Improvers spark interest

Brian Horn and Brian Horn

The Plastic Shatners will bring their unique brand of humor to the Founders Rhyme Cellar Monday for a free show.

The group will be performing an improv show entitled “Join Our Cult,” and according to member Melissa Marks, the group promises not to cause any harm to audience members. “We promise not to poison anyone with Kool-Aid, just entertain until death,” Marks joked.

The show will consist of no memorized lines or planned skits, just an interactive improv show. A lot of the shows antics will revolve around games and suggestions by the audience, much like the television show “Who’s Line is It Anyway.”

“The show is not a play, it is improv,” Marks said. “Nothing is pre-rehearsed or pre-planned. We take suggestions from the audience for topics so our thinking is done on the spot. Everything is spontaneous.”

The Plastic Shatners were started by John Serve, who graduated last May, when he was a freshman. The group was originally a branch of the now defunct Independent Film and Theatre Corps. As more people wanted to join the troupe, auditions were held to keep the members at a manageable number.

Serve decided there were too many talented people to turn away so two teams were created. The traditional team “Yeti Dag” and the experimental team “Sham Kitty.”

While both groups will be performing on Monday, each team brings a different aspect to the show. Team “Yeti Dag” is more similar to “Who’s Line is It Anyway” with it’s one-liners and utilizes games much more than team Sham Kitty who act out longer improv skits that evolve into a storyline and hopefully into a short play.

Marks, who has performed in both improv shows and regular plays, says improv shows have a definite challenge to them. “It feels different when I am in a play because I have lines to memorize. In improv there are no lines and everything is made up, which makes it harder,” Marks said.

Marks joked besides her love for “Who’s Line Is It Anyway” star Wayne Brady, her love for spontaneity is the reason she joined the Plastic Shatners.

“I joined because I loved to perform in audience participation shows where everything is improved so I thought it would be similar, and it is to an extent.”

Much like Marks love for spontaneity, Lynn Lammers has been an avid fan of the Plastic Shatners for two years. After Serve graduated last May, she took over the co-director spot with Mary Beth White, but Lammers says she leaves the improvisation advice to White while Lammers handles the theatre aspects of the show.

“Although I don’t know anything about improv but what I’ve read and seen, I’m able to use my theatre instincts to pick out the strengths and weaknesses of the players and give them good feedback,” Lammers says.

Even though Lammers does not have the improv background some other players do, she still admires what the group can do on the spot and expects the audience will feel the same.

“Audience members can expect lots of laughs, but more than that they can expect to be put in awe,” Lammers says. “The things our improvers come up with on stage is at times amazing.

Sometimes I wonder where they pull such a wealth of creativity from.”