Magnet Theatre, Premiere, And Musical Improv Level 1

I’ve been missing improv a lot since I left Otterbein. I was the president of the troupe at school, and it was jarring going from doing improv twice a week to none at all. So, I decided to enroll in a class that would allow me to practice singing, a little bit of acting, and improv: Musical Improv Level 1 at the Magnet Theatre. And it’s been a blast. 

This form is a lot more technical than “regular” improv, as it requires a base education for all of your scene partners. I’m the youngest in class, and I’ve been the youngest in almost every room I’ve been in since I got here. All ages and backgrounds are in this class, which is great because you get a bunch of different world views to expand on scene ideas. Both teachers do a fantastic job of making the class comfortable with failing and just going for it. 

When you enroll in a class at the Magnet, you get a student ID that allows you to see any improv show at the Magnet Theatre for free! So I decided to bop over to the theatre and see Premiere, their musical improv troupe, which also happens to feature my instructors. My instructor embodies what I want to be in an improviser, someone who gets the scene back on track and makes strong choices to move the plot in a positive direction. The show was about 45 minutes and it was phenomenal. I’m very happy I decided to take this class. I’m learning a lot, and it satisfies everything I left at Otterbein.

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Steep Rock West and Xenosaga XXI

A majority of my hobbies revolve around theatre, like sketch comedy, stand-up, improv, film, and editing. But, there are few that break the mold and allow for some escapism when I need a break from thinking creatively. I started rock climbing last October when my friend Max introduced it to me as an athletic puzzle. It sounded fun, I went on a free pass, and I loved it. It’s been a regular part of my exercise routine since. Gaming has been a hobby of mine since I was kid. I got Pokemon Blue as a gift for jumping off the diving board when I was six, and that was the first game I ever played. The next game that hit the same itch was Super Smash Bros. Melee, a crossover fighting game for the Gamecube. I bought all future installments the day they came out on every console since. And this week, I had the opportunity to explore both of these hobbies at two separate events.

Steep Rock West is a bouldering gym nearby where I live, and I didn’t even plan that. Bouldering is a style of rock climbing where the wall is ten feet high, you don’t have a rope, but the climbing routes are a lot harder to compensate for the short distance. The gym made us feel right at home, with that same familiar community from climbing gyms we’ve visited in the past. People were helping other people out, everyone was having fun, and it felt safe and quiet. The climbing was fun, exhausting, and I was sore for about four days as I hadn’t gone in a while. Oops.  

Xenosaga XXI is the 21st installment of a monthly Super Smash Bros. tournament in Chinatown. This tournament was for the newest game, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. To prepare, I looked up some tips online and found an itemized list. The top of the list reading, “please shower”. I thought that was a bit hyperbolic, as it’s a no-brainer. I take the train down to Chinatown, rang the doorbell to get into the store where the tournament was happening and good god. “Please shower” was not hyperbolic, not even a little. While the stench wasn’t overwhelming, it still lingered in the air. Like everyone had to be aware of this symphony of B.O. taking place. Aside from that, the tournament was a lot of fun! It was $20 to enter, and before it started, we all had the chance to warm up and play friendly matches with other competitors.

I got DESTROYED. I thought I was pretty good at the game, but these guys are no joke. They were all talking about frame data, hitboxes, hurtboxes, character matchups, things I know about in the game, but didn’t think they were too useful to become a competitor. I used this tournament as a guinea pig, a chance to see the competition, and now I know where I need to improve. It was double elimination, and I lost the first two matches I played. Everyone was nice about it, and they gave me tips on how to improve. I had an amazing time. Until next time, Xenosaga. You won’t know what hit ya.

(Because you won’t even feel the hit because I’ll get knocked out within the hour again.)


Mike Birbiglia's New One

This is my first Broadway show since I moved to the city, and I’m really happy it was this one. Mike Birbiglia has been in my top five standups for a while, ever since I watch his special My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend on Netflix. His approach to the form is a lot different than other comedians, because he takes the hour and a half to tell one story. My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend was about meeting his wife, Thank God for Jokes was about his love of this craft, and The New One was about battling with becoming a dad. And with the help of some Broadway magic, I think this is the best one yet.

Mike Birbiglia takes moments for sincerity in his shows, and has an incredible ability to control the audience's mood. He knows when he wants us to laugh, he knows when he wants us to really listen. While this was a comedy show, he told us a fantastic story that’s competitive with what’s on Broadway right now. My favorite parts of the show include his just kind of walking around the stage just to switch things up, when all of his daughters toys and gadgets came crashing from the rafters, the lighting design, and the opening segment. The whole show was phenomenal, but those are parts I really remember coming away from this show. I stagedoored the hell out of this show. He signed my Playbill and I got the chance to ask him a question. At the top of the show, he comes out in blackout to the simple set of a big rug, and a headset mic sitting atop stool centerstage. As he starts the show, he’s putting his mic on, tossing it through his shirt, and continuing to tell his story. So I asked, “why do you put your headset on when you come out, instead of backstage?”

He says that he wants the audience to be aware that it’s a show. A performance. Break the wall a bit. And because he has a hard time projecting.

Here’s my Mike Memorabilia.


Moved-in and "The Other Josh Cohen"

I’m officially moved-in to my first NYC apartment! In celebration, I went to the Off-Broadway musical called “The Other Josh Cohen”: a romantic comedy about theft and the US Postal Service. I heard about this musical from my parents, they saw and told me the guy that wrote and starred in this production actually grew up on my street. They were raving about it for weeks, so I decided to go with my girlfriend and my new roommate. I was blown away by the story, the songs, the comedy, and by the talent of the small cast of seven.

The stars (and writers) of the show were David Rossmer and Steve Rosen who played future Josh Cohen and present Josh Cohen respectively. The remaining five cast members (including David Rossmer) all played various instruments as well as played all the other characters that Josh Cohen interacts with throughout the show. I got the chance to talk with David Rossmer (the man that grew up on my street) and we chatted a bit about how my mom invited him to our street’s yearly block party, Otterbein’s internship system, and other Off-Broadway shows. He was an incredibly kind and talented man, and I really hope to see him soon in the future.

This experience made me excited to go see more Off-Broadway shows, as they are not only cheaper, but you get to meet some really nice people producing really nice theatre. Everyone should go see “The Other Josh Cohen”. You really don’t wanna miss your chance.

Left to Right: Payton, Abigail, Trey, David

Left to Right: Payton, Abigail, Trey, David

Preparing for a change in location!

I started my life in River Edge, NJ. And in preparation to move 40 minutes away from my home in New York City, I decided to move eight hours away to Otterbein Univeristy first. My senior year at Otterbein has secured itself as the busiest three months of my life. The faculty at Otterbein have concluded that it’s time for me to leave, and I agree with them. I’ve been brushing up on special skills, offices duties, and trying to spend as much time as possible honing my main skills until I start packing. It should be an exciting spring semester!