By Jonathan Edmondson
Arts & Entertainment Editor
Every few weeks, the College’s only improv comedy troupe storms the Library Auditorium and performs to a packed audience. On Sunday, March 29, The Mixed Signals took the stage for one of their many shows of the semester — but this time, with a twist.
The first half of their set included the Signals performing their regular routine. Games included “Time Warp” and “La Round,” classic audience favorites. Senior Garrett Verdone starred in a skit, “Border Cop,” in which he had to guess which crime he had committed based off of audience suggestions while he was outside.
After their regular games, the Signals invited senior psychology major Mariah Black to the stage to perform a monologue based off an audience suggestion (in this case, the word chief). She then went on to discuss catholic guilt, her middle school’s D.A.R.E program and her overbearing mother. After she finished, the Signals took the stage again to perform long-form improv skits based on Black’s monologue.
“We’ve always wanted to try long form,” said Rachel Friedman, a junior history secondary education major and vice president of the troupe. “A lot of the comedians and troupes we look up to do long form. Upright Citizens Brigade, the professional troupe that performs at our comedy festival R.O.C.K. every year, take a monologue from the audience as well. We always enjoy their performance and admire what they do, and we’ve wanted to try it ourselves for awhile.”
While it was a certainly a risk, the long-form game paid off. Various members of the troupe took the stage to perform skits surrounding every detail in Black’s monologue. Some highlights included players portraying “drug dealers” who sold everything but drugs and police officers warning children about the dangers of rock and roll. Friedman and other members of the troupe, including President Steven Munoz and new member Nolan DeVoe, thought quickly on their feet as they switch from skit to skit. The audience was enthralled by the performance and appreciated the new type of comedy that the troupe had to offer.
After a while, Black took another suggestion from the audience (this time the word pineapple) and proceeded to talk about how she’s allergic to pineapple but drinks pineapple juice anyway.
Black’s hilarious monologues and the troupe’s engaging performance made for a dynamic and fun evening.
“Short-form games like the ones we usually play follow a very specific set of rules, a very specific format. Long form isn’t like that,” Friedman said of their decision to try a different medium. “Because it starts with a normal monologue, it allows us to do more natural scenes born from real life situations. And because there are no rules, those real life situations can go anywhere, become anything.”
After receiving positive acclaim for their performance, the Signals hope to tackle more areas of improv in the future.
“Eventually, we’d love to work our way up to an entirely long-form show,” Friedman said. “I’d hate to entirely lose the short form games we play, because those are so fun, too. But in doing more long form, I think we can grow and improve so much as a troupe.”