In Review: UCSB’s Improvability

Photo Courtesy of Improvability's Instagram, @Improvability

Lucian Blue Scher

Staff Writer

The day is Friday, Feb. 24, and the small fishing town of Pickleberry has gathered in its town hall to discuss the controversy of whether or not to keep fish in its waters. Many important figures have appeared to voice their opinion, including recent pescatarian President Barack Obama, the famed author of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Dr. Suess, and a Go Fish card game enthusiast who may be thinking of the wrong fish and is positively in the wrong town.

Except, on this day, we are really in Isla Vista (I.V.), and the scene was creatively improvised by UC Santa Barbara’s own improvisation comedy group, “Improvability.” With just a collection of crowdsourced suggestions coupled with talent, practice, and genuine chemistry, Improvability brought laughter to I.V. Theater even on the rainiest of nights.

The best way to kick off the weekend is the Improvability show. When the cast asked the audience for suggestions for the scene, it made audience members feel like a part of the show. They felt included and, thus, in on the joke, which made it even funnier.

The team chemistry was miraculous; they bounce jokes and ideas off each other so naturally, it’s like they weren’t even acting. At times they’d build on a joke throughout the whole scene and, by the end, the resolution just came naturally. It was never forced, which makes for a seemingly effortless show.

Perhaps the best part of the show was the long-form scene at the end. Each week the final scene of the show is especially long and draws from the theme of the show. It’s like watching a movie unfold where each cast member becomes the character that is needed at that time in the scene. It was a genuine mystery how they knew where and when to step into the scene. Even when two of them accidentally overlapped, they were able to tie it into the scene, and nothing was awkward. 

Each member of the cast presented a unique comedic talent that allowed for a wide array of humor. Emily was able to adapt to any role that was needed in the show. In one show, she played a cat and made the audience laugh simply with meows.

Eli had this undeniable talent to take a ridiculous concept and turn it into a relatable, hilarious joke. He could present himself seriously, which, when paired with something silly, made his humor feel completely natural. 

Luka had probably the largest stage presence of them all. He code-switched effortlessly and, once he was in character, he never broke out of it. His facial expressions change with the character to make it easy to believe he really was that person.

Teegan had a contagious smile and was the best at breaking down social norms that people create for themselves in language, like speaking with an accent to change how listeners perceive the conversation. She embodied a puppy with pure energy and charisma, as did Maria, who could hold a straight face through some of the silliest action I have ever experienced and came in with the quirkiest of lines with impeccable timing. 

Raghav did an absolutely perfect Obama impression and created an experience in which you felt like you were part of the show. He was able to make a joke—that shouldn’t have been inherently funny—absolutely hysterical through expert timing and a strong understanding of context. He played piano for the musical, a show that created emotion during the scene.

This is similar to Ethan, who, despite often being quiet, was naturally a character that fit in everywhere. He was comfortable stepping back, but when he came out, the audience laughed even when he was not even trying to be funny—often with a quick one-liner.

Danny had unmatched charm and undeniable creativity that turned the dullest of scenes into comedic masterpieces. He made himself laugh, and his goofy character could be masked by his intensity and seriousness when the time is right. He played a bartender and gave advice on improvised issues that could have been from a doctor.

All in all, each member of the cast played a tremendous role in the show, and they work together like childhood best friends. So next time you are bored on a Friday evening, come out to the Improvability show at 8 p.m., and you’ll be sure to have a laugh. Follow their Instagram at @Improvability for updated show times and information.