By Manal Museitef |Staff Writer|
The halls of the CSUSB Performing Arts Building echoed with laughter this past weekend.
Redlands-based improv group Sha’Dynasty paid a visit to the campus on April 20 and 21 to dish out some comedy goodness to a receptive crowd.
Accustomed to their regular performances at the Redlands Fox Theater, the group was admittedly nervous at first, but the refreshing Coyote crowd killed their nerves quickly.
“It was nerve racking [performing] in the presence of a college but it was much more intimate,” said Sha’Dynasty group member John “The Tank” Johnson. “The laughter was louder and you can see the reactions of the audience much closer.”
The group is comprised of Johnson, Christopher Coon, James McMurran, Kiersten Olsen, Thaddeus Rogers, Audi Young and Little Chris.
Rogers and Little Chris, both of whom have been with the troupe for a little over a month, made their improv debut at CSUSB.
“I thought being on stage was the most amazing feeling ever,” said Little Chris, “Hearing the laughter and support from the crowd, when they interact, makes it much easier.”
The energetic cast participated in games where the audience would shout out an occupation or a location to help create a scene.
A crowd favorite was “3-Minute Scene,” where two volunteers from the cast were given an object to base their scene upon. They first act the scene out in three minutes, one minute, 30 seconds and lastly in just 15 seconds. The development of that scene unraveled rather amusingly.
Another hit was “New Choice,” in which the actor’s previous line must be switched to its opposite, epitomizing the idea of improvisation.
Audience member Nadia Hamdan claims she could hardly contain her laughter during the “new choice” scene.
“It was really funny. It tested the actors to see how they reacted when they literally had no control over the situation,” said Hamdan.
After the first few games, the night’s funny meter began to twist and turn like a roller coaster. While games like “Press Conference” and “Tidal Wave” were not as hilarious as others, the overall feel of the show was lively and positive.
“A Day in the Life” required a description of an audience member’s full day. There definitely was room for imagination and cleverness and the cast kept it entertaining.
The best aspect of the Sha’Dynasty improv group is their appreciation for the participation from the audiences. One of the last performances of the night involved the audience more than ever when lines they wrote were said sporadically throughout a specific scene.
Some read, “I came at the best time,” “You mad bro?” and even “How are your bowel movements?” The game was a great way combine the audience’s input with the improvisation skills of the performers.
Overall, the show was a success. Most of the group’s games left the audience members in stitches.
Sha’Dynasty will be performing at the Redlands Fox Theatre every Wednesday starting in June. The group is easily reachable at Facebook.com/ShaDynasty-Improv.