Upright Citizens Brigade will improvise show at GV

GVL / Courtesy - Subject to Change

GVL / Courtesy – Subject to Change

Marissa LaPorte

A professional troupe of comedians from New York will be traveling to Grand Valley State University, even though they have absolutely nothing planned for their performance.

Presented by Subject to Change Improv Comedy and Spotlight Productions, Upright Citizens Brigade Improv Tour Company will be performing improvised comedy inspired by its audience at GVSU.

Marshall Stratton, a member of Upright Citizens Brigade Tour Company, said that the beauty of improv performances is that everything is made up on the spot.

“We are making the show up in front of your eyes,” Stratton said. “We are just as surprised as you are at what comes out of (our) mouths. To know what topics come up, you’ll just have to come to the show and find out. (The audience will be) watching a show that’s never been seen before and will never be seen again. That’s pretty incredible to me and still makes me think how improv is so special.”

Followed by a brief 10-minute opening performance from GVSU’s improv group, Subject to Change, Upright Citizens Brigade will be performing at 9 p.m. on Jan. 27 in the Kirkhof Center Grand River Room.

Kevin Brennan, a freshman at GVSU and a member of Subject to Change, said the group is thrilled to be opening for Upright Citizens Brigade.

“Our goal is to get people warmed up for (Upright Citizens Brigade) to come out and do their thing,” Brennan said. “One of our mottos is to have fun and make change. If people have a good evening because of us or if we helped make someone’s evening pleasant or if they laughed because of what we did, then we’re doing something right.”

Stratton said he enjoys traveling to colleges that have an improv scene, whether it be on or off campus.

“I love it when college groups open for us,” Stratton said. “It sets a great tone to the show because all their friends are there supporting them. I like to watch young improvisers finding their way through the show while having fun and making themselves laugh. I think (the student audience) can benefit from the show because it’s an escape from the rigors of college life and for one night (they) can just sit back and laugh at our goofs.”

Mike Kelton, another Upright Citizens Brigade member, said this show will provide a way for the audience to break away from the stresses of college living. Upright Citizens Brigade will be performing two 45-minute sets based on an interview with an audience member and text messages sent to them from the audience.

“We won’t ask for context, just the green or blue bubble to hold that special information that, out of context, will give us good source material for some insane scenes,” Kelton said.

Brennan said that the members of Subject to Change are preparing to learn from Upright Citizens Brigade as much as possible, and if the show goes well for them it will be similar to a stamp of validation as well as a great experience.

“Our improv changes as our group changes,” Brennan said. “(Subject to Change) has helped me find my funny self because it’s improv and you only have your raw self to pull from.”

Brennan said Subject to Change is a fairly young group, but its audience has continued to grow. They will be traveling to perform in Traverse City, Michigan in February. They currently have other shows in the works and plan to continue growing and improving. For more information visit www.gvsu.edu/events/upright-citizen-brigade-improv-show.