Stranded in Stove’s: First Cross-Campus Improv Show

Rose Hill's Stranded in Pittsburgh hosted Lincoln Center's Stove's Cabin Crew at Halloween-themed comedy show

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Stranded in Stove’s: First Cross-Campus Improv Show

Stove's and SIP members watch Nora Thomas, FCRH '21, improvise a scene with Kevin Daley, FCRH '22.

Stove's and SIP members watch Nora Thomas, FCRH '21, improvise a scene with Kevin Daley, FCRH '22.

JACQUELINE PIERCE/THE OBSERVER

Stove's and SIP members watch Nora Thomas, FCRH '21, improvise a scene with Kevin Daley, FCRH '22.

JACQUELINE PIERCE/THE OBSERVER

JACQUELINE PIERCE/THE OBSERVER

Stove's and SIP members watch Nora Thomas, FCRH '21, improvise a scene with Kevin Daley, FCRH '22.

By JACQUELINE PIERCE, Contributing Writer

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While this long weekend found many students traveling home or trekking to the library to cram for midterms, seven Lincoln Center students spent Saturday night up at Rose Hill — but maybe not the part of Rose Hill you might expect. 

A small group of Stove’s Cabin Crew, Fordham Lincoln Center’s comedy club, combined with Rose Hill’s Stranded in Pittsburgh (SIP), an improv group, to put on a Halloween themed improv show. This event marked the first time Stove’s has ever collaborated with a Rose Hill comedy club.

The group that ventured across borough lines varied in terms of experience. There were executive board members and new members, from freshmen to seniors. Those who volunteered to participate in this collaborative show practiced as a group outside of the usual Stove’s meetings. Allie Stofer, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’23, said, “The rehearsal process was really fun. We rehearsed at night a couple times before the show, and it was really just a fun time for all of us to get to know each other and get comfortable improving together.” 

The show, which took place in the intimate black box theater of Collins Hall at Rose Hill, began with the members of both groups up on stage. SIP then encouraged the whole room to chant “Stove’s, Stove’s, Stove’s,” and it was immediately clear that this event was based on building a cross-campus community, not competition between SIP and Stove’s.

Then, the show took off. The groups began all together by playing an improv game called “Sex with Me,” in which the comedians took audience-suggested words, in this case “confetti,” “tator tots” and “Swiffer,” and had to explain how they could be used as an analogy for sex. While SIP threw out the first couple jokes, it was not long before the members of Stove’s were participating with both ridiculous and clever quips of their own. The inquiry by Andy Vega, FCLC ’20, “What is it made of?” regarding confetti and sex garnered especially big laughs.

After this game, the members of Stove’s left the stage and SIP performed an improv scene. They began by taking an audience volunteer, whom they questioned aggressively for a few minutes, with topics ranging from her least favorite city (Montreal) to where she had her first kiss (a church). The performers then excused her from the stage and claimed they were going to show the audience scenes from her nightmares.

The scene consisted of questionable French accents, Cuban missile attacks and meddling parents, all of which left the audience a little confused, but mostly just laughing out loud. SIP let the story run quite far from the original idea of the audience member’s “nightmare,” but the audience was happy to go along because the absurdity only made for more hilarity. 

After SIP ended its scene, it was time for Stove’s to take the stage once more — this time alone. They decided to start with an audience suggestion, which this time was “mushrooms.” While the performers began by hunting for mushrooms for a magic potion, the scene also included salt wizards, incompetant doctors and a very dysfunctional family. The Stove’s group did a particularly good job of weaving their story line together, so the audience understood how the scenes progressed.

The most memorable moment was when Robert Sundstrom, FCLC ’22, playing a wizard character shouted,  “In five seconds, there better be a member in my hand!” leading to a human resources meeting for the characters. However, each member of the group had a number of unforgettable lines as the scene progressed. 

After the two groups performed separately, SIP and Stove’s came together once more to act out one last scene as one unit. Again, an audience suggestion got them started, but the group quickly bounced from explicit names to substitute teachers to runaway fathers. A particularly funny bit involved medical students who received mixed messages about how to treat a dying patient, asking someone who had fallen out of a building if they “need[ed] a hot towel.”

The best moments came from this last scene in which both groups worked together. While such a large group could have led to mayhem or confusion, the audience could still clearly follow the action. Furthermore, all of the members of both groups were able to participate, with no one being talked over or left behind. All the performers were quick to include members of both groups in every bit. 

The group dynamic between the performers felt stronger despite the fact that SIP and Stove’s had never performed or even practiced together. The audience could feel an increase in energy as jokes flew from all directions. The concepts were more creative, which led to bigger laughs. The excitement of the performers was palpable and quickly spread to the audience members. 

This remarkable collaborative spirit came from both groups putting in the work. SIP opened up their stage, and Stove’s rose to the occasion. Maddy Casale, Stove’s president and FCLC ’20, said the event was “a lot of fun” largely because “Stranded in Pittsburgh was so welcoming.” 

When asked how this collaboration came to fruition, Casale explained, “I was put in touch with the head of SIP, who ended up being in one of my classes.” While oftentimes Rose Hill and Lincoln Center are pitted against each other, it was refreshing to see how the two groups actually improved by working together.

Though this was the first intercampus comedy show, those who saw this show — and those who missed it — hope that it is not the last.