With not even one year under its belt, the FringeComedy Troupe is starting to find traction.
I walked into the Entertainment Center of the Memorial Union Building (MUB) on Oct. 30 hoping to see something spooky by the troupe, as promised in their event description, but was instead greeted by their well-crafted long-form improvisational com
edy. Rachael Moss, a senior humanities major and the president of Fringe Comedy, described this form of comedy as a merging of both sketch comedy and short-form improvisational comedy.
“Long form improvisation can range from hour- long plays that are completely made up on the spot,”Moss explained, “to [our other sketches] that are
Using this template — with the help of lights, a stage and witty actors and actresses — the absurd is brought to life. The group takes a suggestion from the audience to kick off the crazy, in the case of this performance “the moon,” and the group is sud denly off on another planet. This particular plot suggestion entailed Moss, along with other Fringe Comedy actors Benjamin Strawbridge and Zach Pincince, taking a field trip to the moon. This wasn’t just your average, run-of-the-mill moon, though. This field trip was to a pizza-like moon complete with pineapple… and herpes, naturally.
“What’s that black area over there?” asked one of the curious field trip students in a German accent, while gesturing towards the other side of the stage. “It’s second-class pineapple,” explained the teacher, played by Pincince, in an even more exuberant German accent.
Through the quick rotation of players, these far-out stories develop right before the eyes of the audience. Although the performance was off-the-cuff, so to speak, it never felt like there was a dead moment. Every time that I thought ‘Where is this going?’ I was quickly answered with an unex pected turn of events such as a dramatic change of time, characters or even plotline. In this way, the actors were able to keep the performance rolling with fresh and interesting material.
What this group thrives on is the oddball — and oftentimes awkward — quirky jokes that they bounce off one another without much hesitation. Fart ing, Mothman, chlamydia, the invention of mercury, a mother disappointed in her son’s bat juggling hobby: nothing is off limits. Talking to Moss further, I saw that she views these situations as practice for social situations away from the lights of the stage. Moss explains that “Being able to make things up on the spot, being able to work with other people to build something together is experiential and it’s something you can apply to job interviews and it’s something you can apply to first dates,” Moss explained.
Following the Oct. 30 performance, Fringe Com edy was slated to perform on Nov. 6 in the Entertain ment Center of the MUB. The performance was in conjunction with Sketched Out and Improv Anony mous, University of New Hampshire’s other student comedy troupes. Moss explained the goal of the event as being “in order to bring a well-rounded comedy showcase of what exists on UNH campus to the students and the community of UNH.”
Benjamin Strawbridge is a news editor at The New Hampshire.