April 9, 2013

Curtains open at 7 p.m. all three nights

When Aaron Crutchfield arrived at Northeastern Junior College several years ago as the new theatre professor, he brought with him a love for improvisational theatre.  He has shared this passion with students since that time and the result has been some hilarious entertainment for those who get to see it.  On this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 11-13, at 7 p.m. nightly, the theatre department at Northeastern will present a totally improv show entitled “Who Ate My Homework Anyway?”  The show will be held in Corsberg Theatre inside the E.S. French Hall on campus.

Improvisational Theater, sometimes called just improv, is a form of theater where most or all of what is performed is created at the moment it is performed, with little or no pre-planning. In its purest form, the dialogue, the action, the story and the characters are created collaboratively by the players as the improvisation unfolds. In some forms, one or more of those attributes might be decided on beforehand while the others are created in the moment.

Students performing in this spring’s production will include Dan Powell, Ashtin Hulse, Alex Mercier, Jasmine Smith Lenz, Hallie Doyle, Miriam Scharff, Elijah Adlesperger, Bryce Johnson, and a few other support cast members providing music, sound and lighting assistance.

According to Crutchfield, the show will be similar to the TV style shows you see occasionally that use improv to entertain. Whose Line Is It Anyway would be a great example. “I will be hosting and introducing many of the scenes,” Crutchfield says. “We do structures like an ABC skit, a rhyming song competition, and somewhere we answer the audience’s questions from the perspective of zany characters. All in all there is nearly an hour and a half of fun.” Structures, he says, is what improv actors call scenes.

“The training for our cast has focused primarily on the power of yes or agreement,” notes Crutchfield.  “When two or more people begin a scene, it will only really gain momentum when they accept each other’s ideas,” the director explains. The actors have to play off of one another for the scene to go anywhere. Failure to do this results in a lull and the hilarity of it does or does not work.  When the actors do play off of one another, the scenes can go any number of places in creativity and storyline, which is what makes improv so entertaining.

“ We have also been practicing making up stories and creating unusual machines with our bodies,” laughs Crutchfield. “But, you’ve got to see this to conceive it, and the only way to see it is to come to the show!”

The “Who Ate My Homework Anyway?” show is $5 admission at the door. Students, faculty and staff showing a current id will enter free.