Earth Day and UiP: new outdoor performance opportunities in bloom for on-campus artists

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Image: Instagram @undergroundimprovproject

This past Friday, April 23, students saw a variety of Earth Day festivities on the green, including tables by local businesses, student-run startup businesses and fraternities and sororities offering a variety of eco-friendly crafts. Additionally, the increase in outdoor performance opportunities reached a new milestone when four of the six a cappella groups and Fun With Science, the school’s sketch comedy group, performed a variety of music and comedy bits for the eager crowd.

Now that the school has an abundance of KN-95 masks, students are able to sing—in exclusively outdoor spaces and distanced according to school policy guidelines—so long as they are wearing one.

The a cappella groups that performed were the Girls Next Door, the Chaimonics, Noteworthy and the Acafellas. The groups even featured soloists in their acts, including Zach Rabishaw ‘22 of the Chaimonics, Olivia Ramsey ‘21 of Noteworthy and Owen Yingling ‘21 of the Acafellas. During the performance, the soloists used the arc of standup microphones to their advantage by staggering the distance of both the group and themselves, creating the same effect of resonance and ensemble acoustics that would be achieved when the groups performed in a smaller venue inside the Center for the Arts.

“I was so happy that the acapella groups were able to perform in the Earth Day celebration,” said Rabishaw, the current president of the A Cappella Council (ACC). “Over the course of the pandemic, it felt as though singing became something that you weren’t supposed to be doing with anyone besides yourself, so performing and watching everyone else perform was a really meaningful experience.” 

Once night fell, another performance ensemble, the Underground Improv Project (UiP), took the outdoor stage at the amphitheater outside of the rehearsal house, in a show titled “UiPleaseClapItsBeenAYearSinceWeLastDidThis.” The attendance was capped at 40 participants due to the space’s existing maximum occupancy. The small size of this particular space allowed for a more intimate, encapsulated experience for the audience.  Students were able to reserve seating in advance on a first-come, first-served basis through a survey on SignUpGenius.com. Any students who wanted to watch, but could not reserve in-person seating were able to watch via a livestream. 

The performers were full of energy from the moment the performance began, with members running along the perimeter of the audience to energize the audience with ‘the wave.’ As a group, they engaged in a word game in which they selected a recurring theme to be used for the duration of the show. The result, as it happened, was ‘beaver’, and the performers of UiP provided no shortage of unique, beaver-related jokes.

The improv segments themselves followed a few consistent plotlines that developed over the course of the night, including a bit where Jaxson Goldsmith ‘23 played the role of someone obsessed with pinching the legs of others, and the group had a blast exploring the many shenanigans associated with these wacky circumstances.

Additionally, Adin Goldfeder ‘23, Yingling, Christine Zak ‘23 and Jonathan Slovak ‘22 took on a warped, comedic version of the story of Lewis and Clark, in which Goldfeder and Yingling played the two explorers, but Slovak was another explorer, also by the name of Lewis. Zak, in relation to the show’s overall theme, played a beaver, who confused and enthralled the three explorers.

“It was amazing to have the community come together for live performances again,” said Goldsmith, excitedly. “It made me feel like things were starting to get back to a more normal place which is really exciting.”

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