Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Trinity hosts the NY Upright Citizens Brigade Touring

Pooja Savansukha

Arts Editor

On Friday, November 22, Trinity hosted an event by the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) Touring Company, an improvisational comedy group. The event, an evening of comedy also featured a short opening set by Trinity’s much loved, premier improvgroup, ‘The Moveable Joints.’

The UCB has alumni all over the professional comedy world (on shows like the Daily Show, 30 Rock, Parks and Rec, and many others). It is a sketch and long form improvisational group founded in Chicago, which moved to New York and Los Angeles. Its members met mostly at the IO Theater in Chicago. They pride themselves in the fact that “Far and away, our most popular show is the long-form improvised comedy provided by UCB Tour Co. A four person team enacts a 90 minute show with a 10 minute intermission off a single suggestion. Though no lines have been planned and no characters assigned, you can be assured your audience will be laughing in delight.”

The performance at Trinity was presented in Mather’s Washington Room. The opening act by the Moveable Joints involved their usual format of asking for a word from the audience and working with it. The word they were provided with was ‘goldfish’ and it was incredible to see how far they were able to go, making goldfish related jokes. They then performed a few short, funny skits. Their fifteen minute performance warmed the audience up for the UCB Touring Company’s act.

The UCB comedy group consisted of four people, two men and two women who began by talking to the audience about recent events at Trinity. Having cracked a few jokes, they proceeded to call a volunteer from the audience who they would interview, for inspiring a majority of their act. The volunteer, a resident of a quad in Hansen Hall was asked questions pertaining to his life at Trinity, and his future goals and aspirations.

It was remarkable to see the immediate and improvised but nevertheless extremely organized series of situations and skits that they were able to perform to recreate moments from the life of the volunteer that they interviewed. Perhaps the funniest of these was their exaggerated depiction of one of the volunteers’ roommates who he had described as being reserved, and artistic. Although they spent about seven to ten minutes interviewing the volunteer, they were able to perform inspired acts for almost forty five minutes. They maintained the audience’s engagement as their humor was consistently excellent.

For the second part of their performance, they asked for a word from the audience, to inspire their act. The word provided was “tropical.” They immediately interpreted “tropical,” as one of Trinity’s big parties, rather than the tropics. They immediately began to depict an airplane scene, where a couple bothered their neighboring passengers by calling themselves the party of the plane. Their jokes eventually extended to connect with a recurring funny idea that they had performed in their earlier act.

At the end, the audience was clearly disappointed that the show was over. There were laughs heard through, and after the performance as the audience recalled their favorite parts.

The evening of comedy proved to be an ideal way to spend a Friday night, to unwind after a stressful week at college.

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