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December 05, 2014 - Image 6

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6 -- Friday, December 5, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

6- Friday, December 5, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

EVENT PREVIEW
An in-depth look at
ComCo's players

GEDR & MEDIA COLUMN

Improv group
presents 'Kardashian
through the Snow!'
By FRANCESCA KIELB
DailyArts Writer
I walk in to the ComCo warm
ups to find a group of students
dancing to "Shake Dat Thing"
while making
strobes out of ComCO
the lights in
Angel Audito- presents:
rium A. When Kardashian
I explain that
I am at the through
warm up for the Snow!
Friday's show
to ask a few Friday, Dec. 5
questions, 800 Ad. e
they explain $2g
that they are
busy working,
but that I can sit and observe until
they are done. I sit silently with
my pen and paper out, watching
them slumber-party style mime to
"Glamorous," pretending to write
something of hard-hitting journal-
istic value.
It didn't take long to realizethat
the improv group was improv-ing
on me. An hour before the doors
open for the show, they gather into
a circle to do somethingthat,to my
untrained eye, closely resembled
"Stomp The Yard." They clap and
stomp to a beat, going around in a
circle making rhymes. I presume
this is an exercise to prepare the
actors for the fast pace of improve
skits, or some kind of war dance.
Practicing improv is different
from other performance rehears-
als in that they cannot actually
prepare any content, only format.
For example, one of their games
involves taking an adjective sug-
gestion from a member on one side
of the audience and a noun from
a member on the other side, and
combining them to make a movie
title. The twdt inCo playtr thit
volunteer then have to act out that
movie, while a third member (the
'director') tells them to change
genres on the spot (i.e. "now' make

it ahorror movie,""now make it an
opera").On performance night,the
words andgenres forthe warmup
round will be completely different
from the actual show, but it gets
the actors accustomed to making
on the spot decisions.
"Alex and I always go to the
bathroom before the show. It's
important, " said LSA freshman
Kelsey Fox. "It's become a tradi-
tion," added LSA sophomore Alex
George.
"Basically we just try to get
our energy up, and pass emotions
between each other," Fox contin-
ued. "I think it's important when
you are going into a show to get
out of your head, so I try to remind
myself that I don't need to prepare
or bring anythingwith me."
However, there are plenty of
challenges that the actors must
face.
"You get inside your own head
a little bit," said LSA Junior Mike
Duczynski. "There are occasion-
ally still the rough parts where
you go out there and the spot is on
and you are really supposed to say
something hilarious and it could
knock the scene out of the park ...
and you just have no idea what to
say, and that's the worst. Even then
though we just sort of laugh."
"Theideathatyouneed to letgo
of everything in your head," Fox
said.
"Fallinginto patterns taking the
same characters, letting it become
too formulaic," Duczynskisaid.
Favorite characters to play?
Fox: "I often end up as an
old Jewish man. I really have to
remind myself to stop being an
old Jewish man. I imagine him as
an older gentleman - he's home-
less butvery well spoken." He then
continued to do the voice for five
minutes.
"So just like that," said LSA
sophomore Aaron Hellman.
"Ithinkthat one easyway tonot
fall into the same character again
and again orthe same shtick is that
when you get a siggestion from
the audience sometimes you have
a first impulse of what road to go
downandyousort of double check
that in your mind. If you normally

choose anger in a scene, pick a dif-
ferent emotion,"Sherman said.
"The audience is aimostexpect-
ing your first reaction so if you
come up with something different
that's usually where the funniness
comes from,"said LSA senior Dan-
iel Markowitz.
On that note, what makes a
show particularly funny? "When
we had really big and really good
crowds - the energy is symbiotic,"
said Ross senior John Dennehy.
"The best scenes are when you
both buy in completely and no one
is driving it, and you are like 'oh
shit' and you are falling over the
edge of a cliff but the ground is still
there but you are still falling," he
continued.
"Yes, the best scenes are usually
whenyouare on the edge of a cliff,"
said LSA senior Guy Madjar.
"Hanging off by your neck,"
Sherman added.
"Yes, ComCo practices in the
U.P.," said Madjar.
Have you ever had anything go
wrongin askit?
Sherman: "Someone was shot
once."
Sherman: "Yeah, on stage."
Markowitz: "That was soooo
awkward,"
Markowitz: "I do miss Carol."
Markowitz: "She was less bul-
letproof than she was funny."
Sherman:"The carpethadtoget
completelyredone."
Sherman: "Yeah, I wouldn't
perform anywhere near this part
of the stage for like a whole three
shows."
Dennehy: "It was like the M in
the diag we justwalked around it."
Markowitz: "So ... does that
answer your question?"
On average, it took me five sec-
onds too long to realize they were
kidding, but when asked what the
best part ofimprov was I got asur-
prisinglytouching answer:
"WhatIlike aboutimprovisthat
nobody owns anything, I think
that if you say something hilarious
its just asmuchbecaiseyour pant
ner set you up as it is because you
thought of something funny," said
Fox. There was apause.
"What she said."

