Students think on feet, recruit new hands

By Shayna Innocenti
Arts & Entertainment Assistant

The seats in the Library Auditorium filled quickly Sunday night at the first Mixed Signals’ improv comedy show of the semester. The show was hosted by the troupe’s president, Jonathan Dowler, who explained that all scenes they perform are not rehearsed. What they say and do all depends on the scenarios that the audience members come up with.

For example, the audience’s choice of locations ranged from a library with a strict alphabetized filing system to a pizzeria opening up next to a dairy farm.

The Mixed Signals take audience suggestions for skits. (Sorraya Barshear-Evans / Staff Photographer)

Toward the end of the show, one of the audience members even got pulled up onstage and incorporated into the scene. “It was very surprising to be a part of the scene,” freshman open options engineering major Eric O’Hare said. “I could not stop laughing the whole time.”

After the show, the troupe explained some goals they have for the coming year and gave  advice for people who were interested in auditioning. Dowler said he wants to hold workshops where students can come and see what the Mixed Signals does and learn the techniques of improv comedy.

Senior computer science major Lindsey Nice explained that the troupe’s general ambition is to always improve as comedians and to have fun.

“The troupe grows every year and gets better every year, and we want to keep pushing ourselves,” she said.

Senior nursing major Nina Shulgach and sophomore history and secondary education major Rachel Friedman both said that the troupe really wants to branch out and perform at different venues, but that they also want to reach out to different audiences on campus.

Dowler also said that come spring, the Mixed Signals will be holding a comedy festival called “Rather Outrageous Comedy Kick-out,” or R.O.C.K.

“We hope to have a big turnout,” Dowler said.

The next Mixed Signals show will be on Friday, Oct. 4. The troupe will also be holding auditions on Saturday, Oct. 5, and Sunday, Oct. 6. They hope to get a lot of new members and encourage people to come out and audition.

Dowler explained that auditions are a long process, but that everyone who auditions has fun.

“It’s a great opportunity to make new friends and branch out in one form or another,” he said.

Nice said that she auditioned on a whim and thought that she would never get in.

“I just showed up and I met some really good people,” she said. “And then I did get in, which was crazy. It entirely shaped my college career. These guys are my best friends, and this is the most fun thing that I do.”

Dowler also gave some advice to students who might be interested in auditioning.

“One of the main things to remember when auditioning is that you commit to your character,” Dowler said. “You can have a scene that is not going well, but as long as you commit and redefine your character as you  gothrough the scene, you will still be able to have a good scene in the end.”

Likewise, Friedman advised people to focus less on actually trying to be funny.

“We are really working to find real characters and are putting ourselves into situations that could or would happen,” she said. “Real comedy is always funnier than crazy comedy.”