Sitting down with the Idiots of Sheer Idiocy
After being introduced the hilarious improv of Sheer Idiocy during the Evening of Performance, I had the pleasure of going to three more amazing shows. During these, they play a variety of improv games ranging from creating rhymes using a word from the audience, to telling a brand new fairy tale from different perspectives.I sat down with Molly Kerwick, Max Carey, Dante Mancinelli, Leith Reardon, Billy Pedoto, Lucas Sheldon, Ciaran Young and Hannah LaTourette, and Connor Griffin to learn more about how they function as a club and how they manage to be so so funny.
My first question was about how a student joins the troupe. The process start with them hosting improv workshops—approximately one each semester—to teach students the basics. If a member notices that someone is doing well, they will ask them to become an apprentice. Apprentices go to more practices to learn the details of all the improv games. At this point in my conversation with them, each member explained how they initially got involved with improv. Answers varied, but all had a common thread of experience with acting or improv in high school.
They described practices as being similar to the style of the shows, but instead of doing another game immediately after finishing one, they sit down and discuss what did and didn’t go well. They said that there aren’t many laughs during practices but if something breaks the silence of a practice, they know it is special. This led each member to describe the ways they have hidden their laughter during an actual performance, such as finding reasons to start crying, covering their faces, or just finding ways to get out of scene.
One of the games involves a member that acts as a director and controls the other members. Directives have included making them start to rap at a random, or having them reverse the actions that they just performed. When asked if the director purposely tries to mess with the other actors, the answer was a solid yes; members then instantly launched into stories about times that the director made someone rap as soon as the scene started or had someone lift and set down a imaginary boulder for two minutes. There is a balance though, they explained, and the director needs to know when to interfere and when not to.
The most surprising thing that I noticed was that everyone in Sheer Idiocy seemed to be on the same page and perfectly played off each other during our conversation. They all gave each other the space to talk, but it seemed like when someone was finished, anyone could quickly continue the story or add a joke to keep the conversation moving. Their humor played off each other’s, but everyone’s style was unique. Seeing that this wasn’t just part of their performance, but a part of their day-to-day, increased my already high respect for the characters.
While Sheer Idiocy doesn’t have any conventional shows left, they are planning to do a 24-hour show. It will start on Sunday at 12 am and run until Monday in Mother’s Wine Emporium. The purpose is to allow students to get a break from studying and enjoy a laugh. While I might not be there at 3 am, I know that I will be stopping by to forget about my finals and enjoy the hilarity.