Improv Bookends

It’s an eventful time here at Erdmania headquarters. I just got back from a weekend in Boston where I attended the Cheap Sox 20th anniversary show. In case it’s not etched in your memory, Cheap Sox is Tufts’ improv group, which I was a member of for 4 years. Rich and I headed to Boston on Friday and took in some sights in Cambridge, and then on Saturday met up with former Sox and dear friends Heidi & David, as well as their 20-month-old son Oliver. We had brunch and paid the Gap outlet in Watertown a visit, and then we were put down for our afternoon nap. We met back up again in the afternoon and headed to the Tufts campus, met up with another former Sock and pal Newf, and then headed to our rehearsal/mixer with the current troupe and other alums.

There are six current Cheap Sox members, and there were roughly 18 alums in attendance. Most had graduated in the past 4 years; the oldest alum graduated in 1991. We all introduced ourselves and then discussed games we wanted to play, and we ate chips and apple pies supplied by Alumni Relations (specifically, Jonathan Kaplan, who was a classmate of mine). We played a round of freeze and then broke for dinner.

The show was in Goddard Chapel, which is a less imposing performance space than it may sound. We never did a show there in my time, but apparently Sox does one show a year there now. The current group started with 5 or 6 games, and then the alums took the stage. I played a game I’d never played before called Schizo, where 2 people play but both play multiple characters. Then Heidi, David, Newf, and I played Superheroes (see top photo), a game we sort of invented during our time (Whose Line is it Anyway had a similar game, but we weren’t satisfied with it, so we tweaked it to serve our needs). It went really well, and it was a lot of fun to play with them again. It was also nice to see that the current group and the other alums were all very strong, funny performers; it makes me proud to wear my bowling shirt (see photos).

One of the best moments of the whole reunion came during our rehearsal, when the current guys were going over the games they were going to be playing. They read the list and mentioned the game “Nell,” and Heidi, David, Newf, and I cheered the fact that the game still existed under that name. That was another game we had come up with during our reign; it’s a story told by 5 or so people, and each person has their own style of telling the story (anything from a style of literature to a store in the mall). We were trying to come up with a name for it and, for lack of anything better, called it Nell Carter. We quickly added that we called it that because Nell Carter is the queen of style. Anyway, it was nice to pass that bit of folklore on to the newer generations.

So all in all it was a great weekend and I’m really glad I got to go. We got back into town Sunday and I had what could technically be called my last Red Scare show at Second City. We go into rehearals Tuesday, so new things could start appearing in the show any time now. My guess is that Tuesday’s show will be the same, but I wouldn’t be suprised if some new material started creeping in shortly thereafter. In honor of the end of this run, Brian made a red velvet cake that said “Goodbye Red Scare” in red gel icing, making it kind of look like a threat to the cast. But it was delicious. I encourage people to bring in baked goods, for any reason.

Also, Rich and I are moving next week. More on that later.

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