Theater department hosts a night of insanity

Hayley Hulin
LV Life Editor

Students from the theater department held their second Cabaret LIVE! event Wednesday in the Jane Dibbell Cabaret Theatre.

About 20 students gathered for a night of “Improv Insanity” taught by Carolyn Marie Wright, manager of education and community engagement at 20 Geffen Playhouse.

Wright taught short form improv for the night, which has a concrete beginning and end with no edits.
“I made a list of scene activities: Yes And…, created scenes and character building,” Wright said.

Throughout the night the group played seven games. They started the night with Name and Gesture, Vroom Eek and Yes And… to warm up.

Name and Gesture required participants to say their name while doing a gesture that represented themselves, then the group repeats the name and action in unison.

Vroom Eek required quick thinking because the game had five layers of actions — when the group successfully accomplished one, Wright added another layer.

In Yes And… the group acted as an advertising group pitching a product.

Wright chose each warm-up to teach speed of thought, commitment to a character or scene and focus.

“If you make a choice and don’t know what it is, work with it because the audience will never know,” Wright said.

The group continued the night with An Emotional Symphony, Emotional Elevator and Mega Replay.

In An Emotional Symphony, students had to use their voices and bodies to enact an emotion while Wright played the conductor who cued different emotions. Each group had one specific emotion to focus on, which included excitement, anger, jealousy, fear and anxiety.

“In your groups, you can have the same emotions, but have different interpretations,” senior theater major Mona Lutfi said.

Emotional Elevator was a four-person scene with everyone else in the audience. Each person had an emotion, and as a new person entered the “elevator,” other scene members joined that new emotion.

At the end of this exercise, the group discussed different energies and how they affect scenes.

“Sometimes when you have higher energy, you have the opportunity to be the punchline,” Wright said.

Improvisation is all about using the energy from other actors in the scene, so the discussion emphasized the need for positive energy.

“I like to give energy back to the audience, so a down emotion tends to suck the audience’s energy,” senior theater major Jordan Klomp said.

At the end of the night, everyone had participated and left laughing.

“I enjoyed how everyone got involved and were invested,” freshman theater major Timothy Stribbel said. “This is why we do theater.”

Klomp, Lutfi, Stribbel, and senior theater majors Alex Freitas and Sara Haddadin created Cabaret LIVE! for a theater class called Production Experience.

“It now means something more personal to us,” Lutfi said. “It started as a school assignment, but we want to leave our department something they can use in the future.”

They chose to open up Cabaret LIVE! to the campus in order to be more inclusive and encourage students without theater experience to join.

“People feel like we’re closed off from the rest of campus,” Klomp said. “This is our way of integration. Like Wesley (Tan, senior business major) said, this is our comfort zone.”

The group will host Cabaret LIVE! three more times this semester: Oct. 28, Nov. 11 and Dec. 2.

Hayley Hulin can be reached at

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