Case Western Reserve University’s Improv troupe, Improvment, hosted and performed the show “Fetch Improv” on Saturday in the Eldred Black Box. The show featured five performers: Olivia Taliaferro, Josh McElroy, Joe Fennimore, Stephen Kolison and Brad Odhner. The show ran from Oct. 10-11.
One of the first and most popular improv games was called translator. It features two of the performers acting in a scene, while two others added their own speech. This created an amusing mix of conflicting personalities and intentions. This game went all over the place, from nail painting to eerie cult rituals. This game showed the group’s knowledge and understanding of each other’s styles. “You’re a man now” said one actor, suggesting a new character for the other performers to keep the scene flowing.
Following up was the common Improv game where a scene is performed in 60 seconds. Then, another group of people perform it in half the time, and this goes on until the scene is done in one second. Calling on audience ideas, the group created a humorous scene in a Care Bear execution facility. “Paint me, Jack” cried Stephen, pushing the scene and characters in a new direction.
The group’s talent shined in the next game. It involved Joe narrating a story while the other four acted the story he told. The audience was again called upon, and this time decided on a story about a shark tamer on a quest for honey. The group used a good mix of compelling storytelling to deliver easily the funniest sketch of the night. One problem I noticed, however, was that certain performers began calling upon the same character for each sketch, taking away from the humor of the scene.
Even at the end of the show, the group infused youthful energy into their scenes. The group also showed off their impressive skills when they were able to perform multiple bits of their scene both forwards and backwards. However, the group’s flaws showed a bit in some of the later scenes. Occasionally, they made their scenes overly unrealistic, which dulled some of the magic that made their more believable scenes shine.
The end of the show featured audience participation. The participants controlled the bodies of performers, ending the night with some goofy and lighthearted movement which had the whole crowd laughing.
After the show, students seemed to enjoy the overall show. “The improvisateurs proved to be extremely humorous, and the scenes were deliciously entertaining like pizza from Mama Santa’s,” said Theone Alex, a former theater major. “The actors’ creativity was on the same page, painting each scene with different hues. However, repetition in character and theme sometimes plagued the performance.”
Overall, the show was good fun, and the actors were in sync with each other. The scene is set for the group to keep improving the entire year.