Carrboro’s Transactors Improv Company returns for a love-themed show

Martha Brown, a founding member of Transactors Improv, reminiscing on her days as an improvisational performer. When asked how she achieved such spontaneous creativity during performances, Brown explained, “if you denied your first thought, you were in trouble.”
Martha Brown, of Carrboro, a founding member of Transactors Improv, reminisces on her days as an improvisational performer. When asked how she achieved such spontaneous creativity during performances, Brown explained, “If you denied your first thought, you were in trouble.” (Staff photo by Mary Cox)

Transactors Improv Company will be returning to Carrboro to perform at The ArtsCenter on Feb. 6 at 8 p.m.

While Transactors performs primarily in the Research Triangle area, the group has performed coast to coast and appeared on NPR and the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

Martha Brown is one of the founding members of the company, which was formed in 1983 at the ArstSchool in Carrboro, originally as a children’s theatre. Brown said the company has evolved over the years and is the longest-running improvisational theater in the South. The company started with four members who wanted to take their theater to a more professional level. By scaling back her day job, Brown and the other members reserved Thursdays and Fridays for rehearsal and toured on the weekends.

The performances started as one act plays and improvisational theater, but they now include short-term and long-term improv, which consist of multiple unrelated scenes and improvised plays respectively.

Although Brown no longer acts with the Transactors, she performed at the company’s 25th reunion in May of 2008 and has taken improv classes over the years to keep her skills sharp. She explained good improv is based on “good listening, not anticipation.”

Greg Hohn, the current director of Transactors, has been with the group for 26 years. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Hohn said their upcoming performance will be a “Love Show,” where love will be a theme across all the scenes. Love is a golden topic for comedy, Hohn explained, “because most of us have experienced success and failure in this area.”

Hohn believes the audience’s ability to relate to what happens onstage is the key to a successful performance.

Tricia Daly, a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill, is planning to attend the performance on Feb 6. This will be her first time seeing Transactors Improv Company perform, and she is “excited to witness such on-the-spot creativity.”

The performances are typically a mixture of comedy and drama. Hohn said the best audience is one that laughs at what they’re doing. However, the Transactors’ performances are not limited to comedy, as Hohn has seen audience members in tears from the emotional intensity on stage.

Hohn said the magic of Transactors Improv is the ability to develop chemistry with people and learn how to feed the dramatic animal of the other members.

When asked where he would like Transactors to go in the future, Hohn said, “where I want it to go is not as important as how I want it to go.” He explained that 20 years ago, he might have wanted it to be “big time,” but now believes that “you don’t have to be big to be great.”

Transactors Improv welcomes the community to join them for a night of spontaneous, improvisational theater on Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. The show is $15 for the public, $12 for seniors and $10 for students and friends.

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Author of the article

Mary is a UNC-CH senior economics major from Burlington serving as a staff writer for the Carrboro Commons.