Monkey see, monkey do

By Elana Zeltser

The Scene Monkeys brought laughs through their performances of characters ranging from a secret vegetarian to a two-toed rhino to Rosa Parks during their final improvisational comedy shows on Friday, May 20.

Drawing their inspiration and ideas from audience suggestions, the cast of 14 acted out a scene about fears of skydiving, put on a musical about coping with college roommates and danced a ballet about a flounder in need of a friend. One Monkey was convicted of dancing too hard in a Wal-mart changing room with a toothbrush, while three others were members of a penguin mafia. They also performed short sketches in the styles of Shakespeare, Vaudeville and Dr. Seuss.

The entire show was accompanied by Nick Healy ’13, who improvised piano melodies to fit each scene.

“I look at what the actors are doing, and I start to think what emotion they’re conveying and try to transfer that emotion to music. Sometimes though, it’s fun to go completely against what they’re doing so that they can reveal something totally different and make it more entertaining for the audience,” Healy said.

While the Scene Monkeys usually rehearse every Friday, they began practicing two or three times a week in preparation for the show.

“I think the shows went great. We don’t really get a lot of rehearsal time, so it is based on our own commitment to try hard and everyone really brought their game and surprised me,” Ben Platt ’11, who has been in the troupe for three years, said.

The Scene Monkeys also performed during the Playwrights Festival in April and at the Hollywood Improv on Mother’s Day, but according to Scene Monkey Lucas Foster ’13, they are “most comfortable on Rugby stage. It was nice having a lot of the student body there,” Scene Monkey Lucas Foster ’12 said.

The audience was encouraged to stay for both the 5 and the 7 p.m. shows, and the Scene Monkeys rounded out their last one of the night with a charity song benefitting people inflicted with the pain of getting gum stuck on the bottom of their shoes.

“I really enjoy the moments when you know that a scene is working, and your friends and fellow improvisers are 100 percent with you,” Foster said.