"You better be reading this article" - Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

ALFREDA. KNOPF/Vintage Books

Making ferninism-
more inclusive

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Almost a year has passed her haters (and all the pos-
since Beyonc dropped her ers who think they can be
surprise, earth-shattering like her), featured an excerpt
album, Beyoncd. I celebrated from a Adichie's 2013 TEDx
the release by drinking a Talk, entitled "Ve should all
milkshake be feminists." 'T'hough she
'in my had already made a name for
roommate's herself in the literary world,
bed and as her three novels are all
screaming bestsellers and critically
the lyrics acclaimed, this short feature
to "Grown on the Beyoncd song made her
Woman," a household name - at least
my Mid- NATALIE within Beyonc-loving house-
western GADBOIS holds, the only kind that
interpre- really matters.
tation of And for good reason.
Beyoncd's glamour. With Adichie is the modern femi-
those 14 songs (and sexy nist everyone should know.
accompanying videos) she Not only does "We should
changed how much of the all be feminists" speak to
world viewed the music an expansive list of issues
industry, stardom and water- of gender inequality - the
melon. With the help of policing of girls' sexuality,
Nigerian author Chimamanda skewed power dynamics in
Ngozi Adichie on this album, academia and the misplaced
Bey also made-feminism go value on marriage -N-gzi is
platiu'in, deftaintliclaiming"fisiii 'nkd c' -' Sn , ringing
the oft-criticized word as her warmth and grace to impor-
own. tant topics. Her other works
"***Flawless," Yoncd's no- contain these same shades,
holds-barred and (debatedly) developed portrayals of
feminist dressing-down of diverse women's experiences.
Not brazenly feminist so
much as subtly revolutionary,
challenging norms between
countries and cultures.
In her novel "America-
Call: #734-418-4115 nah," the 2013 National Book
Email: dailydisplay@gmall.com Critics Circle award winner,
Adichie weaves the tale of
Ifemelu, a bright Nigerian
girl who moves to the United
States for college, leaving the
love of her life behind. The
book rotates between middle-
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in Trenton, New Jersey, seedy
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Ifemelu is brash and strong
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background check. Own transportation Much of the novel focuses
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- never asserting that she
EUMMERMENPLSUMENT needs a boyfriend, but hon-
estly depicting her internal
struggle as she falls in and
out of love with men who
can't understand her back-
NORTHERN MICHIGAN'S PRE- ground. In one potent pas-
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about us, www.campwaldenmi.com. land a job with natural hair,
To applyjust click on "Work at Walden." and her adoring boyfriend
Curt - rich, white, liberal
- reacts in horror and disap-
point that she feels she must
change herself. Her queasy
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primes.com I've ever read. It's also funny
and soaring, microcosmic evi-
dence of Adichie's craft.
Stories like Adichie's,
FOLLOW ON TWITTER and the diverse background
that contributes to them,
*are infinitely important,
especially given the cur-
rent state of feminism in the
@MICHICANDAILY "nited States. It's danger-
ously easy for feminists to
get stuck in one narrative;
many of the most vocal and

impactful modern voices of
feminism come from cookie
cutter backgrounds: white,
upper-class, American, het-
erosexual. Feminist organiza-
tions have an alarming habit
of limiting minority voices.
First wave feminists like .
Alice Paul only allowed Black
women to participate in the
Women's Suffrage Movement
if they worked and marched
separately from the white
women and men; Author and
activist Rita Mae Brown very
publicly quit the National
Organization of Women in
1973 to protest of the orga-
nization's efforts to distance
itself from gay and lesbian
groups.
Unfortunately, this legacy
of compartmentalizing iden-
tities to fight for a greater
good continues today. Just
yesterday, combative feminist
magazine Jezebel published
a story headlined "Let's find
Taylor Swift a black friend" -
missing the point entirely on
how to incorporate non-white
voices into the conversation
without tokenizing or simpli-
fying.
Despite controversy over
the word itself, there is a
universality to feminism that
when tapped into is immense-
ly empowering, as Adichie's
work demonstrates: there
are certain experiences that
women everywhere can relate
to, ways that women connect
across borders and demo-
graphics. But, conversely,
particularly because of social
media and "viral" feminism,
vocal American feminists can
often get caught in the privi-
leges of white, upper-class
feminism, tone deaf to other
identities - recent backlash
against Lena Dunham and
Taylor Swift proves this
trend.
Thankfully, perhaps
because of Twitter and our
increasingly global world,
or perhaps because of a con-
scious effort to be more inclu-
sive, other voices are coming
to life, adding more and more
narratives to the library of
pop culture feminism. Voices
like Adichie's, like Beyonce's,
like transgender activist and
star of "Orange is the New
Black" Laverne Cox. Hope-
fully this is part of a general
shift towards a less frac-
tured brand of feminism, a
global movement focused on
impact and education rather
than oversimplified declara-
tions. As Adichie personally
defines feminism, "A femi-
nist is a man or a woman who
says 'Yes, there is a problem
with gender as it is today.
And we must fix it. We must
do better."' We must.do bet-
ter, and feminism is only
stronger when it dissemi-
nates stories from a range of
voices. So watch Adichie's
videos. Read her books. Dis-
cover narratives distinct
from your own; it will only
serve to widen your perspec-
tive.
Natalie is blasting "Grown
Woman." To join her, e-mail
gadbnat@umich.edu.

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