The Theater Classroom quieted as two Under the Bed (U.T.B.) performers started improvising a scene as a part of the game “Montage.” While performers acted out a scene, any waiting performer could tap an active performer out, and begin improvising another scenario.
Ian Hurley ’19 initiated “Montage” by playing a prisoner, sitting and shivering on the floor as an abusive prison guard, played by Khari Greene ’20, shouted at him to get back in his jail cell. The scenes flipped through multiple settings and characters only to come full circle for the final scene: when Harry Kahane ’20 tapped in as a prison guard and slammed the cage door shut, demanding a frightened Hurley to stay in his jail cell.
“My favorite part was the ‘Montage’ because it had a plot that ended very nicely. It started with the jail cell, then it went on lots of tangents about the character. When Harry Kahane brought it back to the jail cell at the end, it tied it all together,” said audience member Mac Katkavich ’21.
“Montage” was one among a series of improv games that U.T.B. performed at the Theater Classroom last Saturday night. According to Hurley, in addition to playing the traditional games, U.T.B. also debuted a new game created by Kahane, called “Pumpernickel.”
“The way [‘Pumpernickel’] works is two people are in a scene, and one person leaves. The audience comes up with a word, and the person on the inside has to make the person who left say the word without saying it themselves. I think it went great, everyone seemed to enjoy it,” said Hurley.
While U.T.B. shows are typically located in Kemper Auditorium, the small Theater Classroom space surrounded the performers with audience members in close proximity, which contributed to the show’s success, according to Nick Demetroulakos ’19, one of the Co-Heads of U.T.B..
“When you’re performing in the [Susie’s], or in [Kemper Auditorium], there’s just a ton of people. It feels a little more high-stakes. When you’re in the Theater Classroom, it’s nice because there’s always good energy but it’s a little more intimate. I think, at least for us performing, it was a little more comfortable,” said Demetroulakos.
According to Demetroulakos, while “Montage” went well, other games, including “Pumpernickel,” were hard to balance in between being too short and too long. One such game was “Party Quirks,” where one person leaves the room and every UTB member is given a “quirk,” or character, by the audience. Then that person re-enters the room and they host a “party” where they try to guess what each member’s quirk is while they stay in character.
“[‘Party Quirks’ is] a really tough game, and this time it was pretty snappy, but it can drag out a little bit long. I think it’s the same for ‘Pumpernickel.’ Those guessing games can be tough to balance, making sure the person knows that the person who’s supposed to be guessing is trying to really clue in to what the other person’s trying to tell them. That’s something that we can tweak a little bit in the future and work on,” said Demetroulakos.
According to audience member and faculty chaperone Nina Scott, Instructor in English, this was her first show, but definitely not her last.
“I thought the kids were so clever, fantastic, and funny. They’re very appealing. They have a nice presence. It’s nice to watch them have fun… I’ve never been before, and I’m going to go all of [U.T.B.’s shows] until I retire,” said Scott.
U.T.B. members thought the show went very well. According to Kahane, the group made good improvement both in cohesiveness and in performance content. He is also looking forward to U.T.B.’s Andover Night Live (ANL), which will be held in Kemper later this term.
“I love everyone in our group this year. We struggled a little bit in the beginning of the year to get out of sex jokes and the easy humor, but I think we’ve come a good distance, and I’m very happy with where we are now. I’m very excited about ANL,” said Kahane.