Ramapo’s own improvised comedy troupe, the Fooligans, premiered their very first show of the fall 2016 semester Saturday night. The show, titled “Bring in the Clowns,” was free for all students in the Berrie Center’s Adler Theater.
“My favorite part of being a Fooligan is how much our fans continue to support us,” Tom Kiely, troupe captain, said.
“Having the hype and energy of a performance is unlike anything else and I am so happy people continue to come out and let us share our hard work with them for their enjoyment,” Kiely added.
The show was broken down into a series of short-form improv games similar to those used on the popular TV show “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” For Saturday’s shows, this included “Dating Game,” “Change It,” “Emotional Family,” “Director” and “Who’s Line?”
“I like ‘Emotional Family,’” Julie Roccanova, stage manager, said.
“I like watching them set up the scene and then manipulate the situation to work with the suggestions from the audience.”
For example, the “Dating Game” – which starred troupe members Erica Pikul, Andrew Herrera, Michelle Santucci and Kiely during the first show and Richie Bruno, Errol Bareiss, Nick D’Ambrosia and Bert Piper during the second show – revolves around a simple premise: there is one interviewer looking to date one of three possible contestants. The Fooligans, however, make this more complicated when they send the interviewer and fellow troupe member out of the room while the audience gives the troupe member contestants a special quirk. On Saturday night these audience-suggested quirks included acting like Shrek, Buddy the Elf, a hung-over person, a fish out of water and a physically unbalanced man. When the interviewer re-entered the room, it became his job to guess what these quirks were, based on the contestant’s actions.
“I am very proud of how responsive and willing the troupe has been to creating smart content,” Kiely said. “With improv, actors tend to gravitate towards an easy laugh, yelling, punch lines, vulgarity etc., and our troupe has learned to reject those themes as the primary means of expression in a scene. They have cultivated some wonderfully smart improv scenes.”
Both shows concluded with a long-form game. This game, entitled “Asssscat,” also included assistance from the audience. This audience member, called a “monologist,” is invited on stage to provide source material for the game. After the audience suggests a topic for the monologist, the volunteer is asked to tell a story – any story. That story is then used by the troupe as inspiration for a longer, original story, which is completely improvised.
“Seeing the Fooligans create scenes out of real stories that I have is both clever and hilarious. They're really talented,” Tommy Barbara, monologist for the 10 p.m. show, said.
The Fooligans perform once a month. Students interested in seeing a free show loaded with the troupe’s antics can look for advertisements in November.