“We don’t like laundry, we like naked!” said a two headed monster on a talk show. Two-Headed Monster is just one of the many games played on Monday nights at the Drama House by the improv troupe ? Between the Lines. In this particular game there are two groups of two people ? they are the two-headed monsters, who are on a talk show hosted by one of the troupe members. Questions are fielded by the troupe member and then directed to the monsters, one of whom talks with words alternating from person to person, while the two people playing the other monster must speak in tandem without determining what they are saying beforehand. All of this is made up on the spot and that is the magic of improvisation.
“It’s a great way to start the week,” said sophomore and troupe member Nels Youngborg. The troupe rehearsal Monday night is open to all who wish to attend. It runs from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. “We welcome anyone and everyone, and as part of a new PR initiative, I would personally like to welcome financially independent attractive females who might enjoy a lifelong relationship with someone who has the mental and social aptitude of a ten-year-old,” Public Relations manager and senior Tim Ryan said.
Furthermore, one does not need to be funny to come to the open rehearsals.
“Improv is not always funny, nor does it have to be, nor does one need to be funny to do it,” Ryan said, “All you need to come is a desire to have fun and the willingness to flop around on stage every once and while.”
Anyone who attends three Monday rehearsals will become a member of the group, but only a select few get to perform in the bi-weekly shows, these elite improv-ers are called “misfits,” while the regulars at the Monday rehearsals are called “toys.”
“I feel that spontaneous self expression is the raison d’etat for my soul,” freshman and toy, Jeff Monheit said.
When asked what improvisation meant to him Ryan responded in 87 words, “Improv is about stepping outside your safety circle and opening up your mind to an endless world of plausible possibilities. Reality, my dear friends, is simply the playground of the unimaginative and I once was given a choice ? the red pill or the blue pill? I, I took them both, and then took the path less traveled?only to find that it led to the Drama House and to a bunch of hyperactive, self-effacing, cracked out circus freaks who never cease in their quest of making merriment.”
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that going to open rehearsals will make one funny. However, there is a conditional guarantee that improvisational techniques will be learned.
“I will however say this ? beyond my official capacity as the Goatlord, I personally think that by attending open rehearsals one will become funnier, simply based upon the fact that for two consecutive hours you will be immersed and surrounded by the largest organized faction of jackasses on campus,” Ryan said. “Goatlord” is Between the Line’s code name for public relations manager.
“We generally have shows twice a month, and usually they are at the Drama House,” Ryan said.
“We are currently revamping our Web site, www.sa.rochester.edu/improv, to include the dates and locations of our shows, as well as pursuing a large searchlight that projects our symbol into the night sky to alert people to our performances, but in the meantime, you can keep your eyes peeled for flyers about campus or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about our show advisory e-mail list,” Ryan said.
Snitkoff can be reached at email@example.com.