April 18, 2012

Improv gives shape to new comedy

Although most people know short form improvisational games like “Questions” or “Expert Translation,” these are only part of the world of improv.
“Long form, in a lot of ways, is more satisfying, less gimmicky and no less funny,” sophomore Andrew Cook, the facilitator of the show Shapes are Great, said.
The four troupes in the show left the world of short form to explore four different types of long form: Musical Montage, close quarters, genre and clowning. Two troupes performed in each show, giving everyone a chance to perform twice by the end of the week.
The players in Musical Montage created a long string of scenes with musical accompaniment and occasional bursts of song. The group, led by junior John Budding, used the end of one scene to transition into the next.
The first night transitioned from an S&M couple to a mother who wanted her son to keep saying grace “till’ you feel it.” By the end, they had evolved into the world’s most incompetent coffee shop employees.
The challenge of Musical Montage is finding a good balance between the music and the words. The next night, the troupe created a Valentine’s Day scene, where a man offered his girlfriend an actual heart.
“The whole group got on stage and started singing about Valentine’s Day,” Cook said. “I’m going to think about that every Feb. 14 from now until the day I die.”
The group Genre, led by Cook, created an entire show in a genre selected by the audience. The first night, the group asked for a genre and an object and got children’s show and bowling ball.
“We ended up making a scene that was entirely about bowling,” Cook said. The next night, they worked with science fiction. The show became a world where Mitt Romney has become the immortal president of Earth who is having an affair with an Obama-Tron.
The team doing Close Quarters was led by senior Casey Samoore. Close Quarters is a form where the scenes all take place on the same small space at about the same time.
Their scenes were set on a space ship filled with starving people. Samoore played a crewmate who tried to hoard Ho-Ho’s, while sophomore Duncan Cochran and senior Josie Dudek shined as a Scotty-esqe engineer and his assistant who tried to power their ship without the bagpipe power their shop relies on.
The most unique of the four troupes were the clowns, led by senior Ben Lee. The troupe exchanged more well-known styles of improvisation for clowning.
Although Cook was initially worried that the audience wouldn’t understand the clowning troupe’s humor, the show was a success. The actors all took on the challenge of clowning by lowering their inhibitions and expressing their emotions with manic energy.

Paige Anderson
Paige Anderson is a junior double majoring in computer science and creative writing. This is her second year as co-Mosaic editor. Outside of TKS, Paige has written for Knox’s Office of Communications and for her high school newspaper; her in-depth work won a third-place medal in the Redwood Empire Excellence in Journalism Awards competition. Paige will intern at Amazon during the summer of 2013.

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