On April the 29th, The Tulsa Community College Die Laughing Improv Troop performed its last show to a packed crowd.
The audience watch hilarity unfold as the Best of the Troop praticed their Improv Games including one where contestants played the great sport of Butter Churning. While others asked Audience members fiction genres for the Troop to act out a story and if the audience did not like the performance of the competitors, they could kill them in the fashion of their genre.
Many of the games demand the participation of the people populating the stands in front of the improvers. You are allowed to shout any silly suggestion or idea you want and it creates a lot of creative fun. Do you want a dragon belching flammable farts from his jaw? The world is your oyster!
The Die Laughing Troop is a class that is open to any TCC student. The class also starts off with the assumption that the students taking it have not had any experience with Improv. “we start off with easy, simple, kind of ice breaker games… we start off with really little things that you guys really don’t even see as an audience member,” comments Bethany Frank, adjunct theater professor overseeing the TCC Die Laughing Improv Troop. Though Professor Frank expects the world from the students live on stage.
“I always say I demand perfection at all times which is impossible. But if I set the bar super high, you always know what to expect,” Frank explains. Any students taking her class also should not have any expectations of performing on stage with the Troop after its initial performance.
“Once they perform, they have no guarantee, they will perform again.”
Ally Shea, a theater major and fourth time improv class-taking master, spoke with the connection about her Improv experience in one of our Connection Conversation Podcasts. During her performance on stage, our staff became enamored with her “Professional Butter Churning” that the Connection had to interview her on our podcast.
She spoke about how she found interest in improv and drama and how she finds inspiration in her work.
“From so many places, I could be having a conversation with anyone. I could be in a coffee shop and I’m like, this is funny… There are small mannerisms that they happen to be showing that could inspire me to make a silly character later. I think I get most inspired just by sitting back and people watching,” says Ally Shea.
“I always say I demand perfection at all times which is impossible. But if I set the bar super high, you always know what to expect,”
She went on to talk about how she found a passion for improv and theater “I was in seventh grade… I took this drama class, that eight weeks came up, and we were doing these silly improv games and I realized I can make people laugh, and I liked the feeling of making others laughed,” Shae elaborates.
The Die Laughing Improv Troop had a point in its history where it struggled to get attendance for its shows in the past before its performance on April 29th.
“We struggled with attendance because we used to do shows sporadically,” says Frank, “just the past year we started doing shows on Monday nights three times a semester.” Since it started doing shows more regularly people have begun to understand that there will be more of these shows and they soon start to wait desperately for the next one.
Naturally with more people, their Improv show transforms into a balls off the wall barrel of fun. A bigger audience means more crazy suggestions for the entire troop and in return the audience gets a performance filled with hilarity! And the troop looks to produce the same thing in the fall performance!