This past Saturday, Oct. 22, the Underground Theatrical Institution (UTI – and yes, that is intentional) filled the Scripps Balch Auditorium with laughter during their inaugural improvisational comedy show.
UTI began last year as a group of people playing improv games around campus until, as member Sam Rubin PO ’19 shared, “Camp Sec would kick us out of places, so we moved to Blaisdell Lounge.”
This year, Ros Faulkner PO ‘19, Emma Silverman PO ‘19, and Eric Gofen PO ’19 made the group into an official improv troupe. They held auditions, and now UTI currently has 15 members from across the 5Cs and, according to Rubin, “a lot of different personalities and comedy styles that really complement each other.”
The show featured short-form improv games with different amounts of audience participation, as well as two long-form acts.
“At our first show we got a much higher audience turnout than we expected as a first show for a new group, which was really exciting,” Rubin said. “I had so much fun and learned that if you just let go of all inhibitions and worries about not being funny, you can actually be funny!”
The audience enjoyed watching the show as much as UTI enjoyed performing it, audience member Jenny Thompson PO ’19 finding it “so cool to watch all these people I’ve seen messing around with improv games for nearly a year do real, actual improv.” Thompson was impressed how UTI seemed to elevate “this fun pastime to a skill … they’re really making moves and getting so much better.”
Audience member Eli Cohen PO ’19 shared similar sentiments: “[The group] is obviously so tight-knit and that enthusiasm for each other and for what they were doing really made the show.”
When asked what her favorite part of the show was, Thompson found the best line coming “during the ‘freeze’ game where Christine froze a scene when one person was holding another person’s leg and took the person’s spot whose leg was in the air. She just looked out and said ‘Mom, will you put my tampon in?’ and the whole audience erupted in laughter,” Thompson said.
“My favorite part was when Sam [Rubin] acted like the tampon. I thought it was indicative of how deconstructed and personable the whole thing was,” Cohen said.
It’s safe to say that the first UTI show was a huge success. Look out for more of their hilarious improv shows in the future!