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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Thursday night 9:00 PM, the University of Florida’s Theatre Strike Force hosted an improv show featuring the traveling improv group, Upright Citizens Brigade.

With a TV show on Comedy Central from 1990 to 2000, the Upright Citizens Brigade, or UBC, has maintained its presence from its original formation in 1990. Many famous comedians such as Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, Matt Besser, and several others, are past members of the group. Based in New York City and Los Angeles, four members flew out to the University of Florida for TSF’s annual “Improv Blast.” The annual event brings a professional improve team for a night of comedy and fun.

The show started out with some short form improv by some of TSF’s troupe. The improv they performed consisted of several pantomime and acting games. Karina Kolb, a senior at the University and member of TSF’s sketch team, talked about the improv games, “my favorite is probably ‘Late Excuse’” she said. She described it as “a miming teamwork game.” She went on, “someone leaves the room and tries to find out why someone else is late. It’s a guessing game.”

After TSF’s introduction, UCB took the stage. They started off by taking a volunteer from the audience on stage for an interview. They asked the volunteer, a senior and residents assistant on campus, several questions about dorm life, social activities, majors and more. After the interview, the group began their long form improv. The group created scenes and characters, with their own comedic twists and interpretations, reenacting what they learned from the interview with the volunteer. The group was fast and very quick whited. “I really like how they flowed” said Eugenia Blaubach, a University sophomore who attended the show with some friends after hearing about it on Facebook. “I know it’s hard to seem calm and not hectic in that sort of thing,” said Blaubach, referring to the on-the-spot and off-the-cuff type performance that both long form and short form improv are.

For the second half of their performance, UBC had three audience members each read one text message from their phones. The performers asked for no context to the text conversation, just a single message to be read aloud. Then the group began their improv again, playing off the text messages that were read to them, improvising hilarious scenes of what could be context of the messages.

The performances by both UCB and TSF were very high energy and every ounce of the content was brilliantly funny. Theatre Strike Force puts on free improv shows and sketch comedy classes every Monday in Weimer from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Their shows are truly good fun, and a great event attend with friends.  Hunter Rothstien, a fine arts major who recently stared in the Florida Players show, Killer Joe, is a member of Theatre Strike Force. However, the vast majority of the troupe, like Kolb an English major, are not fine arts or theatre majors at all. Kolb said “it’s a hobby” writing for TSF. Kolb, who participated in drama in high school said, “I made video sketches for fun and it just kinda carried over.” So, if you enjoy theatre and a satisfying laugh, definitely take the time to watch TSF perform.

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