Included in the wide range of performing talent here at Sonoma State is a group of people who specialize in slapstick and put on some of the most entertaining shows on campus, despite being held in the dead of night.
The SSU Improvaholics club played to a packed audience last Wednesday night in an event they named BIG SHOW 10, the biggest show of the semester. The show's expectation of silliness and humor made for a very energetic, very responsive audience. BIG SHOW 10 was a night of pure, promised fun.
The show itself was a competition between two improv teams: the blue Seawolves and the white Cossacks.
Each team would take turns and perform a different improve game. After one game each, the audience would decide (by cheering) who would win. Winning the audience was a crucial aspect to each team's success.
The Seawolves were a strong team. Michael Eynon, Dan Gaines, Christopher Keilman and Kevin Kauker bravely and cleverly played off each other to applause and excitement.
Gaines was a stand out for his team. He played very confident, clear and open for each game. His characters and improvs were not only funny but smart and clever.
The Seawolves also proved they could out-rhyme their opponents in an improv gave that required collaboration and rhyming in a specified pattern. The blue team eliminated all the Cossacks in this competition. It was an impressive and humorous victory.
The Cossacks, however, proved to be very fierce competitors. Liz Deichler, James Friebe, Josh Argyle and Steven Anderson were a hilarious mix. Each member was able to create such strong, such strange, such entertaining characters; they succeeded in making each skit memorable.
Anderson was a very admirable performer. His characters were almost scary, always creepy but undeniably funny. His very distinctive voice, coupled with crazy mannerisms was a pleasure to watch. He was absurd, but effective.
Deichler very much held her own amidst the all male improv-ers. She was very confident, precise and fearless. Her humor was quite sharp and fresh. Her jokes received many deserving laughs.
The improv-ers were not the only performers at the show. Host Trevor Reece and Dan Humke, as the Voice of Thar, also added to the entertainment of the night.
Reece was a distinct personality; riling up the audience, riling up the performers and comfortably explaining and hosting the show. He was also a force that added to the show's humor and entertainment. There was a familiar rapport he seemed to hold with the performers as well as the audience.
Humke as the Voice of Thar was a very authoritative, cool character in the show. He seemed wise and was very funny. His deep voice commanded the audience's attention, and it seemed, whenever he would speak, laughter would soon follow. The voice was a great addition to the show.
Humke and Reece enhanced the humor of the show and brought a chaotic sense of order to the improvaholic completion.
Another aspect of the show was audience participation. This aspect was never lacking. The audience was more than willing to participate, laugh, judge and cheer. They helped fuel the performers' fervor.
The ability to participate made the show less one-sided, providing a stronger connection between the audience and the performers. There was a strange sense of relationship built between who was onstage and who was watching. Everyone became more involved in keeping the show entertaining.
For the most part, the games in BIG SHOW 10 were executed with wit and cleverness. Each of the performers were impressive with their quick skill in creating jokes and scenarios in front of a full house. They hardly wavered.
Though both teams gained the audience laughs, only one could win. In the end, the Seawolves took home the honor of champion. By audience decision and the decision of the Voice of THAR, the Seawolves, in fitting Sonoma State fashion are the BIG SHOW 10 winners.
The Seawolves reinforced their skill with the win, but the Cossacks's talent is in no way diminished. Each improv-er succeeded in making someone in their audience laugh hysterically. That seemed to be the main goal of the show. In that sense, BIG SHOW 10 was an overall success.