Around Town: UNI Half-Masted improv brings lots of laughs

Jessica Dally/Staff Writer

On Saturday, I went to the UNI Half-Masted improv show. The show was started by UNI math professor Doug Shaw. Shaw realized there was nothing like a improv troupe around the campus and figured he could start one. This group has become a major success. The show is free, and you can find out a little about the group and dates on the website, The event is hosted at the CAC building by the West Gym and Russell Hall.

The show wasn’t the most kid friendly, but as we get older we learn to accept all kinds of entertainment. The lights were on, and you could see everything. Try and picture the show ‘Whose Line is it Anyway,’ and this is exactly what you get except it’s right in our hometown. It was not the kind of show I was expecting. I thought it was going to be a performance, but the troupe literally got in your face and made you participate. The show started out with a P.T.A meeting. One girl sat on another random girl’s lap and was going crazy, waving her hands around in the air. I did not expect that at all. They made people rap, dance, sing and they made boys do a little cheer. It was so funny, I can’t remember what the issue was over.
Next, Shaw called members into the center and made them act out scenes from the audience. It was an important moment in your life and some guy yells out, “Puberty,” and Shaw said, “That was a moment in your life? You are one lucky guy!”

They played out the scene of two teenagers and their first kiss. The actors began the scene, and randomly Shaw would call out “Rewind” or “Fast forward” or “Skip 10 minutes” or “Last two seconds!” The crowd was going crazy. It was like having your own TiVo. The couple ended up going to ChuckECheese’s and having their first kiss. The kiss ended up becoming more than a kiss, but, of course, the father came out and ruined it for the young lovers.

After that scene, they played a game where they made fun of some movies or actors. They did the Hangover and Arnold Schwarzenegger. They also had a dance off to economics, and the audience got to decide the winner.

In the end, one of the members of the troupe is allowed to do whatever they want for 10 minutes with the other members. First, they started out in a random position (which you can only imagine), and the audience members would get to yell freeze whenever they wanted, and then one guy would have to hold the position and the other member would switch. It got crazy when they had some guys with guys and girls with guys. The people went crazy. We would yell freeze in the most awkward positions. And for 10 minutes we would yell out random things that would change the scene, and Tonia, the leader, would say “Go back to two weeks ago” or “Rewind” etc.

The show ended with Shaw. He announced that it was Tonia’s last show. She had been with the show for four years, and it was time to move on. He said he didn’t know how to say goodbye and thank her for all the great times they’ve had. So instead he was going to let his group sing a song that represented his thanks. The song was “Lean on Me,” and the audience even joined in.

It was the most hilarious show in the world, no kidding. You have to understand that I’m leaving a ton of stuff out, but no two shows are alike. Every time you go you get to see something new. I recommend going to their website and finding out more times and places to go see. It’s something that I hope everyone gets interested in. They hold classes and allow people to join, give auditions and even come to parties.

Class of 2014

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