‘Improv Your Life’ Scores With Huge Laughs at Ethington
Review by Cooper Nelson
GCU News Bureau
If laughter is the best medicine, then GCU’s improvisational comedy troupe has the ability to help you “improv” your life.
The first improv show of the year, “Improv Your Life,” drew more than 250 people to a packed Ethington Theatre on Wednesday. A second free show is scheduled for 9:30 tonight.
The event, sponsored by GCU Today, included two teams — Objects in the Mirror and Pair a Bulls — that fielded outlandish audience suggestions for themes and characters for them to turn into gut-busting, tear-inducing comic performances on the spot.
The teams of 13 College of Fine Arts and Production students had the crowd rolling for 90 minutes as they acted out scenes such as SpongeBob being interrogated for cross-dressing at Pride Rock. Another involved Bilbo Baggins, R2-D2 and a kleptomaniac attending a late-night party thrown by an unsuspecting guest.
“In improv, there are no boundaries as to what can happen onstage,” said Michael Kary, a GCU theatre instructor and director who helped the students with the show. “That’s what makes it exciting and fun to watch.”
If last night’s performance proved anything – aside from the fact that “Improv Your Life” is a must-see – it’s that boundaries are nonexistent in improv. The teams led by Josh Vanderpoel (Pair a Bulls) and Brad Beamon (Objects) took any suggestion from the crowd, no matter how bizarre, and turned it into comedic gold.
The Objects team, which took the first half of the show, also included Cole Brackney, Taylor Kessler, Tyler Stokey, Corinne Tachuk and Klay Windelear. The Pair a Bulls team also included Becca Downs, De’Onte Lemons, David Magadan, Holly Nordquist, Aaron Potter and Ryan Usher.
Skits (or games) included:
- “Beastie Rap,” a crowd favorite, in which two teams of student comedians – aptly named team “sumthin” and team “sumthin sumthin ” – rap-battled each other by spitting lines ending in a word that rhymed with an audience-suggested word such as “cat” or “choke.” Vanderpoel had the crowd cheering with his line: “I’m not your friend on Facebook, I won’t even give you a poke!”
- “Oscar Winning Moment,” which included two members acting out their Oscar-winning scene from a fictitious film, “Dare Me to Deodorize.” The make-believe scene stunk so bad it was good. The actors then gave out random thanks to John McCain, Buddha and their dog walker while accepting the award.
- “Chain Murder,” which started off with an occupation (neurosurgeon), location (the Temple of Doom of “Indiana Jones” fame) and murder weapon (chainsaw), all provided by the audience. The scene components were known by one member. The others were offstage. Each member had to act out the three themes for the next member, who killed them off once they thought they had it. At the end, all guessed to see if they correctly knew the three themes (they didn’t but came close).
Wednesday night’s crowd helped make the show. Students shouted out completely random and hysterical suggestions and filled Ethington with booming laughter.
“The crowd suggestions and what they said onstage were absurd and unexpected,” said GCU sophomore Aidan Lindberg. “I was impressed. They have to be really quick to take our suggestions like that and make us laugh.”
Vanderpoel, an improv veteran who has worked to train his fellow GCU performers in the art form for nearly two years, said executing the skits with spontaneity is what makes improv enjoyable for the audience.
“It’s not that we’re really thinking (onstage), we’re just going with whatever comes, when it comes, and trying to make that funny,” he said.
Contact Cooper Nelson at 639.7511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.