“To create improvisational theatre that expresses challenging and provocative subject matter; to represent the dramatic and comedic aspects of student life and beyond; to dare ourselves and our audiences to grow, think and act; to serve Rollins College as a conduit for discussion and discovery, experimentation, play, laughter and community:” RIP mission statement.
Friday the 4th at one o’ clock was Rollins Improv Players (RIP)’s first Cut-To… improv show in the Fred Stone Theatre. Improvisation theatre is always fun; one doesn’t always know quite what will happen, but it is sure to be hilarious. I was excited going into the show, and my expectations were not disappointed. In fact, they were exceeded when members of RIP handed out free popcorn to everyone who showed up to see the performance. Complimentary snacks are sure to perk up any college student’s mood, not to mention that admission is absolutely free.
Upbeat music was playing loudly throughout the tiny Fred Stone Theatre as the audience was let in. With everyone seated, the lights went out and then rose again to the RIP members dancing whimsically on stage. They improvised unique introductions for themselves, and then Dr. “D” David Charles introduced the structure of the “Cut-To” brand of improv show. For those of you have seen RIP’s short form show, Variations on a Theme, Cut-To… is different in the sense that is a long-form improvised show: about 45 minutes in length. Two audience members choose randomly from a hat the initials of a RIP member, thusly deciding who will hold the main role in the piece, and who will take on the main supporting role in the piece. Taylor was assigned the star, and Jonny was assigned the co-star. Next, Dr. D posed open questions to the audience to construct a vague skeleton for the show. These suggestions encompassed an R.A./student platonic relationship, bonding over video games, spending time in a craft store for fun, baking, going to a music practice room for comfort, and the theme of sexile. The story jumps forward and backwards in time, whenever the director says “Cut-to…” whichever point in time. The characters remain consistent for the duration of the show.
Taylor played the role of a student who drives an hour and a half home every weekend to his mother, played by Melanie, who always bakes Taylor welcome home cakes.
Jonny is an R.A. in Taylor’s building who plays video games (a zombie game that talks back to the player in an ominous voice) with him in the common room, and makes friendly remarks while touching his knee. Taylor is uncomfortable with the contact and constantly avoids Jonny.
Melanie is sick of having Taylor come home every weekend, and signs him up for a therapy appointment, with Player Kayla, to deal with the issues he has with connecting with people and making friends. Taylor confesses to Kayla that he thinks his R.A. is gay and he is always being thrown out of his room so his roommate Niko can have sex.
Players Ricci and Kiki stalk Taylor’s dorm so that Ricci can leave a crafted origami paper crane on his door, expressing her interest in him. When Taylor doesn’t seem to notice the crane, Kiki decided to be a good wing woman and steals the key to Taylor’s room from R.A. Jonny while telling him that she got locked out of the bathroom. Kiki and Ricci leave red paper cranes (symbolic of love and passion) hanging in Taylor’s dorm; it is revealed later that Taylor believes Jonny is leaving the cranes for him.
Taylor decides to find a new roommate in order to make friends, and chooses someone who looks like they don’t have sex all the time: loner history major Matt. Matt agrees, because all of his past roommates have moved out. Meanwhile, Kiki awkwardly approaches Matt with romantic intent, asking him how he feels about cranes.
The speed of the plot picks up. Melanie drills Kayla on what Taylor said to her, revealing her own insecurities. Jonny breaks up with his girlfriend of one year due to his sexuality; we get flashed back to their first date. It slows down again when Ricci bumps into Taylor in the common room and helps him move into a different building, and the beginning of a cute connection is almost tangible. Unfortunately for Taylor, Kiki and Matt had hit off, and when he tries to go to his new room, Matt asks Taylor to leave so that he can attend to Kiki, a second female, and a real crane. The show closed with Taylor confronting Jonny, telling him that he is not gay, to which Jonny responds, “Really?”
Overall, Cut-To… Reality was a thoroughly entertaining show; the audience didn’t go more than a minute without chuckling. The players stuck to their prompts, and the show flowed nicely. Their outlandish improvisations were a joy to watch, and I would recommend that everyone go see their shows—no two will be the same. RIP has upcoming shows on October 18th, October 25th, November 1st, and November 8th at 1pm; November 17th and 19th at 8pm; and October 31st and December 3rd at 11pm.