Midnight Society: Don’t Call it a Comeback

Midnight Society formed in 2007, and have since built a reputation among audiences and improvisers for the quality of their work. With shows that can deliver grounded scene work, absurdity and raucous physicality in the course of a single show, their command of the stage is never in doubt.

Recently adding super talents Molly Moore and Sanjay Rao, they’re experiencing a new wave of attention and regularly packing it in Saturday nights. We sat down to talk to them about their history, favorite shows and adding cast.

Tell us about how and when Midnight Society formed.

Lance: Midnight Society was the second student troupe formed at ColdTowne in 2007. This means that we each auditioned and the theater selected the members. We were lucky enough to have been put on that one student troupe that stayed together more than a year or two. The group has been through a lot of changes, but have the same excitement for playing that we had nine years ago.

Photography by Roy Moore (ahpook667)

An early version of Midnight Society at Out of Bounds. Photography by Roy Moore (ahpook667)

Who, among the current cast, are the original members?

Lance: Lance Gilstrap, Jericho Thorpe, and Joel Keith are all original members.

What does the current cast look like? Why were those cast members chosen?

Lance, Joel, & Jericho: The current cast includes those aforementioned original players plus Molly Moore and Sanjay Rao. Molly was chosen because she makes brave choices and backs them up. She is goofy as hell, but also great at listening and calling out absurdities.

We picked Sanjay because he’s got serious stage chops. He commits to game like a monster and brings full emotion to absurd choices.

But we mostly picked both of them because they’re SO funny and we have so much fun playing with them. We click.

Who inspires you, individually or collectively?

Molly: I am inspired by people who look like they’re having a lot of fun being with each other on stage. I think joy and engagement are the most translatable energies both between performers and out into the audience, so when I see groups able to really harness that, I am one happy camper.

Sanjay: I get inspired all the time. There are great improv shows happening all the time and with the internet you can catch great stuff that happens in other cities too. I love Fuck That Shit from UCB and Cook County Social Club from iO. But I also get inspired by movies, television, and books. I love watching great acting and great characters. Lately I’ve been really into Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill the Butcher, Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting, and Ian Mckellen as Macbeth. It changes all the time but I get really excited when I get into something new. Who knows what it will be next?

What is a favorite memory?

Lance and Jericho: We have so many favorite memories (The “Comet Creepers” Show, That time Jericho lifted and then threw the entire cast using the force, etc…), but we thought it would be more fun to ask the two newer members.

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Jericho uses his powers. – OOB 2013.

Molly: My favorite memory is when we were all 9th graders in a band classroom and Lance realized that he forgot to get his permission slip signed for our band trip to like, Fiesta Texas or something, and we all realized that we forgot ours too and everyone freaked out on stage and in the audience. It was like everyone was experiencing the same collective memory with a great singular howl of regret.

Sanjay: I’m fairly new to the group but I already have some great memories with Midnight Society. The first thing that comes to my mind is a mono scene we did where we were working at a restaurant. Our suggestion was Pokemon Go. The show had nothing to do with the game up until about halfway through when Joseph Dailey mentioned people were coming in here just to play Pokemon Go and not ordering any food. In response, Lance Gilstrap, who was playing the owner of the restaurant, created a sign that said something like “You can’t catch a pikachu unless you take a seat and chew!” and not only did the audience lose it but I lost it as well and I’ve always felt I was pretty good at not-breaking during shows. I couldn’t help myself.

Why should someone see your show?

Molly: Parking is very easy, beer is very cheap, we’re very cute, flirty, good listeners and honestly I don’t know what else you could want from a Saturday night.

Sanjay: Midnight Society has been a staple in the AIC for so many years. Molly and I have brought in some new blood and our rapport has been quite honestly amazing. We’ve been putting on some amazing shows. So if you want to see some great improv at a great venue on a Saturday night then I guarantee you Midnight Society will not disappoint. We’re getting such good feedback with the stuff we’re doing on stage that I’m so excited to play every Saturday night.

Lance: Honestly, I think you should just come to see us for Molly and Sanjay.

Midnight Society plays Saturdays at 10pm each week* and will perform in the 10pm time slot on Saturday, 10/22 in the Anniversary weekend lineup #coldtowne10.

*Toxic Chakra will play for MS on 10/8.