Rowan’s Improv Club makes comedy out of madness

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In the dungeon-like basement of Bunce Hall lies a small black room where Ian Rubin and his crew of improvisers wooed a small crowd with their improvisational Halloween Comedy Showcase.

The Rowan University Improvisation Club, previously known as Awk Improv, has been around since 2006.

Improvisation is a form of live theater in which most of the plot, characters, and dialogue are made up on the spot – creating the opportunity for comedic and sometimes awkward moments to ensue.

Before the madness, Rubin, the mastermind behind the Rowan University Improvisation Club, gave some insight on what the club was all about.

“Improvisation is an acting style, but it can help in develop some social skills as well,” Rubin said, noting the importance of improv to him and others.  “Teamwork and public speaking are a few of them.”

When asked why teamwork was such a big part of improv he replied with, “Improv is challenging, we have to perform as a team, because if we don’t everything fails.”

His statement made complete sense once the show began.

“Remember, we have not planned anything at all tonight,” he said, as he assured the audience under a lone spotlight at the beginning of the show.

The show consisted of a collection of short-form and long-form skits, each beginning with a general premise which was then given required details, such as characters from the audience.

One of the skits played out was a game in which two performers acted out a marriage proposal and at any time the rest of the cast could yell “freeze” and replace one of the existing characters, giving most stories a complete 180.

The skit is a perfect example of what the club is all about. Everyone can have a major part if they like, but at the same time everyone has the power to ruin the entire skit, giving more emphasis on the teamwork aspect of improvisation.

Along with being the most teamwork oriented skit, it was also the best received by the audience.

One of the audience members was Nicole Cusmano, a sophomore musical theater major.

“I love going to improv events, you’re never going to get the same experience,” Cusmano said with a wide smile. “It very funny and creative.”

People who attended also noted how easy things seemed for the performers onstage.

“The cast was so casual,” sophomore computer science major Christian Newman said. “No one looked like they were having an awkward time.”

“It was entertaining,” sophomore music performance major Rachel Koutishian said after the event. “I couldn’t do what they do.”

The Rowan University Improvisation Club’s next event will be a Christmas-themed event this coming later this semester.

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