Rutgers comedy troupe to hold improvisation workshops for students
A 4 Effort is an improvisation and comedy troupe at Rutgers that not only offers students a good laugh, but has also opened shows for comedic celebrities such as Nasim Pedrad.
A 4 Effort was established at Rutgers in 2005, said Alexandra Nicolaou, a School of Arts and Sciences junior and the troupe's president. Every year since, members perform in front of an audience, taking suggestions and finding ways to make people laugh.
The troupe plans to hold workshops on improvisation for people who are interested, Nicolaou said. They will be open to the public, and the first will open in October. Nicolaou hopes that these workshops will give them more exposure and get many more people interested in joining the troupe, she said.
Although she had no faith in her improvisation skills, School of Arts and Sciences senior Kim Bollard auditioned for the troupe.
The troupe welcomed Bollard with open arms during her sophomore year.
“During that first semester I was involved in it, I never felt any judgment and felt it was a great place to grow as a comedian,” she said. “I always had a strong interest in improvisation comedy and thought it would be a good way to get involved in the comedy community at Rutgers.”
Sean Gilbert, the group's vice president, had an early start performing and did improvisation in middle and high school, he said.
“When I found out about auditions I was ready to go,” the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences sophomore said. “I like the people the most. The troupe is an awesome group of people who love to have fun and make people laugh.”
Nicolaou said the great thing about improvisational comedy is the uncertainty that comes with a comedian never knows what the show will contain.
Although there is little students can do to prepare, Nicolaou said they play various improvisation games that help the group think in unity. It forms a connection and helps the show run smoothly, he said.
The improvisation comedy troupe is important club to have on campus, Bollard said, because Rutgers has a small community of comedians on-campus who have few other opportunities to practice their skills.
Improvisation is a unique art form that helps develop many different skills, Gilbert said.
“You don’t only need to be creative but also quick thinking and fearless,” he said. “Those are important skills for everyone to learn.”