Vanderprov, Hope College’s improvisational comedy club, took to the stage in Dewitt Theater for the first show of the semester this past Saturday.
As always, it was a lighthearted evening sprinkled with audience participation. The group’s returning members also added a new dynamic to the show.
“We’ve all missed them a lot because we really gelled with them last year, at least the people who were on the team last year,” said Ben Douma (‘20), the team’s public relations manager. Shannon Rogers (‘18) and Anna Jones (‘20) both returned from semesters abroad, and were as confident and creative on stage as ever. They have had limited time to practice improvising with the new team members from last semester, but their strengths still added to the show.
“Anna makes a lot of fun wacky character choices and Shannon brings a lot of energy but also some focus,” Douma said.
As a whole, Vanderprov performed many scenes full of snappy, imaginative responses within the improvisation games they played.
One of the highlights of a Vanderprov show is the way the audience is able to interact with the improv actors on the stage. They take audience suggestions at the door as well as ask the audience for prompts prior to various games.
Oftentimes audience members will shout out suggestions that are just as comical as the scenes that follow. During this show in particular, it led to making a pop culture reference about Tide Pods and involving the Bultman Student Center in one of the games.
Each show is different and exciting because of this and the audience feels really involved in every show.
The audience plays a big role in the show, but the team has to work together in order for the show to be truly successful.
The team played a game called “The Dating Game,” in which one member had to guess the identity or defining characteristic of their three potential “dates.” Griffin Baer (‘18), who was in the hot seat, struggled to figure out that Anna Jones had bananas for ears as her defining characteristic.
To resolve the issue, Matt Schuiling (‘19) came up with a creative solution: to give Baer a hint by calling him on his banana phone.
While each person on the team has certain areas that they are best in when it comes to comedic improvisation, working together made the team even stronger.
The team hopes to improve on their group dynamics, pacing and long-form improvisation throughout the semester as well.
They look forward to being more creative with their comedy, especially through the flexibility that long-form improv has compared to short games. According to Douma, the long-form comedy they did at the show went very well and the team hopes to continue improving in it.
Vanderprov has started off this semester with an impressive show and is sure to have even better shows throughout the semester. Keep an eye out for future shows and advertisements for improv workshops hosted by Vanderprov around campus.