Nuthouse provides comedy, improv to Pullman

Group prides itself on displaying new skits, entertainment



Ryan Bishop, left, and Clare Sullivan perform on stage in the Nuthouse performance Feb. 2 in Daggy Hall. Sullivan said improv is a process and comedy is the product.

CHLOE GRUNDMEIER , Evergreen reporter

Nuthouse Improv Comedy’s second show of the semester Thursday hopes to give students a cheap opportunity to laugh and relax.

“Let’s be real, as college students we’re all freaked out most of the time,” said August Zamzow, sophomore English major and cast member. “It helps to be able to laugh off that stress.”

Nuthouse is a branch of STAGE, the student theater group that allows students to find a family by being themselves, said Clare Sullivan, director and senior majoring in music.

“Other [registered student organizations] are a great way to find a family on campus, but there’s something different about a creative RSO,” Sullivan said. “It’s not ‘come be who we are’ it’s ‘come be who you are with us.’ ”

Aryn Allen, STAGE president and senior majoring in human development, said she hated being involved in Nuthouse until she was thrown into a show headfirst. She has remained involved to expand her range as an actress and because she loves watching her friends grow.

“I love seeing people who are really quiet and sit in the background. A lot do improve, and they just blossom into this beautiful, funny, perfect human,” Allen said. “You get to see them not just be funny but be who they are and it’s beautiful.”

Every Nuthouse show is different, as the cast members don’t prepare the material but rather prepare the improv process, Sullivan said. They play games on stage that showcase their abilities to work together and commit to a scene.

“Improv is this very strange, delicate practice in listening and cooperating with a partner,” Zamzow said. “In the actual real-world market, those skills are really important. Plus, it’s hilarious and laughter is awesome and good for your health.”

As the director, Sullivan teaches the improv process to the other cast members. She said her favorite part of being involved with Nuthouse is facilitating an environment where people can just laugh.

“I like making other people laugh and I like teaching people how to make people laugh,” she said. “Improv is a process and comedy is often the product. I’m not teaching people how to be funny — they’re already funny. I’m just teaching them how to smoothly work with their scene partner to have the best outcome.”

Each cast member had their own kind of humor at the first show, from dry and sarcastic humor to butt jokes. Improv allows participants to be funny in whatever way works for them, Sullivan said.

“Everyone has their own brand of funny and it just kind of happens naturally,” Sullivan said. “You don’t have to fit any mold, you just do the process and you can do that in any way you want and let your own kind of funny come out.”

Nuthouse Improv Comedy will host its second show of the year at 8 p.m. Thursday in the CUB Auditorium. Admission is $5 and open to the public. Open rehearsals are 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays in Daggy Hall’s Wadleigh Theatre.

“It’s a really good practice in listening and teamwork and teambuilding,” Zamzow said. “A lot of the games we play are about getting on the same wavelength as the people you’re in the scene with. That experience itself is something very cool and is definitely worth doing if you’ve never done it before.”