By Jessica Lewis
Ryerson’s improv comedy troupe lost at its first competition this past Saturday, placing fourth — out of four teams.
The team competed against Carleton, Queen’s and McGill at the University of Toronto’s Hart House theatre Saturday night. Although they lost, team leader Adeem Shah admitted there is always something to take away from competitions.
“I can watch what other teams are doing and say ‘I like it’, and then take it for my own group,” he said.
Carleton opened the U of T’s First Improv Festival with matching shirts and sarcasm to boot. The team really shined in games named “Dentist” and “Objects,” winning the competition in the end.
Ryerson was next, with most sketches involving audience participation. The first piece started off with two people selected from the audience acting as puppeteers for the team. Other skits included a dialogue between a Jedi and an apprentice, film critics discussing a movie about a three-legged horse on steroids, and reading every other line of a book aloud while a team member physically acts it out.
The troupe’s set was at times hard to watch due to a combination of slow reactions, quiet voices, and babbling in order to get to a point. Unfortunately, the group’s comedy didn’t amuse the crowd — which was predominantly made up of Ryerson students.
“It’s stressful, but it’s a lot of fun. We’re happy people are coming out,” said Shah.
Queen’s, placing second, jumped onto the stage next with its sketch “Voice or Choice”, in which two characters act out a scenario where they have to make a decision and the audience chooses for them.
McGill ranked third. During the grand finale, two members from each team faced-off in a “freeze” skit. Although the sketch earned many laughs, the votes were already decided, and Carleton and Queen’s universities were set to compete again the next day. “I’m kind of biased and a little egotistical, [but] I think we did really good,” said Shah after the show. “As good as any other team did.”
Ryerson’s troupe consists of leader and third-year information technology management (ITM) student Adeem Shah; third-year radio and television arts (RTA) student Bo Swidersky; fourth-year ITM student Emad Ghazipura; third-year arts and contemporary studies student Paul Crisostimo; first-year journalism student Adrian Morrow; and the newest member, second-year philosophy student Erin Hotson.
Even though Ryerson’s set was quite dry, the troupe is taking every chance to perfect its trade. The group is planning to have a show with professional improvisers from the Loose Moose Theatre in Calgary this April at Oakham House.