Going for the jackpot of laughs with improv comedy

With a spin of the wheel in their performance called “Spinprov,” Work ‘N Progress kept the crowd laughing throughout the night.

Sixty audience members attended the performance, and the audience was an integral part in the success of the event. The audience chose characters, settings and even rolled the dice to determine which of the four performers would participate in one of eight games.

The Valley Vanguard

Vanguard photo | Logan Mooney

Austin Butterfield, Erik Finnegan, Mykaela Hopps and Isaac Wood perform during the Work ‘N Progress “Spinprov” show, where members of the group used comments and suggestions from the audience to create improvisational comedy.

The four performers were Austin Butterfield, Erik Finnegan, Mykaela Hopps and Isaac Wood, with host Evan Ellis.

“Performing in the show is terrifying, and some of the most fun I’ve ever had in my entire life,” Hopps said.  “I’m a theatre major, and I’m always performing other people’s work, but in improv I’m performing my own work that I’m writing on the fly.”

Hopps and her fellow performers feed off of the audience’s response to their actions and comedic language.

“It’s such a high to get that many people to laugh,” Hopps said.  “A good audience will give us energy that we will not have otherwise.”

The unpredictable suggestions that the audience gives to the show shapes the way the night plays out.  Some audience members enjoy the show so much that they attend on a regular basis, including former member Ashley Durbin.

“It’s a regular form of entertainment, and not too expensive,” Durbin said.  “The audience interaction with the actors is a very friendly environment and makes you feel welcome, like you’re a part of the show.”

The group has many members from many different backgrounds.

“We’re very accepting of all skills levels of improv,” said Work ‘N Progress president Brandin Dahlstrom. “A majority of the executive board is not affiliated in any way, shape or form with the theatre department.”

Work ‘N Progress member and performer Isaac Woods is working on helping the group have an Internet presence. This spin-off group is deemed “Write ‘N Progress.”

Woods plans on having a presence on YouTube, Facebook and Vine.

“There was talk at the beginning of the year of doing an SNL-based show, and we wanted it to be all scripted and have a musical guest and things like that,” Woods said. “It was based on that, and we’re starting to branch out from that idea.”

They are planning on reaching out to creative writing majors to help get the word out about the spin-off group.

In order to prepare for the Work ‘N Progress shows, the group meets weekly to work on the more technical aspects. The meetings are open to all, and attendees help feed into a large pool of ideas for all upcoming shows by discussing ideas and sharing potential pieces.

Write ‘N Progress meets every Thursday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. in C222.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 17th, 2014 and is filed under A&E. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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