and he helped train them as they grew older,” Boncek tells us.
She adds that they like to wonder what would happen in the Regency era: “What would happen if Elizabeth Bennet really loved ‘Desperate Housewives?’ You know, or if ‘Housewives of Atlanta’ was her favorite show.”
The 70-ish-minute show will run every Friday this month — each show differing from the others, while maintaining the same characters and relationships. The cast consists of the mother, three daughters and three suitors. (In past runs, a father has been present but because of scheduling conflicts, the mother had to be widowed this time around.) Cast members get to make suggestions for their characters’ inspirations in the beginning of the show, but there’s plenty of audience involvement, as well. Each chapter is then dictated by a spin of the wheel from which the winning trope will be improvised.
“When John and I decided we were going to do the show, we worked together to really find a nice balance between being true to the spirit of Jane Austen, but also making it accessible to people who might not be as big Jane Austen fans as I am,” explains Boncek, who loves Jane Austen so much that she has a tattoo of her on her arm. She says you don’t have to love Jane Austen, or even know who she is, to enjoy the show.
“It ends up being a really silly rom-com each week,” she laughs.
If you go:
Every Friday in March at 10 p.m.
40 Prospect St., Cambridge