“I went over to her room and I had this whole bag of activities we could do: we could do makeovers, we could do facials … and then I pulled out a magazine and said, ‘Or, we could write a murder letter by cutting out letters!’ ”
No, this is not a fan-madesequeltoMean Girls. This is Fuzzy Dice, one of Princeton’s three improvisation comedy troupes, during downtime.
Executive directorPaulina Orillac ’17(responsible for the conspiracy quoted above) said that part of what distinguishes Fuzzy Dice as a group is its emphasis on the social atmosphere, which she described as “chemically unbalanced” — in the fondest way possible.
“We try to become really close-knit, we try to get to know each other outside of the rehearsal room,” Orillac said.“I think that’s something really special about Fuzzy Dice as a group, especially in Princeton.”
On the more technical side, artistic director Angad Anand ’16 added that while all three groups on campus are friendly and supportive of each other, each has its own style. “We have a more holistic, scene-based improv where we really try to createsome sort of objective,” he explained. “We really try to tell a story.”
In shows, the group makes apoint to incorporate as much audience involvement into its improv games as possible. Publicity chair Cat Sharp ’18 explained that a signature game, called, unsurprisingly, “Fuzzy Dice,” has four scenes going on at once, all inspired by the audience’s suggested keywords. Another staple is called “Paper Chase,” which invites audience members to write anything they want on pieces of paper that are collected outside the theater before the show. During the game, random papers are given to members, who must weave the contents intothe scene.
Seeing as Fuzzy Dice also performs off-campus, both for events such as the Princeton High School graduation as well as inter-school exchanges, the group makes a conscious effort to avoid Princeton-specific jokes in general. “We try to make our improv very much universal,” Anand said. “We have a lot of parents and others come to see our shows, so we don’t want to be telling jokes about grade deflation, or Forbes, or something like that.”
This school year has been an especially transformative one for Fuzzy Dice, after losingseven members in the Class of 2014. When the group returned from the summer, it had only four membersremaining.
“This year was very much a rebuilding year,” Anand said. “When we did auditions this year, we were looking for people with different styles of humor, different perspectives on life, different backgrounds. And we’ve really collected a very eclectic group of people.”
As a junior and a second-year artistic director, Anand was particularly aware of these changes. He was accustomed to working with a group of experienced, senior improv comedians as an underclassman; now, suddenly, he was in charge of six new members, five of whom were freshmen.“A lot of first semesterwas just about training them on the basics, but looking forward, I really want to help them develop their own improv styles and voices,” he said.
Looking forward for the group as a whole, Anand said that Fuzzy Dice would like to start experimenting with music in its improvisation, adding that they will be looking for a music director next year.
In the meantime, changes are happeninginsmaller, but no less exciting forms. Sharp explained that the group released its first ever promotional video for the upcoming show, appropriatelytitled “April Show(er)s.” Sharp noted a significant increase in audience attendance after the publicity efforts ofthe February Shows, and hopes to see the same for the shows this weekend.
“Come to our show! Watch the video promo! Check out the cool posters!” shesaid.
“Down, doggie,” Orillac said.