Improv comedy demands that actors be quick-witted and ready for a multitude of possibilities onstage. But the one thing Knox’s Improv Club may not have planned for was just how enticing the promise of quality humor was to students and parents alike on Saturday night.
During the club’s premiere show of the year, “Uncontrollable Sass,” laughter and sass were indeed in abundance, but it was the audience count in particular that had Ferris Lounge ready to burst at the seams. Junior Alyssa Gill, a member of the club and an impromptu usher, started turning people away once standing room became unavailable. A few spectators remained in the hallway to try and glimpse the show through the open doors.
The evening began with Improv Club president senior John Budding introducing a game called Actor’s Nightmare. With nary a script in sight, Budding had to think on his feet and respond to lines from an Arthur Miller classic as if they were dialogue from a fellow actor.
A stand-out game that followed soon after, called Film Review, featured live-action “clips” of a movie titled “Let’s Go Out to Lunch” that had less to do with quiet noontime conversation and more to do with anthropomorphic tulips getting brutally slaughtered by a lawn mower.
Gill played the hostess made to figure out what was making her guests act so oddly in a “Whose Line is It Anyway?” classic, Party Quirks. With the audience applauding her guesses as she got closer to the right answer, Gill successfully narrowed down the guest list to an “American Idol” contestant, a “cool” guy and a man with a fear of bananas.
“I felt really energized,” Gill said of acting in the show. “It was really a great chance to show [the freshmen club members] off.”
Following Party Quirks, the game Radio called for six actors to voice different stations. Each person was responsible for working an audience-selected genre and topic into something that the regular airwaves would likely find too ridiculous to air.
Though the stations spanned from Korean pop about farming to operatic diaper changing, junior Andrew Cook got perhaps the most laughs with his rendition of Christian screamo music about lasagna.
The final game of the night had three actors each create their own improv game on the spot, using two audience-chosen letters of the alphabet as their inspiration for the title. Of the three games with H and Q that were pitched to the crowd, Budding’s earned the most applause, and Heaven’s Query began.
What started as a traditional improv scene instantly got more complicated every time one of the three participants stood on a chair above the action and, playing God, called out a previously-unknown fact. The actors, trapped in a volcano, were divinely informed on separate occasions that the lava was actually water and that they each possessed a giant squirrel tail.
“I enjoyed it a lot,” junior Mya Kahler said after the show. She especially liked seeing all the fresh faces who gave the crowd their comedic best.
Senior Chris Colman suggested that the Improv Club try finding a bigger performance space for next time.
“They could put a [dent] in Kresge,” she said.
The next improv show is as yet untitled but scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 27 in the Alumni Room of Old Main. If the turnout for “Uncontrollable Sass” is any indication, there will be quite a crowd waiting to see what Improv Club can deliver next.