Improv at twilight

With shouted suggestions from the audience varying from rubber duckies to jail cells, the Sonoma State University Improvaholics made the Friday night crowd burst with laughter by turning the suggestions into imaginary scenes and witty puns.

At first glance, the club seems to be just a normal group of college students, but once the games begun on stage, the true brilliance of each performer shone through. After introductions of the five performers of the night, the games immediately began. 

The audience wasted no time throwing out ridiculous suggestions for the performers to work off of. One of the first games they played was called “Chain murder” in which only four of the performers participate in. 

The objective of the game is while three of the participants wait outside the room, the audience gives suggestions to the first performer on a location, occupation, and weapon in which he has to communicate to the next participant using only gibberish and body gestures and the next person passes it on to the next in line and so forth. 

The group has four minutes to relay the information from the first to last person. In this particular case, the location was Mexico, the occupation was jockey, and the weapon was a rubber duck. As the first person waiting outside came in, the antics and laughter simultaneously began. 

Mexico was depicted as the motion of shooting guns into the sky as well as the attempted hand gesture of a sombrero; Jockey was the foot stomping depiction of a horse race; and the rubber duck was the performer humming and scrubbing himself as if he was in a bath, along with a couple quacks. 

By the end of the telephone-like game, the last participant could only guess the weapon at first, and the audience was enlisted to give hints to help the rest of the participants guess the location and occupation. By the end of the game, the laughter from audience and the performers alike was echoing in the room. 

Another game the performers played was called “Object.” This gamed called for the once performer who wasn’t participating brought out various objects that each member had to improvise quick, witty puns or scenes with off the top of their heads. 

One object that was brought out was a traffic cone; this traffic cone became a giant ice cream cone and the world’s smallest tent. Another object, a soccer ball, was depicted as Wilson from “Cast Away” and shoved under a shirt to show a halfway done breast-implant job. 

Through all of the games, there was interaction with the audience and a general sense of humor shared through an open atmosphere.

After the show, the STAR spoke with Jake Burke, the Improvaholics club president, and Jason Vitkovich, the club treasurer. 

“I started improv my freshman year of high school, and just continued on with it through college,” said Vitkovich. “Even though I’m a business major, it’s a fun hobby for me.” 

Burke and Vitkovich both shared that they had loved improv through high school, and because Improvaholics is an open club on campus, they were welcomed into the scene immediately. Now that both members are seniors, they hope they passed on the welcoming to current and incoming members. 

“This club creates an awesome community,” said Burke. “I’ve found all of my best friends and roommates through this club, and now I actually teach the student-run improv class in the theater department. There are instant connections made through this club; I’ve met past club presidents who I had never spoken to before and we immediately connected just through talking about our experiences in Improvaholics.”

The club itself has been around for 12 years, and is open to any student, with any level of experience, at any time. The open practices are in Ives 76 or 78 on Wednesdays 7-9 p.m. and Fridays 5-7 p.m. and the free improv shows are in Ives 76 at midnight every other Friday.