Ever head the joke about the construction worker, the duck and the brick? The answer to that question is probably “no,” and this spontaneity is the reason why Work ‘N Progress succeeds.
Work ‘N Progress is one of the many RSOs, but unlike other RSOs, it comes with a comedic twist you won’t find anywhere else. In the style of “Whose Line is it Anyway,” the four performers are given cues from the audience and prompts from the host in order to act out an improvisational skit. While this may seem near to impossible to come up with jokes that are both timely and hilarious right on the spot, the crew manages to do just that.
Ray Deeren hosted the show, which was the last of the semester for the group. Along with his pre-show jokes and sporadically funny quips thrown in at random moments in the show, he managed to be serious when speaking of the group.
“It’s a great beginning to the weekend,” Deeren said. “We’ve been together for almost 11 years.”
Jordan Stafford, theater junior and performer, and Amy Delaney, education junior, directed the show and also commented on the group’s longevity.
“This is like family,” Stafford said.
“This is my group of friends,” Delaney added.
The seriousness didn’t last long as it became apparent this group of performers love spending time together and are secure with each other’s sense of humor.
Tillie Dorgan, theater sophomore and performer, admitted that being involved in the Work ‘N Progress shows was not nerve racking, but enjoyable, not only because of the friendly participants but also because of the catharsis of the performance.
“It’s a major stress reliever,” Dorgan admitted.
After attending the show once, the role of the audience is understood loud and clear. While the four performers play off each other to generate laughs, they also take many cues and prompts from the crowd. Several games are dedicated to playing jokes off of audience suggestions.
“That’s the point of the audience,” Stafford said. “Forces you to be on your toes.”
The students watching the show feel the same about their role. Alison Bur, art freshman, has been to multiple shows and enjoys the jokes told on a whim.
“‘Whose Line Is It Anyway’ is my favorite show,” Bur said. “It’s great because they can take it anywhere they want, especially with cues from the audience.”
Deeren said he feels the same, although he acknowledged not every show will have the same amount of audience participation.
“Some shows are more quiet, so you have to pull from the crowd,” Deeren said.
Mackenzie Knapp, a nursing freshman, admitted that it was her first show only to quickly add that she enjoyed it and can’t wait for more.
“You can tell that it is random,” Knapp said. “The dating game was very funny.”
When asked, “What is there left to say about this group of talented performer who create humor out of the most basic of strategies?”
Stafford responded, “Jordan Stafford is the man.”
What more can be said?