UTB: An Emotional Symphony

In the crowded Steinbach Lobby, rows of students sat on the floor and stood against the sidewall for a souped up Under the Bed (UTB) performance. Tanner Efinger ’02 and two other professional improvisation actors joined UTB last Saturday at a highly anticipated show. Efinger and the other guest artists worked with UTB in workshops during the past week. Workshop cast member Will Adams ’11 said, “[The workshop] allowed us to be a lot more conscious of things that are kind of subtle when you watch but…are actually really important.” Adams said that these subtleties included not only trying to be funny, but also “working on character development and [awareness of] where you are, making sure there’s continuity.” He added, “It’s the plot and the characters and the setting that influence the comedy.” UTB members believed that the workshop increased their consciousness of details that form the backbone of comedy. The show opened with the cast members in the audience, emulating a town hall meeting. They then continued with a variety of short scenes and games, each with a seamless transition. One of the most popular games was called “Doo Run Runs.” The audience provided a one-syllable name, and the actors improvised a song using the name and interludes singing “Doo Run Run.” Each actor had to think of a rhyme to go with the name and fit into the song. When the name “Scott” was suggested, the actors came up with lines such as “He only eats apples that won’t rot” and “His favorite fruit was a kumquat!” The audience roared with laughter at rhymes that were often random but funny all the same. Singers were eliminated when they hesitated to think of a rhyme. Another highlight was the Emotional Symphony. Each member of the symphony received an emotion from the audience, such as ecstasy, sadness or jealousy. The actors then simultaneously sang songs expressing their assigned emotions and produced a hilarious combination. Another brief scene was “Forward/Reverse,” where the actors had to walk backwards when someone simulating a remote control called out “Reverse!” Other highlights included a jail scene with Thor Shannon ’09 sleepwalking and an artist, played by Efinger, creating lifelike sculptures of people drooling and crying. The evening ended with a fill-in-the-blank game involving every member of UTB. The audience provided a noun that cast members used in a sentence and created a joke with. For example, when the noun “Obama” was suggested, Eli Grober ’09 said, “185 Obamas walked into a bar. The bar tender says, ‘Sorry we don’t serve Obamas here.’ And the Obamas say, ‘What if we brought change?’”