Friday Night Live holds a history of improv

Sarah Wilczynski, Reporter

Known for their comedic improv sketches and chalk advertising all over campus, the cast of Friday Night Live has truly caught the attention of the students and staff at SUNY Buffalo State.

The roots of FNL belong to the year 2006. At that time, the now entirely student-run organization had no ties to the theater department. It was merely a group of students who shared the common interest of improv comedy.

The show’s first performances took place in Flexible Theater in the Donald Savage Building. As their popularity increased, the space was no longer sufficient. FNL made its new home in the theater in Upton Hall, where performances can be seen today.

Good listening skills are crucial in improv, as well as being able to rely on your scene partner. It all comes down to teamwork.

The current cast of FNL consists of 11 improv comedy enthusiasts who work together in order to make each show successful and entertaining. Three of those 11 members include executive members Jeremy Catania, Henry Farleo, and Mary Briest.

The job of the executives is to run the meetings and take turns hosting the shows. Because improv can’t be rehearsed, the meetings are used to discuss the previous shows and go over any business, such as audition information or charity events.

Most importantly, meetings are used to work on improv skills. Games such as five-second scenes help strengthen those skills. In five-second scenes, cast member are given a scenario and have five seconds to act it out.

“I always have a lot of fun. Improv is a great skill to have in the theater world, along with teamwork and trusting your scene partner.” Catania said.

On April 10 of last spring, five cast members attended the 2nd Annual Guilda’s Comp at St. John Fisher’s College. Each competing team had 10 minute intervals where they played improv games such as the ones seen in shows. That day, FNL won first place.

Auditions for FNL are typically held late in the spring semester and are open to all students across campus.

“I like comedy, I was convinced to audition for the group and it’s now one of my favorite things to do. It is a very freeing form of entertainment.” Farleo said.

Students who are interested in improv or are planning on auditioning for the FNL cast in the spring are encouraged to sign up for the FNL workshop. Spaces for this event are limited and are filling up fast. The sign up sheet and additional information can be found  in the Donald Savage Building.

“It’s a great way to get your feet wet.” Catania said.

Friday Night Live is part of Casting Hall Productions, one of the largest United Student Government-sponsored groups on campus. All money matters, rights to shows, and scheduling goes through Casting Hall.

Casting Hall general interest meetings are the first Tuesday of every month. Events, proposed workshops, and other topics relating to the theater department are discussed. A workshop is scheduled for Dec. 3.

Any general interest meeting or special event is open to everyone on campus. To keep up with the latest information regarding FNL, such as show cancellations and audition information, follow “Friday Night Live!” on Facebook.

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