For fans of seat-of-the-pants comedy (also known as improv) here at the College, this past weekend was a good one.
The Mixed Signals, the improv group here on campus, both put on a show and bolstered their numbers, adding three new members to the group after a long and grueling audition process.
“It was a difficult pool to choose from. We had a lot of talented people come out,” Mixed Signals President Jonathan Dowler said. “Everyone who tried out was very entertaining, and we picked three people who we think are going to best exemplify what we’re looking for in new members.”
Three new members emerged from the pack of talented potentials, all of whom had to perform multiple improvised games in front of the troupe with varying partners and groups. Ultimately, they narrowed it down to freshmen interactive multimedia major Beau Aranosian, freshman physics and secondary education double major Maxwell Calsetta and sophomore computer science and interactive multimedia double major Matthew Steuerer.
“I think this is the one kind of audition process where you can actually make friends,” Aranosian said prior to the troupe’s decision to adding him as a member. “You aren’t just trying to make yourself look good, but you’re trying to make everyone else look good ... that’s what improv is.”
For Steuerer, getting in was some time in the making.
“I’ve always gone to see the shows and tried out last year. I didn’t get in, so I’m coming out for a second try,” Steuerer said.
With the new members decided, the Signals still had to put on a show Sunday night, which the group collectively called “our craziest show ever.”
Performing games such as “Pull a Line,” “Oscar-winning Moment” and “No Minor Characters,” the Mixed Signals entertained the crowd with antics that were indeed a bit more chaotic than their usual fare. One especially memorable scene in “No Minor Characters” involved several members birthing fully-grown other members of the group, which made more sense in context — but not all that much more.
Thankfully, when the crazy parts happened, the troupe knew what to do.
“When we’re doing a scene (like that), it’s all on the spot,” sophomore history and secondary education double major Rachel Friedman said. “But we all have a lot of ideas, and we want our ideas to line up. So, a lot of times, we’ll just whisper to each other what we’re going to do … It’s nice to kind of know what the other people are going to do.”
“It’s amazing how many times we’ll go to each other to say what we’re thinking of doing. Then we’ll all be on the same page, and that’s kind of encouraging,” Friedman added.
Perhaps senior computer science major Lindsey Nice summed up the overall feel of the night’s event when she called out the troupe’s president after the show.
“Dowler loves to twerk,” she said affectionately.
After a full weekend of made-up jokes and quick thinking, who can really blame him?