In Between the Lines billed their Meliora Weekend show as “Bigger than Lewis Black.” At least they were optimistic.
The improvisational comedy group drew an awkwardly enthused crowd of students and parents to the Drama House on Friday night.
Things, however, looked bleak at the beginning of the show. The turnout was hampered by other events, not to mention the epic task of finding a parking spot during Meliora Weekend. Walking from the car was torturous, as it was 40 degrees and raining. Although the shows are usually free, In Between the Lines charged $2 at the door. And worst of all, star comedians and seniors Charlie Beller and Nels Youngborg were lost to a performance with the Geva Theater comedy group instead.
The lights dimmed, the music blared and one by one, the members of the troupe took their places on stage in an uncomfortable robot dance.
After a brief introduction, the troupe got into their sketches. The first few skits were less than memorable, but it usually takes a little while for both the crowd and the troupe to get warmed up.
It was apparent that most of the troupe was having difficulty censoring themselves from their usual uncouthness, but eventually this in itself became funny. It was most apparent in the sketch “Dan Glover’s Family Special.” In this sketch, an audience member is brought onto stage and asked to pick several improvisators to act as their family members. The improvisators act out a scene and the audience participant dings a bell if they play their roles correctly and constrastly honks a horn if they are incorrect.
This sketch worked well, because the audience member picked to go on stage was with her family. Freshman Jess Socha, the participant, picked junior Ted Limpert to play herself and newcomer and freshman Olivia Pederson to play her mother. Limpert is exuberant, to say the least, and most of what makes him funny is his ability to simply say or do whatever crazy thing is on his mind.
In this sketch, Socha – played by Limpert – came home and told her mother – Pederson – about how she wanted to convert to Judaism. Walking a fine line, especially with parents in the audience, Limpert spoke emphatically about the overwhelming number of Jews at the university. All the while, the real Jess rang the bell profusely.
By the end of the show, performers, parents and students alike were thoroughly absorbed. Everybody seemed to have a reason for being there, whether it was just to laugh and have a good time, or something more.
“[My favorite parts of improv are the] audience participation and when [the actors] mess up and laugh at themselves,” audience member senior Heather Good said.
Sophomore Elizabeth “Bits” Campisi seemed excited just to be performing.
“This semester was my third time auditioning for the show,” Campisi said. “During my freshman orientation, I saw In Between the Lines. Nels Youngborg [soon] convinced me to come to Monday rehearsals, which anyone can go to and I fell in love with it.”
Every member of In Between the Lines stepped it up on Friday night. The troupe dealt well with the absence of Beller and Youngborg. The culmination of the pensive, ridiculous and virginal comedic personas exerted by different actors resulted in a great show.
Catch their next performance for free at 10 p.m. on Nov. 3 at the Drama House.
Rudolph can be reached in email@example.com.