On Thursday, Feb. 11, Lawrence University’s improvisation group the Optimistic Feral Children (OFC) provided the Lawrence population that remained on campus over reading period with roughly an hour’s worth of improvised entertainment in the Mead Witter Room of the Warch Campus Center.
The show began with OFC member and junior Ridley Tankersley stumbling up onto the room’s stage after ostensibly drinking something. OFC member and senior Micayla Hutton ran across the stage after him, waving her hands and announcing the name of the group’s first comedic set, “Ridley’s Drunken Dreams.” Multiple group members jumped on and off stage, contributing to the ongoing dream by turning into different characters, and the dream quickly escalated into a nightmare when OFC member and senior Jon Hanrahan posed as Tankersley’s father and began to follow Tankersley around onstage and ask him a litany of questions.
Next, the group performed one of their usual games, “World’s Worst,” in which members of the team illustrate the worst possible form of professions that are shouted out by audience members. Notable among the suggestions were grandfathers, for which one member stepped forward and said, “I’m your dad,” and astronauts, for which another member stepped forward, stared blankly into the audience and said, “Oh sorry, I spaced out for a second.”
After that, OFC played a round of “Household Olympics.” For this portion of the show, two members of the team acted as co-hosts, one member played referee and two members portrayed themselves as specialized athletes prepared to face off in the audience-chosen household sport: doing the dishes. The co-hosts then commented on the ludicrous actions of the two dishwashers while the referee on the sidelines awarded and deducted points for ridiculous offenses.
Another activity performed by OFC was “Ladder,” a game that involved the team making connections and trying to establish some sort of continuity over a few scenes. OFC asked the audience for the impetus for their first scene and ended up going with the subgenre of music, death metal. The hilarious scenes that followed from this inspiration included a mom who, much to her teenager’s dismay, wanted to listen to death metal on Christmas morning; a death metal band who tried to incorporate flute and piccolo into their sound; and a family who struggled while burying their father in a full metal suit of armor.
The last event of the night was “Hollywood,” another connection-centered game that allowed OFC members to use an audience suggestion to create a scene and then follow up with another scene inspired something mentioned in the previous scene. Starting out with the suggestion of Frankenstein, the group used the common thread of putting unlike items together to come up with a scene depicting a wife getting angry with her husband for combining little slivers of old soap bars and then using the combined soap to wash, causing ghastly consequences for his skin. This action made another team member think of monster movies, so the group improvised a scene in which the monster from the 1954 horror flick “Creature from the Black Lagoon” came back drunk from a night spent partying and frightened his monster roommate. Someone then postulated another scene in which Dr. Frankenstein tried in vain to teach his gentle monster to be scary, which led to Dr. Frankenstein taking his monster to the terrifying soap-hoarding husband from the first scene in order to take scaring lessons, which culminated in a scene where all of the aforementioned monsters had a pool party together.
Once again, OFC proved themselves to be talented, quick-witted and inventive throughout all of their games. Hopefully, the group will be able to put on another performance before the end of Winter Term. For more information about future fun-filled events, visit OFC’s Facebook page.