Currently Known As held an improvisational comedy show on Friday Feb. 27. The show had a unique theme––as all CKA shows tend to have. This show’s theme was “A Co-op of Johns,” referring to the numerous possible variations of the name “John.” Troupe members took the time beforehand to put a name tag on each desk in the room with a new spelling of the seemingly simple name. For example, my new name for the night was “Jonnatthan.”
The troupe focused on short-form improv throughout this show, which was a change of pace from its last performance of a long-form murder mystery. CKA entertained the audience with a variety of games that forced improvisers to justify being in unusual situations—all while being funny, of course.
For instance, the game “Why Are You Late?” took a ridiculous situation and found the humor in it. In this situation, an angry boss questioned his employee about his tardiness. The late employee had to interpret the goofy charades provided by three of his co-workers––signaled to him behind the boss’s back––as his explanation.
Timing is another key improvisational skill. CKA demonstrated good timing with the game “Half Life” in which troupe members were given one minute to perform a scene. They then had to repeat the same scene in just 30 seconds, then 15, then five and then one. Relying on a quick rising action, this format tested comedic timing while also incorporating physical humor.
The crowd favorite was clearly “Director’s Cut,” which involved an organic scene that a director could cut at any time and modify by giving the actors new character traits and motives. As the characters and situations became progressively more outlandish, hilarity ensued. The show also incorporated some musical improv in a game that forced players to break into song at random times to the tune of off-stage ukulele playing.
Troupe members freshmen Nic Sorice and Noah Elias agreed that the ability to improvise is a valuable skill that frequently comes in handy. “Improv sort of forces you to think on your feet, not even to be funny,” Elias said. “It can help you approach people or in regular day-to-day conversation.”
Naturally, all group members must be in the same mindset to work together successfully. To develop “group mind,” CKA’s improvisers warm up with a game called “A to Z.”
“It’s used to increase focus and cooperation,” Sorice said. In this exercise, everyone closes his or her eyes and each person tries to say a letter of the alphabet without two people saying the same letter at the same time.
Neither the audience nor the performers knew what would happen next during the show, which was what made the performance so entertaining. Be on the lookout for the next CKA shows, which is sure to be just as funny and engaging.