REVIEW: AU Improv’s kickoff performance fills theater with a full audience and laughter
From reenacting the ‘Bee Movie’ to helping a pastor find true love, AU Improv creates community through comedy
After waiting 604 days to perform, the AU Improv Troupe returned to the stage on Oct. 23 with an eagerness and excitement to entertain.
The AU community reciprocated this excitement not only with their enthusiastic participation in the skits, but also the sheer number of students that came out to show their support. The Wechsler Theatre was at full capacity, with people sitting in aisles and standing on the sides of the room. Noticing the packed house, co-director and School of Communication junior Jadyn Newman jokingly commented at the beginning of the show: “Hopefully we’re funny enough to make it worth it!”
And it definitely was worth it.
The troupe kicked off the night with a dating game, having three members act as contestants with individual quirks selected by the audience. Humpty dumpty, British man and girlboss were selected as the three quirks, and each character competed for the heart of Pastor Mark, played by Newman, who was “sent by God to find love.”
The improv troupe encouraged the audience to continuously contribute to the performance throughout the night, asking the audience to call out different ideas to incorporate into their skits. This led to the audience helping shape unusual scenarios, such as having the troupe reenact in the entirety of “Bee Movie” in two minutes and making the troupe debate the topic of pineapple on pizza while acting as senior citizens.
A 100-year-old senior, played by College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Stevie Early, was particularly passionate, giving a soapbox speech about how limiting toppings choices goes against the values of America. A brawl broke out, however, when another senior citizen, played by School of International Studies sophomore Luke Stowell, interrupted: “If they’re really 100-years-old, their taste buds would’ve stopped working and therefore can’t have an opinion on pineapple on pizza.”
This lively skit is just one of the many amusing moments the actors created on the fly, leaving the audience laughing throughout the entire performance.
“It was so exhilarating,” said Jason Shrago, AU Improv co-director and School of Public Affairs junior, in an interview with The Eagle. “It was just amazing to see how the things we find funny also crack other people up, especially since our job is to make others laugh.”
For both Shrago and Newman, the ability to have active audience participation again was the most rewarding part.
“It just doesn’t feel the same when everyone’s virtual,” Newman said, reflecting on performing live after almost two years. “When you’re performing live you have people to give you feedback.”
Shrago also explained how, in order to create this unified feeling, the troupe needs to bond with each other: improv is a collaborative medium of art that requires trust and communication.
“We have movie nights and other team bonding events,” Newman said. “It’s really important, since our job is making others laugh, to also laugh and be joyful together.”
AU improv shared that joy with the audience, reminding the AU community of the importance of comedy and creating art together.
The AU Improv Troupe’s next show is Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Wechsler Theatre, MGC 315.