Blimprov lit up The Bucket last Thursday with a packed house full of laughter. University Student Union Productions brought in the Fresno born improvisation group as a way to help students relieve some stress.
Students and fans from the community filled The Bucket in support of the group. “USU Productions is all about ‘events for students, by students,’ and we like to do a lot of stress relief as well as some lecture series,” said Sarah Lewis the coordinator for Bag of Laughs through USU Productions.
The Blimprov group featured four cast members for the performance: Nick Haas, Marcos Hammer, Michele Munt and Anthony Taylor. The group moved through a series of games, some which encouraged “boos” if the actors weren’t quick enough and others encouraging applause from the audience.
Each game started with a cast member asking the audience for a topic.
“Give me a three syllable word,” Haas, the host of Blimprov said.
“Unicorn!” someone from the audience shouted.
“Perfect! Unicorn it is!” Haas said.
Each game would proceed after the topic was chosen.
One game the performers were only allowed to speak in questions. In another, they were challenged to begin each sentence with the next letter of the alphabet from A to Z.
In another game, one of the team members would shout “Change it!” and the opposing team would have to replace whatever a member had said previously with something completely different.
“I liked their distinct characteristics for each of them,” said audience member Aaron McGee, a theatre arts major. “They bring something else to the show.”
“You can definitely see how much practice they put in because thinking on your feet is incredibly hard,” said Aubrianne Scott, a theatre arts major that attended the show. “Anthony (Taylor) was my favorite throughout. He had really subtle little comments that you had to pay attention to, but it made the scene a scene.”
Taylor is a new member in the group, having joined Blimprov this summer. He is just one of many that have joined the group in the past five years.
“We’ve probably had 15 to 20 members since the start,” Haas said. “We like to say we’re a training school for performers.”
It all started when Haas, Hammer and Magnus Chan (who was not at the performance) met in a beginning acting class at Fresno City College. They had all taken improvisation classes in high school.
“It was an art that we all felt we liked and we wanted to continue to do,” Haas said.
From there, they started practicing regularly until they booked their first performance at Sunnyside High School on Feb. 2, 2007.
“Watching our first performance now, we think, ‘Wow, we were really bad,’” Haas said.
However, after selling out multiple shows in March, Blimprov now books about three shows per month performing at many different outlets and for many different ages.
“We’ve performed for a group of 5 year olds and for retirement parties, so we base the material that we use on the crowd and try to make it relatable using real life situations like relationship problems,” Haas said.
Blimprov practices for three to four hours every two weeks, and the members give each other feedback in order to continue growing as a group.
Blimprov’s next performance is on Nov. 29 at Fulton 55 at 7 p.m. Tickets typically cost $7 to $10. A list of the group’s upcoming performances can be found on Facebook at Facebook.com/Blimprov.