Snow, Snow, Snow: Improv Worth Braving a Blizzard

January 25, 2016

Georgetown Improv Association

Despite the blizzard of a lifetime raging outside, students crowded into Bulldog Alley for the Georgetown Improv Association’s sold-out show. The audience quieted in anticipation, but once Caitlin Cleary (COL ‘16) bounded onto the stage and the intimate venue erupted into hoots and cheers it became clear that watching this show would not be a passive experience. Featuring eight undergraduates spanning all four years, the improv troupe once again demonstrated their chemistry and creativity in this quirky spectacle of comedy.

Georgetown Improv Association

Celebrating their 20th anniversary this season, the team featured Cleary, Joe Luther (COL ‘16), Connor Rohan (COL ‘16) [Full disclosure: Connor is a former Voice staffer], Alex Mitchell (COL ‘18), Gabe Bolio (SFS ‘18), Megan Howell (COL ‘18) [Full disclosure: Megan is a current Voice staffer], Marcus Lustig (COL ‘19), and Thomas Moakley (SFS ‘17) in the group’s first show of the semester. As always, most of the show consisted of “tap out,” two-person skits in which the performers used characters to build a scene off one another. As the scenes progressed, one of the six other members, gathered along the back of the stage, would replace one of the two on stage by tapping them on the shoulder. The action would then halt as the replacement prepared to set a new scene. So engrossed is the audience that these moments of anticipation during the newcomer’s entrance can be just as captivating as the sketches themselves.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Georgetown Improv Association is that they follow what they describe as the “long-form” style of improvisational theater. Though scenes turn over at a brisk pace, there are always certain themes and characters that carry over across several sketches and sometimes reappear later in the show. And even the common themes come back in unexpected ways, as different actors take minute details in disparate directions. The creativity was taken to new levels by the group’s ability to collaborate on the fly. Throughout the performance, individual members introduced terrific ideas that often were then elevated by their partners’ decisions to either build on them or turn them on their heads.

Often sketches drew on a source that the improv troupe has turned to before: a volunteer from the audience. Owen Coffin (COL ‘16) was a good sport as Alex Mitchell opened the show by expertly teasing an interview out of him. His first date, to Pirates of the Caribbean, and his dream about V8 juice would serve as fodder for the rest of the show. The former led freshman Marcus Lustig to portray a pirate’s parrot-turned-prison warden-turned-school principal, in what was possibly the show’s most successful series of sketches.

Though some scenes were cut a crucial second too late or missed their mark, this production filled Bulldog Alley with raucous laughter. From Caitlin Cleary’s tattletale to Connor Rohan’s freestyling Puck, this improv troupe covered wide ground and showcased their impressive creative range. More than just putting on a show, the Georgetown Improv Association makes the audience feel like they too are part of the fun.

The Georgetown Improv Association is hosting Improvfest February 12-13, 2016. Tickets are available online.


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