SPIT: Something Unstaged, On Center Stage

A secret skill my tightest college friends know about me is I can improvise lyrics out of some top of mind things. I could replace the song’s lines into our barakada’s inside jokes, frenemies, and names of our eye candies. It all started in our copywriting class, when we had to compose and sing a jingle for strange consumer brands (katol, swine dewormer, etc.). The project was equally hilarious and embarrassing, but turned into our de-stressing activity during lull time. We would also come up with our own acronyms with silly meanings especially for this favorite one, 'KMP' ('K-Ann Marpuri Perspiring', 'Keeping My Patience,' 'Kung May Potential,' and the rest, better undisclosed).

FYI, my friends and I are sane, socially-desirable and professional people -- those quirks would spark only whenever it was just us around. I thought we were the only ones who did these silly things, until I went to this gig of a group called SPIT: short for Silly People’s Improv Theatre.

SPIT Happens
If it's spontaneous, extemporaneous, hilarious and fun, it's got to be SPIT! Silly People's Improv Theater (SPIT) is Manila's premiere improv comedy group. Gabe Mercado shares to us what SPIT is about.

SPIT is an unscripted play. It is somewhere between a tennis workout and Rockeoke. The audience could pitch all sorts of nouns (names, places, occupations, dreams, objects) upon facilitators' solicitation, and the SPIT gang makes use of them randomly, sing some songs about them or insert them in their SPITserye. The SPIT team discourages green innuendos and crass language. Come to think of it, the most hilarious revolve on the wholesome.

As opposed to watching a play where admiration goes to the well-rehearsed acting, spontaneity is the name of SPIT’s game. Expect no fancy costumes, set design and cinematic storylines. Anything under the sun can be turned into something unscripted and fun. If you followed the Whose Line is It Anyway? series, some impromptu elements of it exists in a SPIT performance.

The 'Spitters' can be into it, and then later stammer – they’re riveting and hilarious either way. If someone from the audience is dismayed, he or she is entitled to throw a Ping Pong ball or crumpled paper to the Spitster. It’s a privilege bundled with two drinks from the P200 door charge at their gigs at Hexagon Lounge.

Get two free drinks and a belly full of laughs

Audience SPIT Kit

Each table receives an Audience SPIT Kit – a tray with pads of paper, a box of pencils, pens and markers in assorted colors, a Pingpong ball, and a white board. With the kit, audience members can write down their answers, suggestions, and pitches (this tray is not a party freebie, by the way).

The entertainment factor is how the SPIT gang keeps the ball rolling. Some guests are game to participate on stage or produce supporting sound effects for a role play segment. This actually sustains the high energy level the crowd. While the audience have their beer and cocktails, the Spitsters seemed to have downed a lot of coffee.

"Binibining Cellulite' segment

My favorite segment is the Binibining Cellulite 2011, the witty pageant with male SPITters as contestants. Some audience members played judges. “What would be the last food you’ll eat before you die?,” was one of the questions. Miss Carbohydrate answered, “Ice scramble. Because when I was a kid, I was not allowed to buy it. My mom said it is the food of the poor. I love poor.” It garnered tremendous reactions.

The segment I least liked was the “give-us-a-word, we-tell-you-a-joke;” it reminded me of Ang TV and Going Bulilit. But hey, SPIT's ability to come up with their jokes in seconds was impressive. Most of the jokes were unheard of, too. Again, we were invited to cast out our Ping pong ball should we get upset or bored.

SPIT should be credited for their good acting and clever lines. Gabe Mercado, SPIT Manila’s founder, says most of them have theater background. As he put it, the group is a melting pot of characters with slashed designations and interesting life experiences. I would understand why they deliver it fluid and amusing.

SPIT: Silly People's Improv Theater
Check out the photos of the SPITsters in action during their Hexagon Lounge gig last January 20.

I cannot wait for all the Thursdays of February, when SPIT will be performing on all Thursday evenings at Hexagon Lounge. I could bring along friends who had that first-hand experience of my 'secret skill' and I bet they will tease me to try out SPIT sometime. Interested to learn more about improv acting and to hone your SPITting skills? Gabe mentioned that everyone is welcome to audition and practice SPITting with them every Sunday at Bonifacio High Street.

Check out www.spitmanila.com, like SPIT on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/SPIT/48592457049?v=info), and follow them on Twitter (@SPITMANILA) for more information about Manila's premiere improv comedy group. E-mail spitworkshops@mac.com or text 0917-6200046 for corporate events & private function bookings. SPIT will have weekly shows all Thursdays of February at Hexagon Lounge, RCBC Plaza Makati.

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