Student Valley Productions (SVP) is the UMass home for comedy performance. Responsible for short-form improv group Mission: IMPROVable, long-form improv group IWA: Improv With Attitude, and sketch comedy group Sketch-22, SVP presents a new comedy show at least once a week, usually twice.
On Saturday night, M:I bid farewell to Scott Braidman, Calla Cofield, Nate Crawford, James Crosby, and Tyler Wolff-Ormes. Scott and Nate had been in the troupe for their full four years of college, James and Tyler for two and a half years, and Calla for two. It was an amazing, energetic, and emotional show.
On Friday, IWA said goodbye to Laura Clark, Nate Crawford (he was in both troupes), Josh Michel, Conor Shanahan, and myself. Each departing member is allowed "Two Minutes" to say goodbye however they wish. The time period is more symbolic than an actual strict 120 seconds. Whatever time is needed for the proper goodbye is granted, no questions asked.
Not taking anything away from the four other amazing improvisers that departed, but the night was especially emotional for me. Out of the five people that were a part of the founding of IWA, I was the only one that remained, and although it may seem self-centered, I really saw the troupe as a project of mine to resurrect quality long-form improv at UMass. I can confidently say the project was a success, and I have the utmost confidence in those carrying on the tradition throughout the next several years. Benny Oyama, the troupe's new director, has been a good friend of mine for over seven years. Lisa Repetti, the new producer, and Brennan Clark, the new "Member-at-Large," were accepted into IWA during its first round of auditions, and I truly saw them as "the future," even back then. The fact that it's truly happening that way couldn't make me more proud of these wonderful, fantastic individuals.
The show went like this:
- Slide Show of Josh & Laura
- Josh & Laura Duo Improv Set
- "Two Minutes" with Laura Clark -- she chose to administer a hot dog eating contest while singing Ave Maria
- Brief Intermission #1
- Slide Show of Conor Shanahan
- Conor and Team Improv Set -- performed with IWA members who were not departing
- "Two Minutes" with Conor Shanahan -- three toasts, each with a full glass of Guinness, each to a different letter in I.W.A. representing something different and special
- Brief Intermission #2
- Slide Show of Nate & Zach
- "Two Minutes" with Nate Crawford -- Human Pyramid featuring the members of IWA
- Nate & Zach Improv Set
- "Two Minutes" with Zach Linder
- "Two Minutes" with Josh Michel -- a speech that made myself and several others extraordinarily uncomfortable
Full Flickr photoset of the weekend's shows is here. Photoset of my performance with Nate and my "Two Minutes" is here.
Goodbye, Improv With Attitude. Goodbye, Student Valley Productions. Thank you for the best three years of my life.