Opposites, a two man improv troupe, performs each and every Wednesday night at The New Movement theater in downtown Austin, Texas. If you attended the show, you didn’t witness any punchlines, they didn’t go for any cheap jokes. There was no steady, comfortable rhythm of laughter to settle in to.
And that’s what made it great.
Patrick Knisely and Mark Carpenter aren’t afraid to venture into those dark corners, those uncomfortable weird silences, and dedicate themselves fully to their character and scene. The performance had that suck-you-in kind of realism that a lot of comedy fails to achieve. And when a laugh out loud moment does happen on stage, it’s that much funnier, as it is in real life. Think about it, if people went around farting constantly, it wouldn’t be funny. What makes a fart funny and not just plain disgusting is timing, and the more unexpected the better. And it’s best when a fart breaks up a dramatic moment. It’s a quick reminder that we’re just a bunch of filthy animals. Opposites seems more concerned with exploring relationships than trying to be funny, providing their audience a much more fulfilling comedic experience.
And Knisely and Carpenter aren’t limited by being a two man troupe. Towards the end of the show, Mark and Patrick called back two of their characters created from previous scenes, and did a masterful job of juggling four characters at once, each speaking for two characters, switching seamlessly back and forth on stage. I spoke to Carpenter and Knisely before the show:
Describe Opposites in a sentence.
PK: Two guys who can’t connect in real life because of their differences do an improvised show and connect through performance.
MC: Opposites is the most dramatically comical world that two guys can conjure up in a thirty minute show without alienating their audience too much.