A laptop was at the entrance, greeting the long line into the auditorium with a check-in. Students meandered into a packed Olin Auditorium, finding their friends and debating on where to sit, or stand, if they arrived later. The side door opened, and Varsity Nordic, Whitman’s improv group, enthusiastically rushed into the room and onto the stage. With a few brief words, the show began.
It was a night of quirky variety. V-Nord presented delightful vignettes, each prompted with a word from the audience (“circus” and “banana,” to name a couple), that the group then ran with, improvising at an almost cinematic level.
In one instance, the audience was shown a scene of God plotting to rain an apocalyptic asteroid onto Earth, before being pulled down to a couple becoming engaged, before flying back up to the heavens as God and the angels debated the humans’ untimely demise.
V-Nord’s troupe members had great chemistry, able to play off each other well without much verbal communication.
Although the transition from a Brandy Melville, lemon-eating circus act, to a deadbeat Snow White tormenting the dwarves and Prince Charming is a seemingly jarring leap, V-Nord was able to make it surprisingly fluid. Plot threads were not dropped. Throughout the acts, V-Nord brought back recurring characters from the previous vignettes, lending a sense of deliberate cohesiveness to an improvised show.
Olin Auditorium not only housed a large turnout and a zany troupe with strong chemistry, but laughs as well. The audience warmly received the jokes and monologues. A long line gathered outside, eager to enjoy the show. Audience members had to rotate out every 30 minutes to give those who didn’t have seats a chance to sit down, and to allow those who were waiting outside a seat or a place to stand.
The gathering was unlike anything that could be imagined while in isolation, when jovial crowds and gatherings seemed like a luxury of a bygone, pre-2020 era. Yet for a brief moment in time, the audience could lose themselves in delightful monologues detailing bananas as gifts from God and vending machines as unlikely prisons.