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The Purple Crayon logo The Purple Crayon of Yale, or the Purple Crayon, is an improvisational theater group at Yale University in New Haven, CT, United States. As of the 2010-2011 academic year, the group has ten members and specializes in longform improv, such as the Harold. The Purple Crayon is Yale's second-oldest improv group, after the Ex!t Players. The Purple Crayon was founded in 1985 by Eric Berg, class of 1987, and a bunch of theater friends. Berg had taken a semester off during his sophomore year to study improv at ImprovOlympic in Chicago, Illinois, where he learned the Harold, a long-form improv format developed by Del Close and Charna Halpern. The group named itself after the popular children's book Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson, whose protagonist, Harold, uses a purple crayon to draw his imagination into reality.[1] Contents 1 Performances 2 Alumni 3 See also 4 Notes 5 External links // Performances The group performs several shows each year on campus, appears at various comedy festivals, performs at (usually local) events and locations, and tours each spring and fall. Performances mostly consist of one or two 25-minute Harold sets, though the group often experiments with various styles and forms. While the group's on campus shows change every year depending on the members' preferences, consistently performed formats include: The Harold, a form made up of three scenes put together in three "beats" that often tie together in the end Midnight Madness, a midnight show that consists of 12 scenes taken from 12 audience suggestions written on pieces of paper and posted on a wall Murder Mystery, a show that begins with the crime scene and four suspects that act out a series of flashbacks until a murderer is found Improvised Musical, a musical made up on the spot based on audience suggestions Other formats have included: Cagematch, a battle with a visiting improv group (or groups) in which each ensemble performs a 25-minute set Blind Audio Theater, or BAT, a Harold performed in the dark Improvised Shakespeare, an hour-long, completely improvised Shakespearean play Facebook Show, a series of scenes based on an audience member's Facebook page iPod Shuffle show, a series of scenes based on audience members' iPod music Armando, a Haroldic form based on a monologue delivered by an improviser or a special guest The Purple Crayon also practices short form improv, although it usually presents shorter form shows on tours or off-campus. On tour, the Purple Crayon performs solo, appears with other college improv groups and holds workshops for students. Destinations have included Chicago, Illinois; Boston, Massachusetts; Los Angeles, California; New York City; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and more. Among the improvisation, theater, and comedy festivals in which The Purple Crayon has appeared are the National College Comedy Festival at Skidmore College, on and off since its inception in 1990 by 30 Rock producer David Miner; the annual Del Close Marathon run by the UCB Theatre in New York; and Brown University's College Hill Longform Improv Festival. The Crayon has advanced to the finals of the East Coast Regionals of the College Improv Tournament, a national competition hosted by the Chicago Improv Festival, losing to Seriously Bent, Suffolk University's improv troupe.[2] Alumni Phil LaMarr - actor, known for his roles in MadTV, Marvin in Pulp Fiction, the voice of Hermes Conrad in Futurama, and the voice of Jack in Samurai Jack Greg Pak - film director and comic book writer See also Yale University Improvisational Theater Notes ^ "The 'Improv' Scene," December 1997, Yale Alumni Magazine ^ External links The Purple Crayon official website The unofficial Purple Crayon website, featuring a list of former members The Purple Crayon's YouTube channel, featuring videos of recent shows