A perfect storm: Running with Scissors Improv show receives thunderous applause


Carly Anderson

Throwing himself to the ground, senior Hayden Riehl and freshman Ross Harter improvise a scene together. Harter and Riehl were on team “Fashion Disaster” as part of the show’s “Perfect Storm” theme.

Carly Anderson, Copy Editor

No sex, no drugs, no rock ‘n’ roll (and definitely no smooth jazz)–these are the only restrictions you’ll find at your average Running with Scissors Improv show. Following the first “Perfect Storm” of a show Oct. 26, I can guarantee you that none of these things are necessary: you’ll find yourself hoarse from laughter regardless.

Walking into the theatre, I immediately recognized the classic “It’s Raining Men” playing from the control booth, going hand in hand with the theme of the night, “The Perfect Storm.” With the 19-person group split into five teams, the team names, which generated plenty of responses from the audience, consisted of “Sharknado,” “Hurricane Tortilla,” “Fashion Disaster,” “Climate Change is Real” and “Wonder Thunder” to perfectly complement the stormy theme. If there’s anything you can count on at improv show, it’s a consistently exciting theme, pre and post-show music to match, team names and catchphrases to keep it going throughout the night.

Carly Anderson
Turning to face freshman Anthony Marx, senior Sean Gillespie freezes in a game called “Blind Freeze,” while their team members are faced away from the scene.

One thing that separates an improv show from any other school event is the audience involvement. When you’re listening to music or watching a movie or even seeing a play, it’s easy to zone out for a little while and lose track of time, especially in a dimly lit theatre with surprisingly plush seats. However, there’s never an opportunity for you to fall behind at an improv show. Each scene, which is created in the moment by audience suggestions, is then jump-started by the catchphrase of the night, which usually has something to do with the theme. In this case, every time one of the captains called out, “There’s a storm” the audience would shout back “a-brewin’” and–given that the audience was loud enough–the scene would begin.

Another aspect that keeps regular audience members on their toes is the dynamic collection of games to be played at each show. With 11 games divided into two categories and a 10-minute intermission between them (per show), it’s understandable how a fixed order and a set-in-stone schedule could make the team’s jobs a whole lot easier. Thankfully, they’ve done an excellent job in refraining from doing this, and I’m pleasantly surprised every time I notice a new game or an old favorite from past semesters appear on the program. The downside to this though is that over the years I have developed a few favorites and am slightly disappointed when I figure out I’ll have to wait a few more weeks to try my luck again.

Carly Anderson
Acting out a scene as Elmo, senior Carson Lolley competes against juniors Dennis McMorrow and Sophie Marx in a game called “Good, Bad, Worse” with sophomore Tyler Kinzy as the judge.

But alongside an active audience and a plethora of exciting games, the Improv-ers create a warm and welcoming environment for returning and incoming audience members at each show, by inviting them to join the team at open practices throughout the semester. On that note, it’s easy to tell how much fun the team is having during the shows, and not just because the audience is laughing. Despite being on a fairly large stage, you can tell when inside jokes are being shared based on the reactions of other team members, and it makes the joke all the more funny to the audience.

With tickets at only $5 a piece, I strongly encourage you to keep your eyes peeled for the next event showcasing the talent, originality and light-hearted humor of our very own Running with Scissors improv team.

The Parkway West Pathfinder gives the Running With Scissors Improv Show a 9/10.