This past weekend, IMPROVment hosted their Welcome Back Show in Eldred Black Box, on Jan. 18.
As it was many people’s first time at a Case Western Reserve University IMPROV show, two cast members explained how the scenes would be based on audience suggestions. “For example, this morning for breakfast, I had dinner. What did you guys have for dinner?” fifth-year senior Alex Gordon said.
“Did no one eat breakfast?” Gordon asked, bewildered.
Once the crowd got the hang of it, fourth-year students Tati Vujovic and current president of IMPROVment Andy Ogrinc launched into the first game, Switcheroo, based around the theme “chapstick.”
Ogrinc, as Gary, sits facing the audience, applying lip balm generously. “Oh, I know you’re not using my $300 strawberry bubblegum chapstick,” Vujovic said.
The pair switch constantly, seamlessly reversing their roles. “I don’t like the tone of voice you’re using,” she continues, this time as Gary.
Ogrinc plays dumb. “I think it’s harsh and irritating,” he said, also as Gary.
They go back and forth, ending with Ogrinc (Gary) swallowing the chapstick and Vujovic eating a microphone.
“I missed improvising with my troupe so much and I was so happy for the chance to finally improvise with some of our new members that joined while I was abroad [in London last semester],” Vujovic said of her first IMPROV show since last fall. “So many people came out to welcome us back and it was the best start to my final semester at CWRU that I could ask for!”
Next, Vujovic hosted Showtunes with first-year student Campbell Dukes, third-year student Zane Millecchia and fourth-year students Rich Pannullo and Jack Routhier, with Routhier on the piano. Vujovic explained that the cast will perform “The Final Battle” from “Lord of the Rings,” but as they do not hold the rights to the song, they would just have to make it up.
The scene begins with Millecchia trying to remove the ring from his finger. Pannullo suggests sawing off the ring, before asking Dukes if they bought butter earlier, but Dukes admits they’d rather see him saw.
“Professor Martin did say I should practice with clamps,” Pannullo remembers. “This is my chance!”
As Pannullo saws, Routhier plays faster, building the suspense. “I’m putting this on TikTok!” Dukes said.
“This is gonna be the hottest thing since Kim Kardashian’s ass!” Pannullo said.
Pannullo successfully saws off the ring. “It’s a really pretty ring,” he said, holding it up to the light.
“You should try it on,” Millecchia said.
“It’s a good thing we’re the same size,” Pannullo said, and the scene ends with Pannullo trying it on himself.
The show also featured a scene with Dukes and fifth-year Will Erickson, newly back from a co-op in Columbus.
“You’re just gonna keep painting it?” Dukes asks Erickson, who plays David, as he paints one of the dining room walls. “I think you’ve spent 10 years [and eight months] too long on this.”
“I’m a detail-oriented person Margaret, [and] I’ve never been satisfied with the way our dining room looks,” Erickson said.
As Dukes laments their thirty-year marriage, Erickson explains this isn’t a new phenomenon. “You should have seen this before we got married, the signs were there.” Erickson said. “Why do you think I changed [the] colors of [my Toyota] Prius every month?”
“He doesn’t even realize the biggest thing,” Duke sings. “We’ve been married 30 years and he doesn’t know I’m colorblind.”
After that shocking revelation, the pair compromise by putting fuzzy carpet on the wall.
Less shocking was the audience’s positive response to the show. “I always love IMPROVment’s shows, even when it gets to be standing room only,” third-year student Kate Haering said. “Every member is so talented and quick with the next line. I recommend that everyone go and see them at least once!”
The next opportunity to do so will be this Saturday, as IMPROVment hosts weekly Saturday shows at 9p.m. at the Eldred Black Box.