Shaking a building with laughter is difficult, but The Peoples Improv Theater – better known as the PIT – proves that a local theater dedicated to teaching and performing comedy is vital to the Chapel Hill scene.
The theater, which is located near the edge of Carrboro and Chapel Hill, serves the community with regular classes and performances, in addition to frequently hosting industry professionals. Original comedy is produced daily at the PIT through forms of improv and stand-up.
To welcome the community into the theater on a weekly basis, the PIT offers a Trifecta Improv show, which is a night for the best improv groups from around the state to showcase their funniest original work.
On Saturday, the theater will welcome the improv groups Heartful, Guano Loco and Now Are The Foxes, from Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Charlotte, respectively.
Will Purpura, a comedian who helps run the space, organizes the groups that perform in the weekly Trifecta Improv shows.
“It’s open to teams all over,” Purpura said. “Sometimes people reach out to us – they email us, they fill out one of our show submissions or they email me directly. Or it’s teams that I know and I reach out to them to see if they want to do it.”
The group Now Are The Foxes is traveling with six of its members to perform Saturday. Cale Evans, a Now Are The Foxes member, said this event is important for building relationships with audiences and other comedians in the Triangle.
“Improv is different than most (comedy) because you can only prepare so much. It’s like watching somebody walk on a tightrope," he said. "They know this is difficult and they want you to succeed. They can empathize and put themselves in that same situation like, ‘This person was just told a scenario in front of a bunch of people, and now they’ve got to make up stuff.’”
When Purpura invited Now Are The Foxes to Trifecta Improv, Evans said the group almost immediately agreed to come perform. He noted that while audiences at improv shows are typically very generous with their laughter, local audiences react differently than those in Charlotte, where Now Are The Foxes is based.