Rock, Paper, Stifler’s Mom
All-You-Can-Eat Laughs at Roadkill Buffet ShowBy Dan Scolnic
The “Rock, Paper, Anything” Show
Fri., Nov. 14, 8 p.m.
Roadkill Buffet is “not just a name, but an experience.” At their show Friday night, the audience did not just watch the show but participated in it as well. Throughout the show, there were nine different formats of improv games or skits and even within each format there were many changes of situations and characters. With all these parts of the show and parts within parts, the whole was much greater than the sum of them. The show was not just a barrage of funny short scenes, but also an awe-inspiring display of ideas in the making.
The name of the show was “Rock, Paper, Anything” which was the foundation game of the performance and provided commercial-type breaks between the different scenes. Some of the “anythings” were brilliant and others were at least fairly comical; all of them featured dedicated actors pushing to get the extra laughs.
The first game played was “Freeze, Anti-freeze, Show Me That,” which not only allowed the audience to get a feel for this type of comedy, but also allowed the actors to get a feel for the audience. One must remember that with improvisational comedy, the performance is two-way, and the actors are fed, excuse the pun, by the audience just as the audience is fed by the actors.
The hard part of the show was that within all the games like “Freeze” or “Jumping Emotions,” the ideas and jokes were constantly coming and going and it was hard to know when to let the idea develop or when to bring in a new one. There were times, especially in the beginning, when there were some situations with great comedic potential that were never given the time to bloom.
What made up for it was just the great multitude of jokes; if some idea didn’t work out then another idea came out before the audience even had the chance not to enjoy it. As the show progressed, the actors were able to get a better feel for what went well and, like expert musicians, adjusted their instruments right in the middle of everything.
In the game “Restaurant,” the audience knew the identities of all the actors but the actors did not know their own identity. In this case, the audience knew everything and was allowed to watch the actors discover themselves. In all the games, to one degree or another, it was as much or more a display of discovery than just of comedy.
In school, one is constantly preparing for the next test. Students try to make it so that when the test comes, as little as possible is left to the moment or spontaneity. And it is our fear of spontaneity that makes Roadkill Buffet so astonishing; they embrace spontaneity. They embrace the moment.