NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Stephen F. Austin State University’s improv group, Improv Strikes Back, will be hosting their first show of the year Friday night; a Valentine’s Day-themed event titled ‘Love Sucks.’
Whether you’re bitter you’re single, whether you’re happy you’re single, or if you’ve already got someone to share the evening with, the improv group said there will be plenty of content for everyone to enjoy.
Improv Strikes Back’s first show of the semester will include a series of short and long-form games and Valentine Day-themed scenes. As is the nature of improvisational comedy, most of the subject content will be provided by the audience. Mickey May, a member of Improv Strikes Back and senior at SFA, said audience members should come ready to be engaged.
“We’re doing a game called ‘Bachelor’, where people assume pop culture icons and the Bachelor has to guess who they are, it’s kind of like a dating game-type show,” said May. “And then we’ll do some long form stuff, like Apartments, where everyone lives in an apartment complex and each floor has a different theme until they all converge in a story.”
Friday night’s show is a far cry from the troupe’s early day performances; there were 10 to 15 students in the troupe and they would perform two half-hour shows. The group’s faculty advisor said in some cases, there were more people on stage than there were out in the audience.
“As with anything, it takes awhile to develop,” said Jackie Rosenfeld, faculty advisor of Improv Strikes Back. “Six years later, and we’ve had to move to the recital hall in the music building that sits around 150 and we’re at capacity, standing room only, in most shows.”
The group has evolved over those six years, picking up similar formats as famous improv groups like The Second City in Chicago and The Upright Citizens Brigade in New York.
“Everyone has the opportunities to do that, that’s what happens in rehearsals a lot of the time, is if someone learns a new game they can bring it to the troupe and teach it to everyone,” said Rosenfeld.
“It’s inherently a vulnerable art form, in a sense,” May added. “You have to trust the other members of the troupe to carry you; it’s a very supportive art form. One of our top rules is to treat your partner like gold. So, it’s so exciting to create a brand new thing every time we do a show together. It’s something that’s never been seen before and will never be seen again.”
Improv Strikes Back has 15 members and will perform around six shows throughout the semester, May said, most of which are a variety of short-form games. However, they are known to mix it up, even performing an improv musical in 2018.
“We just try and give a variety of good, fun, comedic entertainment to the town of Nacogdoches,” May added.
Love Sucks will begin at 10:30 p.m. on the SFA campus in the recital hall at the Cole Music Building. The show is free to the public, but parents will want to leave the kids at home due to the more mature subject matter.