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To Be Announced boasts great chemistry with new members

By Katie Decker-Jacoby

Section: Arts

October 7, 2016

Brandeis improvisational group, To Be Announced (TBA), welcomed Abby LeRoy ’20 and Evan Moloney ’20 into the TBA family in its first show of the year on September 29.

“Company TBA Presents: Newlywedded Newbs” launched the show with a mock wedding, uniting LeRoy and Moloney as TBA’s newest members.

TBA proceeded to amuse the crowd with a long improv exercise where the actors created different characters and scenarios that eventually became intertwined. The comedy group entertained the audience with a multitude of skits centered mainly around sex, love and drugs.

TBA made the audience laugh with an ongoing plot about a depraved camp counselor and her naïve campers. Julia Green ’18 portrayed a camp counselor who pranked her campers by giving them weed, though it was actually oregano. “No, I’ve never touched a real weed before,” exclaimed Monica Chen ’19, who played a camper. “What if I get high from sniffing it?” Conor Amrien ’19, another camper, inquired.

Amrien also played Carl, a recurring character who experienced ongoing existential crises. He continuously questioned whether Carl was physically and emotionally “there.” “I don’t think you understand that Carl is not here right now,” explained Amrien during a therapy session.

There was also a scene where LeRoy and Becca Groner ’17 ran a hair salon called “The Most Expensive Hair Salon in Colorado.” Their two clients, Chen and Green, play snobby wives who try really hard to one-up each other. When Green announced she was getting the “Pegasus” hair treatment, Chen quickly declared she was getting the “Gold Pegasus” treatment, and so on.

Ultimately, the ex-campers discovered the weed was merely oregano 30 years after the prank and Green’s forbidden sexual affair with one of her former campers evolved into a set of octuplets. “I really thought I was high,” Chen said in an elderly woman’s voice, 70 years later.

Carl’s existential crises came to an end when he realized that it was just oregano; both of the wives’ husbands, Moloney and Amrien, abandoned them to pursue a gay romance together; “The Most Expensive Hair Salon in Colorado” evolves into “The Most Heterosexual Hair Salon in Colorado”; and whenever there was weed involved, it turned out to be oregano.

This long improv exercise seemed most appealing and humorous to the audience. “The best part was the long form. There weren’t any awkward pauses and they all have great chemistry with one another. They always brought back old jokes that resonated with the audience,” said Becca Rogers ’19, who has already attended three or four TBA shows. “I think they’re always consistently funny and put on a good show,” she added.

“I enjoyed the long form. I felt as though the transition from one scene to the next was very smooth. I like how the individual stories somehow interconnected in the skits. It was a very funny show,” commented Penhleakhena Ou ’19.

The improv group concluded its show with another game where they created rhymes based on selected phrases. Each actor tapped a chair and made verses that filled in the blanks to “I once dated oregano,” “I once dated a fish” and “I once dated scissors.” The crowd reacted to the sexual innuendos in the “I once dated a fish” round, but did not quite catch on to the “I once dated scissors” verse.

TBA covered topics that were relatable to a fair number of college students. The comedy group did not hold back. Sex, love, alcohol, weed, heroin and cocaine were among the topics that elicited the most laughter from the audience.

“Newlywedded newbs” LeRoy and Moloney put on a spectacular first show. “They’re great! They both had experience with improv before joining, so they came into the group strong. I think we all vibe very well together inside and outside of improv,” said Chen.

Ultimately, the comedy group managed to fill the entire SCC multipurpose room with audience members who were ready to engage in TBA’s interactive evening show. From a mock wedding for the two newlywed members, to short improv rhyming games about fish, to long improv exercises about a corrupt camp, crazy Carl and “The Most Expensive Hair Salon in Colorado,” the sketches carried a lighthearted feel and ran exceptionally smoothly. The enthusiastic crowd and TBA’s effortless dynamic enabled the two new members to shine in their first show.

TBA looks forward to collaborating with its fellow Brandeis improv comedy group, Bad Grammer, this Saturday at 10 p.m. in Pollack Auditorium.

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