Friday nights with Birdstrike

BIRDSTRIKE / COURTESY
BIRDSTRIKE / COURTESY

Improv group, Birdstrike Theatre, delivers laughs and entertainment on Friday nights

If you are wondering what test anxiety, “drunk Joe Biden” and penile measurements have in common, you may find the answer at one of Birdstrike Theatre’s Friday night shows.

Birdstrike Theatre held its first show of winter quarter on Friday, Jan. 8 from 8 to 9:30 p.m. The improvisational comedy troupe has been a cornerstone of the campus entertainment community for over 10 years and still packs the house on performance nights.

The group is made up of 12 members of varying academic and personal backgrounds who perform long-form improvisational comedy. Improvisational comedy, also known more simply as improv, is a type of comedy that does not use any scripts or preconceived ideas, and instead relies on spontaneity, which allows the performance to unfold in real time.

Sarah Lloyd, a fourth-year chemistry major and senior member of Birdstrike, said that she prefers the long-form comedy method because it allows the troupe to commit to their characters and to immerse themselves into their performances.

“We do long-form improv, which is based on situational comedy and character-created worlds. So we do more long, drawn-out things. Our formats are not games; they take about half an hour,” Lloyd said. “We establish a make-believe world. We play make-believe characters. And we wait to see what sort of story unfolds.”

Friday’s show demonstrated the Birdstrikers’ ability to commit to their characters using body language, comedic voices and recurring gags that lasted throughout the duration of their performance.

Birdstrike also employed different methods of improv, incorporating a song into their performance. Scott Gidding, a Davis resident and Sacramento City College student, said that the song was his favorite moment of the evening.

“Probably my favorite part was when they had to improvise in song, because while it does give you a rhythm and it does really help with the thought process, it [also] forces you to think without any hesitation time,” Gidding said.

Birdstrike often works with themes that are relatable to college students in their material. Friday’s show included a spontaneous dance move called “Test Anxiety,” and the group often uses other college tropes, like roommates and parties.

Dillon Hanna, a fourth-year international relations major and Birdstrike member, said that one of his favorite things about Birdstrike is the acceptance and camaraderie he feels as a member.

“One of the things I love about the team is that I can come and be myself and just be silly,” Hanna said. “I don’t have to worry about judgements, I can just come and I know that my team is there to support me no matter what. That’s a great feeling.”

The group’s closeness translates positively into their comedy, and their willingness to push the envelope and invoke ideas that may be taboo brings out the laughs from the audience.

Michael Broussalian, a second-year undeclared student and Birdstriker, said he believes attending a Birdstrike performance can be a moment of relief for both the performers and audience members.

“Laughing is just a way to escape everything for at least a couple of hours,” Broussalian said. “Just come hang out and have fun watching people do fun things. We enjoy it and everyone else enjoys it it feels like a mutual relationship.”

The relationship between Birdstrike Theatre and their audience is one to be appreciated. Attending a show is a welcome alternative for students looking for something different to do on a Friday night. If you are in need of a lighthearted laugh or a gleeful guffaw, Birdstrike Theatre is your new best friend.

You can catch Birdstrike performing every other Friday night at 8 p.m. in Kleiber Hall. The cost of the events are normally a $1 suggested donation, but if the troupe is partnering with another group for a performance, it may be $5.

Be on the lookout for upcoming performances and stay up to date with the group via their Facebook page.