Improv Jam displays student talent, audience participation

Improv Jam displays student talent, audience participation

Amy Xue

Sounds of laughter and fun echoed in the Little Theatre as members of the Improv Club hosted their second show of the year, Improv Jam II. Directed by seniors Andrew Ruttenberg and Corey Gelb-Bicknell, the show took place at 7:00 p.m. May 1.

At the ticket stand, volunteers handed out miniature jars of raspberry preserve—or improv “jam”—to the first 72 audience members at the door.

Ruttenberg and Gelb-Bicknell assigned numbers to the actors, and they called certain performers up for different improv activities. The first game, “Movie Reviewer,” involved two actors going up to pretend they were watching a movie. The directors turned to the audience for movie genre inspiration. Then, other members acted out a movie for the two original actors to react to. The scene was spontaneous as actors continuously moved in and out of the “movie.” The skit was a hilarious start to the show, and it set a high bar for the rest of the acts.

A new game this year was called “185.” According to senior Lucas Pratt, a cast member, “185” was a “line game, where it’s not necessarily about a scene. It’s just literally about generating one liners.”

First, the directors asked the audience to shout out random objects. Once an object was selected, the cast members took turns stepping in the middle and making puns about said object with the structure of “185 objects walk into a bar” jokes. The punchlines were filled with puns and were sometimes downright nonsensical. The audience could not stop laughing at the quirky jokes the cast members told.

For a game called “Three Rooms,” six actors lined up in a row, and the audience gave locations for the setting of each scene. There were three scenes in all, and every two actors were assigned a location. Whatever was last said in one room started the scene in the other. They rotated around and drew inspiration from their locations to create a funny story.

One of the room’s settings was an Arby’s, and the two actors ended up spinning a plotline about how they meet at Arby’s every Thanksgiving because their husbands dump them every year at the same time. The sheer absurdity of the situation was enough to make the audience laugh.

“I think improv is a great creative outlet because of the encouragements to make decisions you wouldn’t otherwise,” said freshman Hunter Young, a cast member. “By creating in real time, the output is more creatively diverse.”

The show closed with the yearly crowd favorite, “Freeze.” “‘Freeze’ is a game where two people are on stage and they do a scene, and anybody, including the audience, can yell “freeze” and they both have to freeze their positions. And the person replaces one of them on stage and starts at noon,” said Pratt.

The scene was different each time, ranging from two storeowners arguing to an interaction between friends turned lovers. After a few rounds, members of the audience began to clap and join the scene, which was a satisfying ending to a fun night.

Pratt said, “Every single day of improv is going to be different. I think it’s fun to adapt into whatever sort of situations or scenarios you are put in versus having script. Having that dynamic of not knowing what’s coming next is something that really appeals to me.”