As a man in goggles and a cheetah-print scarf serenaded the audience with kitschy melodica tones, a narrator recited the pre-natal recollections of actor (and recent campus speaker) Terrence Howard.
So began the show Memories from the Womb by Terrence Howard performed by Emerson’s short-form comedy troupe, Stroopwafel, Monday night in the Little Building Cabaret.
Seconds after the peculiar intro, the rest of the members bounded from the crowd to the stage, dancing around the instrumentalist.
From the get-go, Stroopwafel made it apparent the audience was in for a night of twisted comedy.
Some of the most hilarious moments of the evening stemmed from the troupe’s cohesiveness.
Stroopwafel showed its short-form prowess through a string of games. “Tag-Outs” included two initial players who would be tagged out by other group members whenever the scene called for a new character to push the story forward.
With the audience-suggested theme of deception, a Geek Squad guy (played by sophomore performing arts major Erin Berry) told the story of a woman who didn’t know how to open Microsoft Word. By the time the game ended, the simple scenario had aggrandized: The Geek Squad guy was scheming with the woman to steal money from her husband.
“It’s about trusting your instincts and that your friends have your back,” Alexandria Moorman, performing arts major and vice president of Stroop, said of short-form improv. “It involves a lot of listening to each other, which is the core of our group.”
In “Four Corners,” each player was assigned the content of two stories and had to flip back and forth between them. The game not only required impeccable memory, but a great deal of listening skills in order to keep the story moving forward. The audience’s suggestions spurred on depictions of a mother-son running in a marathon of hermaphrodites and a grandmother attempting to teach her grandson how to knit while dodging a stroke. The scenarios were as contingent as they were canny.
The evening concluded as chaotically as it began. Crowd favorite “Hands” showcased not only the group’s teamwork, but also the lengths each member would go to get a laugh. The scene set the players on an imaginary show, “Cooking on a Shoestring,” while they attempted to create the audience-inspired dish of noodle-pudding with ingredients like jelly, butter, Wonder Bread, barbecue chips, and gummy bears. The catch was that performing arts major Alexandria Moorman served as the hands of Manny Jaquez, a sophomore visual and media arts major.
The “hands” attempted to open a bag of barbecue chips upside down and smeared butter and other condiments on Stroopwafel President Chris Hyacinthe, which instantly put the audience in stitches. Hyacinthe, who had purchased the items before the show, was designated trash collector at the end of the night.
“I tried to buy things I thought wouldn’t crumble,” the senior marketing communication major jokingly said later, as he wiped all the cookie crumbs and butter from the table into a garbage bag.
But for Hyacinthe, the fun is worth clean-up duty.
“I love doing it,” he said. “It fulfills my comedy acting need.”