Bobbing for improv

Thursday night, during College reading period, the Bartlett Arts Rehearsal Space was packed with students—laughing, not studying. They had come to watch campus improv group Occam's Razor.

In the hour-long show, Occam's played eight short "games" in which performers improvised skits on outlandish premises. One game, "Swinging Pendulum of Death," required three performers to switch between three different skits every time a group member offstage clapped. With each switch, someone onstage also had to die.

Next came "Helping Hands," in which one performer stood behind another, making hand gestures and speaking for the performer in front. "What's your name?" one character asked the other. "Veeeeelllmaaa!" the other character roared, frantically stuffing her face with imaginary chicken. "Why aren't you eating the bones?" Velma shouted, her face distorted. "Velma eats the bones!"

Toward the end of the show, the performers carried out a black bucket full of water and placed it on top of two wooden blocks for the game "Oxygen Deprivation." Some students seated in the front row tucked their coats around their legs. One performer stuck her head in the bucket. When she could no longer hold her breath, she began to bang on the boxes until another performer tapped her on the shoulder to switch places. What resulted was a disjointed but laugh-inducing skit. Two characters discussed microwaving Nilla wafers and marshmallows, interrupted about every 30 seconds by another character's entry, head soaking wet.

Jenny Fisher, '07

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Photos (left to right): Zoë Thompson, '10, Natasha Sansone, '10, and Natalie Doss, '10, play "Swinging Pendulum of Death"; Matt Howard, '08, uses physical comedy; Daniel Flores, '10 and Kellen Alexander, '07, play "Oscar-Winning Moments."

March 9, 2007