Improv troupe serves killer comedy


Courtesy Photo

Some Assembly Required will be hosting their second monthly show of the year on Friday at the Wesley Foundation at 9 p.m.

CLINTON OLSASKY, Executive Editor | [email protected]

This Friday, students will be witnesses to a grisly murder and the ensuing investigation into the motives and identity of the killer.

Some Assembly Required, an improvised comedy troupe consisting of 10 UNI students, will be hosting their second monthly show of the year – featuring a murder mystery game – on Oct. 28 at 9 p.m. at the Wesley Foundation.  Admission for the show is free, but those who contribute an optional $1 donation will receive a Some Assembly Required sticker.

“We encourage people to come out, hang out with us, have a good time and maybe open their perspective to something new or interesting that a lot of people don’t even know about,” said senior communication and interactive digital studies major Jackie Wessels, a member of the Some Assembly Required troupe.

According to Wessels, the improv show on Friday will feature five or six short form games similar to what one might see on the popular television show “Whose Line is it Anyway?” This will be followed by the long form murder mystery game.

Another Some Assembly Required member, sophomore psychology and communication major Claire Guderjahn, explained that the murder mystery game will begin with the improvisers picking roles out of a hat, which will include a murderer and a host, among other characters. Audience members will have the opportunity to provide suggestions for each character’s location.

“We then turn off the light, and the host falls to the ground and we describe the scene of the murder,” Guderjahn said. “From then, we go back to before the murder happened into different scenes, each creating a motive for killing the host. Then at the end, we have the audience guess who did it and then cut to the scene of the murder with the host and the killer.”

Junior digital media production and performance major and Some Assembly Required member Marielle Gaiser said she is particularly excited for the upcoming show.

“I specifically like this event because I’m very into horror and creepy genre-type events, as I know a lot of students are,” Gaiser said. “I think [students] should go because it’s a type of theater that is unpredictable, as murders tend to be […] It’s an audience participation event, so it’s something that you can feel involved in. You feel like you’re doing something fun, and you’re a part of the performance.”

The 10 members of Some Assembly Required are: Marielle Gaiser, Eliza Ross, Jackie Wessels, Claire Guderjahn, Micah Zeimetz, Christopher Huling, Craig Miller, Micah Criscuolo, Jake Manternach and Joe Gaiser.

These improvisers underwent a competitive audition process in order to join the troupe. Guderjahn, who became a member last year, recalled her audition experience for example. According to Guderjahn, there were three days of auditions last year and about 15 to 20 people auditioned each day. The troupe brought back just six people – three males and three females – for callbacks, from which just one male and one female were chosen.

“I was terrified. I mean, it was one of those things where the auditions and the callbacks themselves were playing games, making friends, hanging out with people – like a really cool set up anyways,” Guderjahn said. “So even if I wasn’t cast, it wasn’t like I wasted my time […] So, it felt very competitive, but at the same time, they were very inviting.”

Guderjahn said the improv troupe holds weekly practices every Sunday night in preparation for their monthly shows at the Wesley Foundation.

In addition to these monthly shows, Some Assembly Required has traveled to workshops, collaborated with troupes from Iowa City and competed in college improv tournaments, according to Wessels.

Wessels said that Some Assembly Required was founded back in 2013 by her brother Marty, who graduated from UNI last year. Wessels said her brother had been involved in an improv troupe when he went to Iowa Central Community College and decided to form his own troupe with his friend once he came to UNI.

“They just got together and wanted to hang out with people – wanted to share that love of doing improvised comedy,” Wessels said.

Gaiser also stressed the creativity involved with being a member of Some Assembly Required.

“What we’re about is not only creating an entertainment group for [UNI] students and the community of Cedar Falls, but we’re also a creative entity that works on stimulating content that is one-hundred percent original, conceptualized in the moment, all of the time,” Gaiser said.