Mixed Signals and improv friends ‘ROCK’

In Kendall Hall on Saturday, March 22, the College’s improvisational troupe, The Mixed Signals, hosted their annual event, “R.O.C.K.,” featuring themselves, Wells Fargeaux and professional group UCB (Upright Citizens Brigade) Touring Company.

Sophomore members shine. (Monica Murphy / Staff Photographer)
Sophomore members shine. (Monica Murphy / Staff Photographer)

“R.O.C.K.,” which stands for Rather Outrageous Comedy Kickout, was started six years ago in order to showcase improvisational comedy, which is a growing performance.

“The idea is to bring more improv to TCNJ,” said Lindsey Nice, a senior computer science major who is a member of The Mixed Signals and president of All College Theatre, which co-sponsored the event.

The night started with a 30-minute performance by The Mixed Signals, led by current president Jonathan Dowler, a senior history and secondary education dual major. With the aid of their infamous bell, the quick-witted troupe played multiple games that highlighted each member in a unique way.

After their set, Wells Fargeaux took the stage. This group is comprised of former members of The Mixed Signals, and on Saturday, Dan Loverro, John Eldis and Sam Paternostro performed a few games.

One crowd highlight was “Half-Life,” in which Paternostro and Loverro acted out a scene in two minutes and then did the same scene in one minute, 30 seconds and so on.

At the conclusion of their set, The Mixed Signals came back out and both groups performed together before a short intermission. The most impressive and interesting quality about the group is their undeniable chemistry together.

What makes a Mixed Signals show so entertaining is how much fun each member of the group is having on stage. There is never a dull moment when they are performing their hearts out on stage.

“Improv is like a very basic play,” Nice said when asked what performing this type of comedy was like. “Like, when you’re a kid you play make believe. Improv is a way to do that.”

Following intermission, three professionals from UCB performed an hour-long set that began with them interviewing a random student from the audience. What followed was short improvisational scenes all based on the questions the student answered. To finish off their set, they took audience members’ most recent text messages and performed scenes based around them.

Overall, it was a wonderful night of comedy that led to most audience members laughing until they cried. It is clear the College’s students have a profound appreciation for this comedic art form.

“It blows my mind when I think about it,” Nice said, reflecting on her journey as a Mixed Signals member. “We literally just stand up on stage with no preparation basically and just try to do things to make an audience laugh and connect with us in any way we can, and that’s just kind of crazy to me that we can do that.”