by ANDREW BEGLEY
If you did not see one of the Northridge Improvisational Comedy Club (NICC for short) shows this year, then you missed out. The shows are not your traditional standup comedy but instead an improvised laugh fest that brings raw, unplanned humor to the stage.
Headed by Angela Holahan, the club began in 2016. Angela is one of the co-founders, spearheading its creation after being a part of a similar group while still in high school. Joining her on stage were eight others including: Jeff Diez, Rachel Wagner, Troyana Warren, Zoe Cooper, Alex Hope, Jada Gilliam, Sadie Harris and Troy Kirkpatrick.
Collectively, the group of them come off as good friends who enjoy being in each other’s company. Their friendship can very much be attributed to shared humored as Rachel puts it, “I like being around people who are funny. Instead of having a bad day you can just go to improv because everything is funny.”
Friendship is an important element as the improv on stage is comparable to that of a group of friends just hanging out, cracking jokes and laughing at everything. They also allow for the audience to get involved by asking for certain topic suggestions. One act even incorporated the use of text messages from one of the audience member’s phone. This helped to immerse people, making even the cheesy jokes and slip ups funny for the crowd. You feel like you’re a part of the show.
You could even take it a step further and actually join them as they are holding auditions this coming September. It takes some unique comical skills, but Angela is looking for more newcomers as the group will be down two members next school year; Jeff is going to Washington, DC to study Behavioral Analysis Unit for Mental Health Corrections and Rachel is graduating this spring.
Both Jeff and Rachel were recruited by Angela, with Jeff being one of the co-founders. “We were in band camp and Angela said I was pretty funny. She asked if I wanted to start an improv group with her and I was hesitant at first but then agreed,” said Jeff. He remarked on how, while he won’t be pursuing a career in comedy, the experience has made him more comfortable in front of an audience and less embarrassed around people.
Rachel was all in the moment Angela compared the club to the popular TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway. She cited the entire cast as comical inspirations and while she isn’t looking at a career in comedy either, she thinks it is a significant part of a person’s life. “I think comedy is crucial to living a good life. I mean without laughing, who are you, you know?”
As for when you can see them live and in action, they just finished their fourth and final show of the semester, so you will have to wait. They will be performing four more shows again over the next fall and spring semester. The times and dates are still to be announced so be sure to keep up with TU Engage for information. Don’t regret missing this spontaneous concoction of hilarity.
by ANDREW BEGLEY
A Quiet Place is an original movie that hit theaters this spring. It serves as the first movie John Krasinski and his wife Emily Blunt have co-starred together in. The story was written by childhood friends Bryan Woods and Scott Beck with Krasinski helping draft the final script after he joined production. Krasinski also took on the role of director and executive producer on the film.
The movie is a horror film like no other. Throughout its duration, there are very few words spoken, thanks to the plot of the story. Blind creatures relying on their hypersensitive hearing have ravaged the human population, taking them out in large numbers. Forcing survivors to resort to a life of almost total silence to keep from attracting the deadly beasts.
Living on their farm, the Abbott family is among these survivors. Parents Lee and Evelyn have instilled a highly organized system for themselves and their children in order to continue avoiding the sightless predators. Their main form of communication: sign language.
In the role of Lee and Evelyn’s daughter Regan was deaf actress Millicent Simmonds. Because of her deafness, Simmonds presence on set went beyond just her acting. The entire cast had to learn American Sign Language and after starting their training, Simmonds advised having each family member sign in a way specific to their personalities. The father Lee uses short, concise signs as he is stern and focused on survival while Blunt’s motherly Evelyn has more elegant and expressive sings.
The film itself can stand as a major movie milestone for the deaf community. It was able to incorporate silence, subtitles, sign language, and Simmonds all while still putting out an exceptional product. Woods and Beck’s story which was inspired by their love for silent films could lead to more like it in the near future.
Krasinski and Blunt both put on spectacular performances. Krasinski was specifically strong as he nailed the traditional manly man role and created a sympathetic father who is willing to do anything for his family. With very few other cast members outside the Abbott family, it was important to have good, believable acting. They pulled it off with flying colors.
A Quiet Place proved to be both a critical and commercial success as an original film in a time filled with superhero blockbusters, remakes and plenty of sequels. It is reassuring to know that films like this can still be made and loved by average movie goers. Hopefully more like it will follow.
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