SAK performers Chris Dinger and Marcela Errazquin will improvise scenes loosely based on readings recited on-site.
Cringe founder Darren Wendroff dabbled in improv during his time at the University of Florida. He thought up Cringe as an homage to the Mortified series, and saw potential for a SAK collaboration after positive response poured in within days of sharing the first event.
"I knew our readings lent themselves to improv because our readers tell you really rich, specific things and have no self-awareness at the time. In the concept of improv, that’s really rich material," Wendroff told the Weekly in a phone interview.
SAK has tested out similar concepts before, including allowing performers improvise off a stand-up comedian's set. Dinger, who is also SAK's managing director, agrees that both organizations complement each other.
"I caught wind of Orlando Cringe when some of the performers at SAK saw the show and were excited about the energy of the room. It’s a natural fit with what we do," Dinger said.
Wendroff says that while they're always recruiting new readers for the usual show at the Abbey, Facebook has been a way in which many hopefuls contact him hoping to share their stories. If chosen, he and Cringe producer Danielle Zisse work with them to polish their delivery.
In the short time since birthing Cringe, he has seen the readings help Orlando heal after an especially tough summer.
"Our second show was two weeks after the Pulse shooting, and people were asking if we should postpone the show. We didn't and we had this great reader who talked about discovering her sexuality. It was kind of like that first SNL show after 9/11, in a way," he says.
SAK's Dinger knows that the readings can take a personal, sometimes somber turn and he makes sure he stays aware of that. He says the actors will listen closely for something they can turn into a story of its own.
"We try to put it in a different context through improvisation. Maybe even using different characters or in a different time. We’re saying, ‘Oh, you dealt with this kind of thing, we can think of a character that dealt with something similar,'" he says.
7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25 | SAK Comedy Lab, 29 S. Orange Ave. | 407-648-0001 | sakcomedylab.com
Orlando Cringe will put a spin on its playbook by launching a partnership with SAK Comedy Lab on Sunday night.