Improv comedy is set to sweep through the Tinkham Veale University Center Ballroom this Saturday, March 28, with IMPROVment hosting their biggest event of the year.
The Lake Effect Improv Festival will feature performances from four improv comedy troupes from colleges across Ohio in addition to IMPROVment. Two of them, Fishbowl Improv and 8th Floor Improv, hail from The Ohio State University. Kid Business calls Oberlin College home, while the Bowling Green State University’s “Star Trek” inspired troupe the Plastic Shatners rounds out the lineup.
Each group will perform for roughly 20 minutes. Kicking off at 7 p.m., performances will last until about 9:30 p.m.
Free food, catered by Bon Appétit, is available at intermission, and each guest gets a coupon for a dollar off any Jolly Scholar drink.
The festival is in its fourth year this year and hopes to draw its biggest crowd yet.
According to junior Joe Fennimore, IMPROVment president, the troupe hopes to draw 300 people to the event. Fennimore says that attendance has been over 200 individuals in previous years, when the event was held in Harkness Chapel.
The event has been moved to the new university center, since IMPROVment no longer has any music majors in their cast. They were the only ones who were able to reserve Harkness for free. Fennimore also noted that IMPROVment had a good experience performing in the space earlier this year.
The group is hoping to surround the stage with chairs on three sides, sort of like their home: the Eldred Blackbox Theatre. Fennimore added that style of setup brings a lot of audience energy to the show.
“It’s always the number one thing I miss when we’re doing special events like this,” he said.
IMPROVment will focus on its musical talents for the show, performing games including hoedown, a square dance song featuring four lines to a verse and no chorus, and an Irish drinking song, where performers sing about a subject one line at a time.
“[Our musical games] are really something which distinguishes from other troupes,” Fennimore noted.
Sophomores Jonah Roth and Zach Palumbo are the two cast members who serve as piano accompanists for the group. Roth said that what makes improvising unique and challenging is that it gives the troupe the opportunity to show off a different type of talent.
“In some ways, improvising music to a game is very similar to improvising a character,” Roth said. “The rule of ‘yes, and’ also applies to music: If something happens in a scene or in a song, the music has to reflect that, and if the music changes then so should the scene. But it also requires a different skill set: creative rhyming, making up tunes to match the music, maintaining a story through all of this and of course for me and Zach, composing entire songs on the spot.”
Event: Lake Effect improv comedy festival
Location: TVUC Ballroom
Date: March 28