IMPROVment alumni multiply humor


courtesy Dan Segal

Throughout the performance, IMPROVment members and alumni collaborated in creating a unique and hilarious experience for all in Harkness Chapel on Saturday, Sept. 28.

Anne Nickoloff, Staff Reporter

Improvment filled Harkness Chapel this past Saturday with performers and audience members alike for its explosive 10th anniversary alumni show.

During introductions, the entire Harkness stage was so overfilled with the line of Improvment’s cast that the unlucky last couple of members had to squeeze themselves in between other performers. The majority of the line consisted of alumni who returned to the Case Western Reserve University campus for this reunion.

Some of these Improvment alumni have kept up their skills since graduating. The first performance consisted of a group of past CWRU students who formed a sketch comedy group called “Pretty/Windy” in Chicago. Four members of this troupe acted out different scenes, including a cowboy death-fight over a laundry machine, an all-grown-up version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a rock anthem about a guy that just wants to get high.

Though this wasn’t true improvisation, it was greeted with whooping excitement from the crowd.

Then, the event moved into games that would, through rotating sets, involve every improviser and even the audience members. The first game was the “Question Game,” where performers could only respond to each other with questions, and once they said something that wasn’t a question, they would lose the game.

With an audience-based starting topic of “cage,” the game bounced back and forth between different improvisers until the ending set of questions: “Are you as turned on as I am right now?” and “Do you want to find out?”

At this moment, other members of Improvment cut off the game to keep it from getting too lewd.

Another odd game was the “Secret Game,” where one improviser was kept from hearing the topic of a situation another improviser had to act out. Eventually the themes were picked out: “Taxidermy Wedding,” “Hairstylist Inspired by Bugs Bunny” and “Antelope Balloons…” or something to that extent.

Surprisingly, they were all guessed correctly.

However, the standout moment and ending game of the first act of the show was the “Scenes from a Hat” game, made popular by the show “Whose Line is it Anyway?” Here, actors were told to act out scenes like “Deleted scenes from ‘Sesame Street’” and “Things Case had in the good old days.” The actors came up with hilarious ideas right on the spot, and left the crowd laughing and cheering wildly before intermission.

The second act, which was much shorter than the first, included games like “Split Scene,” “Irish Drinking Song” and “Dating Game.” It’s pretty easy to figure out what would come of games like these with such a quirky (and at times raunchy) group.

Despite some of the more creative games that arose in the second act, the one that stood out the most was the “Show Me” game, which had improvisers doing scenes that the host wanted to see. To make things more complex, the host could stop the scenes and ask the actors to sing a song about what they were doing, at any time.

The end of this game turned into a group musical number about teaching people how to shimmy. All the actors were dancing on the stage, and even actors that were not on stage at the time ran up to sing “This is how you shimmy” with their fellow improvisers.

It was a huge surprise to see that the ending to Improvment’s event was not planned, yet still encompassed such an ideal way to include everyone who had performed that day.

Improvment member Eliana Fabiyi said, “It was a nice way of ending the show with everyone in the scene, and of course, it was completely improvised!”

Edit 8 Oct. 2013 9:20: The feature image was replaced with a clearer, higher quality image -Kyle Patterson, Director of Web & Multimedia