College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Comedy troupe represents benefits of working together

Imagine being on stage. The spotlight is shining, everyone is silent and the audience waits eagerly for a move to be made. Nervous?

This is exactly what improvisationial comedy troupe Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival experiences during shows at the Maintenance Shop twice a month.

Grandma Mojo’s is a group of approximately 10 students who meet twice a week to practice and perform various forms of improvisational comedy. The group performs for an audience in the Maintenance Shop every other Wednesday night at 10 p.m., and are known on the Student Union Board’s website as the best and cheapest date on campus for the $1 admission.

The show lasts for an hour and a half, with multiple games and skits played out by small groups of members. Grandma Mojo’s take suggestions from the audience for each act, often leading to crazy storylines.

“Our crowd is also a really great crowd. It’s kind of a little community and most of them come every time we have a show,” said Cassie Detrick, senior in integrated studio arts and psychology. “They [the audience] know us a little bit and they appreciate our humor and so it’s just really nice to perform in front of people.”

A typical practice for Grandma Mojo’s is not too different from their M-Shop performances.

Skits and games are played by a few people while the rest of the group plays the role of the crowd. After each scene, the members who watched give feedback on how the act could be improved.

Although no improv scene can be truly rehearsed, the group focuses on techniques, such as pacing and character balancing to prepare for Wednesday night performances.

“There’s definitely a mutual respect throughout the group,” said Sam Ennis, junior in computer engineering. “Especially being a fresh face there, it was awesome how openly they welcomed … me and instantly we all clicked and were friends.”

Ennis is one of the newest members of Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival. However, Detrick, a member of Grandma Mojo’s for two years, agrees the people are what make being a part of Grandma Mojo’s a great experience.

“The people in it are really great … we all grow close pretty fast because we have to have this trust when you’re going up there and improvising with people. So I think that trust creates pretty good chemistry,” Detrick said.

“Just the listening that’s involved with it, too … you always know that they’re going to take care of you and you will take care of them too. You won’t let them mess up and look like an idiot.”

Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival not only brings its members closer together, but teaches and develops personal skills that are useful even in the real world. Students of various majors have a unique opportunity to express themselves and improve upon their communication techniques.

“What it does, working on these things, being in this group, it just brings out a lot of good attributes that I find very helpful … it doesn’t mater what somebody gives, you take it, you accept it and you try and build on it,” said Adam Mellerup, senior in philosophy.

“Working together to collaborate, trying to make something out of nothing … that stems into so many different things, just people you meet on the street, being more supportive of them, understanding teamwork on a whole new level. It’s just very eye-opening and rewarding.”

Students can try out for the group at the beginning of every semester.

This story was originally written by Emily Benda of the Iowa State Daily.