‘Festival of Fools’ improv troupe prepares for upcoming shows

By Payton Clark, Arts Editor

OBU’s improv troupe, Festival of Fools was created in February 2015 and has been putting on shows ever since.

The Festival of Fools improv troupe prepares for their upcoming show. / Preston Morris, The Bison 

Led by Cherish Parker, Matthew Martin and Adam McCollough, the troupe prepares for shows to grow their improv skills weekly.

“Twice a week we meet and practice, usually consisting of someone leading four sessions,” Martin said.

“So for two weeks we’ll teach improv concepts, including things like game of the scene about making sure you’re accepting offers your scene partner says.”

Sophomore communications major Jessy Goode believes that the improv troupe is a family of comedians.

“Really it’s just a community of people that like being funny and making up stuff together, and that’s what we do,” Goode said.“We hang out for two hours every practice and play games, exercises we read from books, and learn how to be comedians basically.”

In preparation for a show, the improv troupe comes together and decides what games to play for the show, then they cast the show by picking up numbers.

“From those two weeks, we practice those games with suggestions given to us by our fellow improvisers that aren’t playing those games,” Martin said.“We get feedback about what happened, what worked and what didn’t in an effort to put on the best show for our audience.”

The troupe was formed after a fundraiser for the campus’ theater club.

“I was in College Players, the theater club, and we wanted to do a fundraiser so they thought of an improv show,” Martin said. “A bunch of College Players were in this improv show, and a couple of the officers told Cherish Parker to start her own troupe that they would charter.”

Martin joined the troupe because of his experience in the fundraiser improv show.

According to Martin, the Festival of Fools is planning two more shows for the semester in March and April.

“There are two different types of improv games, long from and short form,” Martin said. “Short form are the kinds of games you’d see on ‘Who’s Line Is It Anyway?’”

Unlike their usual shows, the March show will be long form.

“Long form games have less structure with more free form and one topic,” Martin said.

For those interested in joining the improv troupe, Martin suggests that they attend the shows and look for opportunities next fall.

“In the fall semester, the members will put on a recruitment show to get any freshman or other interested students an opportunity to see it,” Martin said. “Then we will have a workshop and an audition for the whole troupe to see people’s skill, their potential for improve ability.”

Since Martin and many other seniors are graduating this semester, there will be a need for more members in the fall.

“We usually invite three to five members a year, depending on the needs of the troupe,” Martin said. “There a five seniors this semester, so once we’re gone there will be a lot of spots available for next semester.

To Martin, the troupe has become a close knit family.

“Whenever you improv with someone, you’re extremely vulnerable because you don’t have the ability to hide behind a script, and you’re bearing your whole self to the people you’re improvising with,” Martin said.

The Festival of Fools serves as a remedy for tough weeks for everyone involved, and it’s something Martin always looks forward to.

“They say laughter is the best medicine, and it really is,” Martin said.

Goode’s dream is to be a comedy writer and performer, and decided to get into improv after learning how big of a role it played in her favorite actors’ careers.

“I know that that’s the way a lot of comedians went, but I didn’t know how deep improv went until I was watching Amy Poehler’s professional improv troupe,” Goode said. “It’s just super fun, because I saw how important it was in her career.”

Goode believes that improv gives her confidence as a performer and helps to connect actors.

“It gives you freedom, because there is no rules, and it sets you free from a script,” Goode said.

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