Improv 1, Cancer 0

a.k.a., the Relay for Life show postmortem.

Saturday night the Relay for Life was held, a fundraising event for cancer research. People pay to walk around a track and participate in various events. Or something like that; I’m not entirely clear on the specifics, since that’s not the capacity in which I was participating. Rather, the Ship of Fools put on a one-hour show for the participants.

We did the same last year, but this year’s went much better for a variety of reasons. First, it wasn’t ass-butt cold. (Last year’s happened to be held during a freak late-March cold snap that brought flurries and below-freezing temperatures — great conditions for an outdoor performance.) Second, the Relay organizers cut down on the amount of improv performed. (Last year three groups performed over the course of the night: some group from Indiana State that sucked badly, us, and the Crazy Monkeys; this year was just us and (I’m pretty sure) the Monkeys.)

And third, objectively speaking, we rocked. It was definitely the best show we’ve put on this year, and the only show rivaling it that we’ve done would be the Civic Show last year. We were energetic, we commanded the audience’s attention, we were funny, and we weren’t suffering from hypothermia.

Plus, none of the games bombed. Not even the one we only started doing a week ago: “history of an everyday object,” wherein five people, speaking one word at a time, tell the story of the invention of some thing. Most of the run-throughs during practice suffered the problem of going off on needless tangents instead of describing a problem and the solution to said problem (i.e., the invention). But it didn’t happen; although the game ran short, it was funny and made sense. Well, as much sense as solving the Irish potato famine by inventing the fork does (since, you know, you can’t just eat potatoes with your fingers).

I was worried a bit near the start during “sideline sermon” where I was unexpectedly thrust into the role of the caller. The way the game works is, you have two teams, each made of one sermonizer and two other people. The two people have to convey the topic of the sermon (always in [adverb] [verb] [noun] form) to the sermonizer using only mime, while the sermonizer must, well, give the sermon and try to figure out the topic. The turn switches at the caller’s command until someone figures it out. The problem was, the topic was “pervasively pulverizing porcupines”, and neither of the sermonizers were getting the very first syllable (oh yeah, the words are usually conveyed one syllable at a time). Both sides were trying to convey “purr”, but the sermonizers guessed every word relating to cats except purr. That’s the worst-case-scenario of the game, since there’s no real way to end the game gracefully if both sides get hopelessly stuck. Fortunately, one of them finally got “purr” somehow, and from there the game progressed fairly quickly. Disaster averted.

Plus, there was chair throwing. Making fun of Bobby Knight in front of a bunch of Purdue students can’t not play well.

Here’s hoping this upcoming week’s two shows go just as well.

2 Responses

  1. http://www.purdueexponent.org/interface/bebop/showstory.php?date=2004/03/28&section=features&storyid=index

  2. ass-butt? Nice use of grammar Paul. Jeez, chair throwing? What a violent act! haha. Hope that you do well in your next two shows. Enjoy my brother.

    ~Amy

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