The bell rang loudly as the night’s wrestlemania began without any delay—last Saturday, Feb. 23, the Muhlenberg Improv Association (MIA) began their “fight to the death” for our personal entertainment. Throughout the night, a series of improv games occurred in which the audience gives the name of a place, a person, or some subject for the performers to improv off of. It was a spectacular night of on point comedy and overall really impressive display of talent.
“During the show, I was playing world’s worst scenes from a hat with my good and very talented friend Colin Hauck,” explained Max Wiener ‘22. “The category was ‘Worst first-dance song at a wedding.’ Earlier in the semester, we played the same game with a different category: ‘World’s worst song lyric used in a sentence.’ Colin brought me out, and started speaking [to] me the Star-Spangled Banner, to which we both laughed, and it became one of our finest moments. During [Saturday night’s] show, once Colin heard the word ‘Song,’ he brought me out, began slow dancing, and sang the Star-Spangled Banner, and it got a huge laugh. It was incredible.”
Being his first year in MIA, Wiener expresses the outright joy being a part of the group gives him. This performance was no different as the excitement seemed to infest every performer and every audience member—truly a sight to behold.
“The process for planning shows is so fun and laid back,” Wiener explained, “We basically just goof around for a semester, while also working hard to figure out which games best showcase the talents of the ensemble. Everyone gets the chance to showcase who they are as a performer, and we as a group recognize each other’s individual talent and figure out where it works best in the show.”
One game that I particularly enjoyed was the “I object” series, in which an audience member was picked to play the “judge” role. The rules were simple. A subject will be picked for the performers to improv off of—this subject will have something to do with favorites. An example, favorite ice cream flavors, or favorite movies, books, etc. Once picked, a performer will step up and argue why their type (in the category chose) is the best. While they are arguing, any member of the team can say “I object” and give a reason why. The judge then will give either a thumbs up (approval) or thumbs down (rejected). If approved, then the objector takes their place and begins to argue their best type in question. If rejected, the original performer continues to argue their point until objected again. For this round the topic was smoothies. Like rockets the performers shot out of their seats to center stage, ready to find and defend their smoothie flavor to the death. In one particular moment a performer tried to argue for the best smoothie being a vegetable smoothie, to which an objector replied, “no one likes vegetable smoothies.” The thumb went up in agreement.
“We also pick games that we all love to play,” Wiener reminisced, “[this] makes the show essentially just another rehearsal.”
Another game was a detective/mystery parody in which three performers sat on stage in a line, while another went out of the room. Engaging with the audience, three subject terms were given in the Clue game style: Who did it, with what weapon, and where. It was decided that Queen Elizabeth was the murderer, a tooth was the murder weapon, and a swimming pool was the scene of the crime.
Returning to the stage, the performer who stepped out was the detective, who now had to ask the other three questions to figure out the murder, the weapon, and the scene. What resulted was a series of hilarious scenarios. The detective, who adopted a humorous Russian accent, attempted to rile the suspects up in mock sincerity. In turn, said suspects engaged in clever word play that slowly dropped clues of who (or what) they were.
Overall, the performance was fantastic. Truly an enjoyable time that I suggest all to attend in the future.