CRLS Improv Show Night

Full of Cambridge Cringe and Laughter

Tommy MacArthur, Contributing Writer

On Wednesday, October 10th, CRLS’ improv club, recently redubbed “Cambridge Cringe and Laughter,” celebrated its first show of the new school year. With fast-paced humor, a witty ensemble, and the occasionally cringe-inducing jokes that are a staple of improv, the club has more than earned its name.

The format of improv, which is basically the cornerstone of comedy as we know it, almost always relies on audience participation and suggestion. Following other successful shows, the house was completely packed; finding a good seat was a bit of a challenge.

Given the recent graduation of many talented improvisers, Cambridge Cringe and Laughter veterans have revitalized the group and managed to put on an impressive show with less than three weeks of rehearsal time since school resumed.

With little structure, the course of the performance was dictated in part by the whims of the actors and audience, and in part by a number of theater-improv games, many of which would be familiar to a casual observer.

I can just laugh for an hour, and then I’m ready for school.”

For example, one actor would leave the room and everyone else would determine the details of a fictional crime (location, accomplices, etc). Then, when their castmate returned, they would perform an interrogation scene, during which the cast and audience would try to clue in the newcomer to those made-up details. The show also included absurd movie pitches, compelling family crises, and topics ranging from pet possums to Leon Trotsky.

Much of the stimulating effect of these shows comes from the fact that the overarching story, characters, and pacing are nowhere to be found, leaving nothing but pure and lawless comedy. Structure is by no means a bad thing, but it is very interesting to watch the ideas forming and coming to life in a few seconds, and then move on to completely new ideas.

Improv can also be cathartic for the performers. Emma Weller, class of 2020, explained, “It’s the perfect way to start a Tuesday. I can just laugh for an hour, and then I’m ready [for school].” Danny Klein ’20, another member of the club, agreed, and added, “It’s a great way to have fun with an amazing group of people.”

Drama teacher Monica Murray, the advisor of the club, said, “I’m really proud of them. We were only working for three weeks, but they picked up right where they left off last year. Now, I’m excited about bringing new people into the club for our next show, on December 18th.”

Cambridge Cringe and Laughter meets every Tuesday morning at 7:00 AM.


This piece also appears in our October 2018 print edition.