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Improv troupe hopes to have North End rolling

KINGSTON — Packing its suitcase, carry-on and hilarious games, “The Portable Reality Show” will be trucking it north to capture more audiences in Kingston on Friday. The improvisational group, which usually boasts shows out of Poulsbo’s Jewel Box Theatre, will be bringing its goofy crew and antics to the North End to get residents laughing as hard as possible — all for a good cause.

Troupe member Crystal Gurney and her husband, Alex Iles, will be traveling to Africa in February to help a dental clinic in Senegal, and all the funds raised at the show will go directly to benefiting the clinic. This is not the first time the group has translated laughter into money for charity, it has a history of helping clinics and other groups on both a local and global level, Gurney said.

“Since last year, we’ve had the goal of fundraisers,” she said. “This one we’re doing is a little different, in that I’m going to Africa with my husband, Alex, who does lights for the troupe. We’ll be going in February. I’ve always wanted to go to a country in the Third World, and this opportunity came up.”

“The Portable Reality Show” has contributed to local, state and even a few national charities in the past, but helping on a global scale like this is something new the troupe is looking in to, said member Sandi Spellman. The group’s reputation and desire to help has spread through the Poulsbo area, and now its members are hoping to reach different residents willing to help.

“I think so, our name has been growing steadily over the last couple of years,” Spellman said of expecting a large audience at the Kingston Community Center. “The cool thing about improv work is you can do it pretty much anywhere, you just need a chair.”

Along with helping different causes, Gurney said the troupe is hoping to broaden its venue horizons in reaching out to other North End communities. The first step is working to get regular shows going in Kingston, and then perhaps other performance spaces. She said she lives in Kingston, and there is a need for “The Portable Reality Show” in the community, something that will bring smiles and laughter to its residents.

“Quite often, we always try to keep it local, incorporating Kingston and North Kitsap,” Spellman said. The games played during the performance usually bring these factors into play. “Hopefully, we’ll bring in references to the area, you never really know what it will be like. It just depends on the audience and us.”

This first show in Kingston will be a way for the troupe to test the waters, see how receptive residents are to an improv comedy troupe, Gurney said. Later, other performances at different venues could be added, as well as comedy at different events and festivals.

“We as a troupe want to do more shows,” she said. “We’re going to try to pursue once a month or once every other month if we can... The goal is to bring more improvisation to Kingston.”

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