By Austin Fuller
“An Evening of Improv” opened to a sellout crowd at the Museum of Art last Saturday night, and according to the show’s director, Kevin Kearney, about 40 people were turned away at the door because the theatre was full.
“Even before we went on stage, we were sitting back here, you could hear the audience on the intercom and it was like mind blowing,” Caitlyn Foster, a Stetson alumna who performed in the show, said. “So that energy kind of fed in and I think the result was an incredibly electric show.”
Freshman Peter Nyong’o also said the energy of the crowd impacted the performance.
“I think the audience reception was positive and we were definitely feeding off that energy,” Nyong’o said,
“It all requires dedication and passion. If you’re not passionate about it, you can never transcend the energy you have inside you to the audience.”
While the improv show last year was performed for four days, this year it was performed only for one night during Family and Friends Weekend. It will be performed again on Nov. 9 for Homecoming Weekend.
“There were so many events taking place that weekend, that we felt it would be better to offer one event during a time when there were fewer activities being offered to ensure a large number of attendees for one show instead of spreading out a smaller number of audience members over a four show performance schedule,” Theatre Arts Program Director Dr. Julie Schmitt said.
The show consisted of a long-form improv act and shorter improv games.
Kearney has coached long-form improv since 2005 and directed last year’s improv show at Stetson.
“This group has come together more smoothly and fluidly than any other group I’ve seen. I feel that they’ve got a very special synergy together and I would not be surprised if they stuck together as a troupe long after the performance is over,” Kearney said.
“We’ve only had about two and a half weeks of rehearsal, so we had to compromise and collaborate very fast and I think that we didn’t even have to try,” she said. “We work together so well. I think this is the best group that I’ve ever worked with.”
“It was an improv performer’s dream,” Foster said. “Working with this group has been an absolute gift…Knowing that I do get to be one of the few people that experiences that kind of group is really, really exciting.”
Kearney said that he is even more excited about the Homecoming performance.
“My main focus is going to be to flesh out the scene work from the long-form sequence they did at the beginning of the show,” Kearney said. “You saw there was a lot of opportunities for them to call back characters in the long-form sequence during the second half of the show and I’d like to take that to the next level if possible so that we get a whole hour of connected characters and themes.”