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Get Your Fill Of Illegal Refill


"Improv is spontaneous theater. Each time you do it, you're creating completely new, unscripted, unrehearsed material. It's scene work and theater pieces that are done entirely in the moment."  Illegal Refill

That’s a quote from Amie Roe, a member of local improve troupe Illegal Refill. For those who have yet to be introduced, improv (short for improvisational) shows are performances usually based off of the suggestion of an audience member. From there, the performers draw from their collective memories and experiences to create characters, settings and plots on the spot.

There are many improv troupes in Philadelphia; Illegal Refill rank as one of the best. The four members of the group all met while attending Haverford College in Delaware County. Since graduation, they have stuck together and have performed throughout the region.

What sets Illegal Refill apart, Roe says, is their ability to bring their years’ long friendship with each other to the stage. This creates a sense of familiarity and playfulness that’s easy for the audience to pick up. Roe also said that Dan Kramer, the group’s coach, has given the group strong ideas to use their relationships in their performance. Case in point: all of their shows start with the group sitting around in a “living room” having conversations with each other; from there, a scene develops.

“As a team, we're in a really good place. The five of us have been working together on a weekly basis for two years now and that's really brought us to a place where we're very close with one another, and I think that translates on stage,” Roe said. “We're so comfortable with one another that we take bigger risks, which leads to more interesting scenes.”

Illegal Refill also started their own show. Every month, the group performs as West Philly’s Studio 34, an all-encompassing space where one can do yoga, pilates, dance, and anything in between.

When she’s not on stage, Roe’s busy in social work, a very demanding job that requires a lot of seriousness. Having an ability to make up her own characters and world has its professional benefits, she says.

“Improv is a tremendous help to me in my work. For the past three years, I worked with youth in foster care and did a brief stint as an intern at a psychiatric hospital. It’s heavy and intense work and being able to do improv gives me an outlet,” Roe said. “On the other hand, in my work I've been exposed to some pretty weird people and ideas. This definitely comes out when I'm on stage.”

On top of their monthly show at Studio 34, Illegal Refill will also be performing at this year’s Fringe Festival. All shows cost $10 and will be held at The Adrienne Theater, 2030 Sansom Street in Center City. Dates and times are: Sun 9/6 at 5 p.m., Wed. 9/9 at 8:30 p.m., Fri. 9/11 at 10 p.m., Wed. 9/16 at 7 p.m. and Sat. 9/19 at 11:30 p.m.