Arts & Culture / Mosaic / Theater / February 4, 2009

“8th Grade Bullies” offers more games, professionalism

For all people who have been turned away from an improv show at Knox, do not fear—this term the improv cast, Campus Safety and Friends, will perform a third show entitled “8th Grade Bullies” on Saturday night at 8 and 10 p.m. Director and senior Pam Schuller, who has been a part of several improv shows during her four years at Knox, said usually there is a line as soon as the doors open for the improv shows and they end up rejecting several people. The audience is an important part of improvised theater.

“Improv is more fun when the audience is raring to go,” said Schuller.

Despite all her experience with improv, Schuller said that she, as well as the rest of the cast, discovered new games they had never played before. The show will include short-form improv games and there will be audience participation.

“The audience is going to be way more involved this time,” said Schuller. “They’re games Knox hasn’t seen before.”

This show is also different from previous improv shows because it has a full stage and lighting, designed by senior Danny Fisher-Bruns.

“[The set] is just an ugly living room,” said Schuller. “We wanted it to be more comfortable for everyone.”

“The great thing about this show is the fact that it’s a fully staged improv. We are taking it to new levels this year and we really want to make sure the audience has the time of their lives,” said assistant director and junior Lindsey Murrell. “This show is going to blow everyone away.”

The cast has been practicing since the second day of this term in order to learn how to work together during the show. They practice several days a week, two to three hours a night, playing the improv games and practicing how to interact with each other as well as the audience.

“It’s very much a teamwork experience,” said Schuller. “The cast is out of control. We’re ridiculous.”

Schuller said the cast works well together and has learned how to pick up jokes from each other and take them in different directions. In this show, Schuller said that the cast will not make cheap jokes, but they will not hold anything back.

“We all use our funniness to make a better show,” said Schuller.

Schuller’s favorite game, titled “No Laughing Matter,” involves two people saying things that would usually be inappropriate in order to make the other laugh. The person who laughs first loses.

For this show, the cast is allowing the audience to choose all their games and dictate many of the themes that the cast will present.

“There’s always a certain amount of stress with improv because you don’t know what will happen, but that’s also the beauty of it all. I love that moment right before we come on stage and you can feel the energy of the audience,” said Murrell. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, and they don’t know what will happen, so it’s great we all get to experience it together. Besides, what other show can be as inappropriate as we want and get away with it?”

Laura Miller

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