Junior Matthew Blackwell is ushered into the Wisner auditorium with clapping and hollering. Senior Dan Eccles walks up to Blackwell as he makes his way to center stage. Speaking in tones reminiscent of Joey Tribbinai trying to learn French in an episode of Friends, Eccles and Blackwell motioned at each other, Eccles trying to get Blackwell to guess the “Place, Occupation, and Weapon” the audience had chosen.
This is improv. This is Spoons 4 Forks.
Practice for Spoons 4 Forks is a time for the group to connect better and learn new games.
Another game rehearsed was “Another One Bites The Dust.” The game begins with several members acting out a scene based on an audience prompt. Once the scene is played out, the audience claps for the member they want to have exit the scene or “bite the dust.” That member leaves and the rest of the cast recreates the scene, acting as though the absent character were still there. The skit ends with one member left on stage, responding to silent dialogue and reacting to invisible characters.
Practice is also a chance for the group members to try out new characters.
Senior Kyle Johnston often plays “Stacy the Janitor,” his “best” character, senior Joe Brunker said. Sophomore David Spear uses a British character and, with a smirk, Brunker said, “I’m more physical comedy.”
The rules of improv help the members work as a team.
“Don’t be static, move around, never say no,” Blackwell explained. “Whenever you say no, you deny something someone says. It takes everything they tried to set up in the scene and throws it in the trash. You always want to establish a conflict to get the ball rolling,” he said.
It’s about chemistry, Brunker said. Even when disagreements happen, you have to move on and go with the flow. “Trust your own wit,” he said
“This is pretty much my family,” Blackwell said as he watched the chaos of his teammates rehearsing. “I think the team has grown closer. That’s the culture I want to foster, build a tight knit community,” he said.
“There’s a lot of tradition in Spoons 4 Forks, which at first is hard to jump into. It’s a different kind of atmosphere then a lot of people are used to, but once you’re in it you feel connected,” Eccles said, who will be passing the presidential torch onto Spear next semester.
The group has recently added three new members: sophomore Case Koerner, sophomore Daria Gielczynski, and freshman John Mathy. The three performed in their first show Oct. 23.
“In the first game, I froze,” Koerner said.
“We were all petrified,” Gielczynski added. “After the show we were all like, ‘It’s over. It’s done. We did it.’”
“I’ve never been shocked by an actual electric fence, but I’m sure [improv performing for the first time] feels something like that,” Mathy said.
“I think that majority of the fears and anxieties [of performing] are really in practice. By the time you get on stage, the audience is a positive
energy and it makes performing a lot easier knowing they’re there to laugh,” Blackwell said.
Spoons 4 Forks’ next show is Nov. 20 at 9:30 p.m. in Wisner Auditorium.
—Grace King, Executive Editor