Improv group hosts murder mystery to help students de-stress

The Mission IMPROVable Comedy Team hosted the "Hollywood Murder Mystery" event to help students de-stress during exams (Adam Solis/The Collegian).

Brad Pitt dead, a room full of suspects and improv that had the whole room dying. This isn’t a Tarantino film, it’s a University Student Union (USU) Production event put on by the Mission IMPROVable Comedy Team, who specialize in performing improvisation comedy for different colleges. 

The event, themed “Hollywood Murder Mystery,” was a free interactive improv experience that students could attend to help solve the fictional mystery of who murdered Brad Pitt.

Organized by students involved in USU Productions, the idea behind this event was to provide a safe area for students to come together after class and have some fun away from the stress of classes. Students had the chance to take on celebrity personas and comedically work their way through the mystery of discovering who the murder was. 

Spoiler – it was Tom Hanks. 

Performers included Zheryk Badugu and Aaron Fitzpatrick from Mission IMPROVable, who say they were blown away by the crowd that attended the event on Friday Oct. 15.They shared how the importance of events on campus, like the ones put on by the USU Productions team, help positively influence the student experience. 

“I think it’s a great way to get people out of their shell. Your brain is engaged but it’s being engaged in a different way and a lot of this murder mystery is like we’re showing you a bunch of silly things and we’re helping you kind of figure out and connect everything together,” Badugu said.

“Well the biggest thing is with the midterms and everything. We kind of wanted it to be like ‘Hey take an hour. Take a break, let your mind reset,’” Fitzpatrick said 

“The college experience is only as good as you make it, [so] we highly encourage you to come to these events,” Badugu said.

Angelica Quintero, a graduate student in higher education administration and leadership who coordinated with students for the event, says her focus for these events are to give students a reason to stay on campus.

Quintero, who joined the USU Productions team over a month ago, said it is important for students to stay academically focused, but still have places to go for a release from the stresses of class.

“I think it’s important for students to get involved because that is what helps them stay on campus… If you’re getting involved on campus, whether it’s an event like this or attending study groups, that’s how you make friends, and they keep you on campus, and to me that [is] really important,” Quintero said.

Bianca Palma, a sophomore majoring in English, was in charge of scheduling and promoting this event on campus. 

Palma said events like these help students understand that events put on by the USU are meant to give students a fun time and provide an environment where they can connect with different students. These events help students relax so they don’t get burnt out from being overwhelmed from classes, and students get the chance to do something fun and exciting in a familiar environment, she said.

“I hope that students are able to recognize USU productions as really fun, and [see] that we want to offer everything that our students want… It’s really important, that connection, which is why we plan things that we would enjoy so we know that [students] would enjoy it as well,” Palma said.

For students experiencing self doubt or hardships during the semester, Badugu said these events are a chance to let go and relax.

“I want to give you the encouragement, when you come in here for the murder mystery we gave everyone a name tag where they were a celebrity and I think for a brief moment where they  … let go of who they really were. For a moment they got to be Angelina Jolie, they got to be Beyoncé, they got to be Oprah, they got to be these people of power or people that we generally look up to,” Badugu said. 

“[Feel like] you are a celebrity, [like] you have a star inside of you, and let it shine.” 

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