Under the Knife: Vibrant But Deadly ventures into the realm of long-form improv

Despite the name, Vibrant But Deadly has no intention of murder. Rather, the Geneseo long-form improv group seeks to have its audiences doubling over in laughter.

Vibrant But Deadly is composed of 11 students who came together in fall 2010 to bring a new sort of improvisation to campus. The name came from a scene that the troupe improvised involving lead paint in vibrant hues. Although the group was initially organized by sophomores Emily Withers and Andrea Springer as a project to explore the possibilities of long-form improv, sophomore group member Romano emphasized that "[Vibrant But Deadly] kind of just formed naturally. We all learn from each other and we all participate in every scene."

The troupe was created to specialize in long-form as opposed to short-form improv. Long-form improv is "longer, has more scenes, and is more story oriented [than short form]," Romano said.

The troupe members have worked tirelessly at their Saturday rehearsals to perfect their long-form and general improv techniques with the help of their coach John Thompson, co-owner of The Space – Rochester's popular visual and performing arts venue. Aside from its campus debut on Oct. 28, the group has had the opportunity to perform off campus at comedy shows including The Fall Back Comedy Fest in Rochester, Improvamonium 3 at the Rochester Institute of Technology and the Thumbs UPstate Improv Festival in Syracuse.

At the group's recent campus show over Halloween weekend, A Vibrant But Deadly Murder Mystery filled Sturges Auditorium with laughter as the troupe acted out an entire murder mystery show, in the spirit of the holiday, all made up on the spot.

"I thought it went well," Romano said. "We had a lot of audience members that none of us knew which was a good thing."

 What makes the troupe unique and professional is the strong bond that its members have formed. "I think it's the feeling you get when you can tell someone is on your wavelength – we call it ‘group mind.' That's one of [Vibrant but Deadly's] central ideas," Romano said.

Although Vibrant But Deadly does not plan to hold auditions any time in the near future, the group will be hosting long-form improv workshops sometime in the next few weeks that will be open to all students. Romano praised the necessity in improv of "thinking on your feet" as a way to develop real world skills.

"[Improv] is good for a lot of people – obviously if you like to perform – but if you think that you're not good at public speaking, improv is a good way to become a lot better," he said.

Vibrant But Deadly's next on-campus performance will be on Friday Nov. 18 at 5:30 p.m. in the Union Ballroom as a part of the GSTV Telethon. To learn more about upcoming Vibrant but Deadly shows and to watch videos of past ones, including A Vibrant But Deadly Murder Mystery, check out their website at www.vibrantbutdeadly.com.