Improv troupe gets festive for Halloween

By Justine Wilson
Staff Writer

The Library regains life on the last Sunday of every month, as the auditorium downstairs fills with smiles and laughter — a stark contrast to those quietly studying a few floors up.

The Mixed Signals held a spook-tacular extravaganza on Sunday, Oct. 23, where the captivated audience got the chance to interact in the comedic games, too. The audience and comedians were adorned in festive Halloween costumes — from farmers to vampires — that only added to the night’s theme.

The Mixed Signals perform a skit in costume. (Kim Iannarone / Photo Editor)
The Mixed Signals perform a skit in costume. (Kim Iannarone / Photo Editor)

The Mixed Signals also introduced two new members to the troupe. Representatives said the new duo has been practicing with the improv veterans twice a week for the past month.

“This is my third year, and I’ve found that it’s always challenging to start a new school year, and it’s interesting how everyone changes the dynamic and adds new elements to the group,” said Emma Young, a Mixed Signals member and a junior psychology major. “I love seeing the new members evolve, even before their first performance in the spring.”

The Mixed Signals started out strong with one of the group’s classics, “Interactive Eulogy,” in which one of the troupe members guesses who has died based on the audience’s responses of “Oh yeah” and “Hell no.”

With great guessing ability and explorer attire, Emily Mullin, a Mixed Signals member and a senior early childhood education and art double major, did not have to search long for the answers, as she guessed within three minutes that Martha Stewart had died. As the night went on, the high intensity of the drama, laughter and outrageousness filled the auditorium.

“We work a lot to understand the rules of improv, and each game specifically, and we especially work on chemistry because when all of us are good friends, we are able to help each other do our best and commit to the scenes,” said Beau Aranosian, president of Mixed Signals and a senior interactive multimedia major.

Young led a scene called “Party Quirks,” during which she had to guess the quirks of each guest at a Halloween party without asking them questions. Solely based on dialogue and weird tendencies, Young guessed facts from lactose-intolerance to the oddity of sleepwalking. The audience participated by creating two of the three quirks within the scene.

An audience favorite was the “Superheroes” skit with Nolan DeVoe, a Mixed Signals member and a junior communication studies major, among others. The world’s greatest problem had occurred — there was no pumpkin spice left to create pumpkin spice lattes (PSL). It was a sticky situation solved by an even stickier solution. Spice Girl (Mullin), A Guy with Good Omelet Making Skills (DeVoe) and his trusty carrier pigeon, who was played by Ian Cooley, a senior communication studies major, attempted to use their collective powers against Starbucks.

Starbucks’s goal was to destroy souls through the creation of a major cooperation, and it demanded A Guy with Good Omelet Making Skills’s omelet-making whipping powers to make their signature breakfast sandwiches. The heroes saved the day by concocting a new drink in lieu of the demands. Starbucks and big corporation were defeated after they faxed a fellow superhero with sticky syrup transformation powers, Spice Girl’s spices, and A Guy With Good Omelet Making Skills’s whipping abilities.

It’s tough to sum up a Mixed Signals show because the troupe covers a myriad of topics, ranging from fabrics to “Finding Dory.” At a Mixed Signals show, you never show what could happen. Better yet, the actors in the College’s popular comedy troupe don’t either. The troupe’s next performance will be on Sunday, Nov. 20, at 8 p.m. in the Library Auditorium.

“Improvisational comedy is a niche art form, and we want to make it accessible just for that reason,” Aranosian said. “We just want to entertain and it can be that 10-minute break from studying.”