A Hothouse Of Actors And Comedians

Living in Los Angeles, the film and television mecca of the world, we are no strangers to the worlds of acting and comedy.

Maybe you have even thought of pursuing the art of acting yourself for fun or as a career. Los Angeles boasts a wide variety of theatres and acting training that can help make that possible. A Theatre in the spotlight recently is the Hothouse Improv Theatre.

The Hothouse is located at 4934 Lankershim Blvd. in the arts district of North Hollywood. It is a small, dark, intimate theatre specializing in improvisation training and performance for the actor and spontaneous comedian.

It's a place you can go to receive acting training or to watch a live performance. Classes are taught during the week and performances are on weekends.

On Friday and Saturday nights, the show starts at 8:00 p.m. You'll see a variety of comedic, creative skits being improvised. The theatre is small yet the energy is big as all student actors perform.

Live music is provided to the ensemble by a live band that plays all improvised music coinciding with the actors scenes. It's a very interesting entertaining show to watch filled with reality and fantasy.

Be sure to go in with an open mind. Tickets are $10.

"For me, this is one of the most freeing places. This place has given me freedom and rhythm," said, J. Anthony McCarthy, Actor and Alumni Hothouse Student.

The Hothouse has been around for 5 years and is owned by fellow actors, John Thias, Artistic Director and Lana Buss, Managing Director. Thias and Buss, focus on exercising the actor and making them more colorful and keeping them on their toes. "The idea is to change the actor and to make them more playful and more spontaneous," said Thias.

John Thias' background came from The Second City, a famous improvisational theatre based in Chicago and has worked with a handful of well-known actors and comedians in his career.

"If you turn on the television right now you'll see any number of Hothouse players on commercials, sitcoms and television series," said Thias.

Thias refers to the Hothouse program as Yoga for the actor. The emphasis of classes is to exercise the actor. A hands on experience approach is used to make them more comfortable and to help them gain on set experience. Classes also familiarize actors on and how to audition. "We take the actor and put them on stage immediately," said Thias.

Hothouse offers a three level program. It is different from other acting training programs or classes because of their practice of putting actors in front of an audience and on stage to perform right away.

Anyone can go to the Hothouse to receive training and act. No audition or prerequisites are required to register.
"Anybody can improvise. I'll put an experienced actor on stage with a first time actor that has never been on stage before," said Thias

The Hothouse is also known for their community of actors, making it a place that they can all call home. Alumni level graduates are known for returning to the Hothouse to hit the stage for a performance or two and students are always invited back to join the shows.

Thias also believes that being an actor is a lifelong comitment and that it takes a serious actor about 10 years to flourish and succeed.