Posted by: lcowie | September 3, 2008

Devastation for Mission IMPROVable

Devastation for Mission IMPROVable

by Lesley Cowie

The mission was to report to Alumni Gym Monday at 9 p.m. Unfortunately, many Elon students chose to abort the mission.

As the conclusion to this year’s freshman orientation, SUB enlisted the comedic antics of Mission IMPROVable. Unbeknownst to the freshmen, Mission IMPROVable took the place of mentalist Craig Karges in the orientation schedule. For the past two years, Elon’s incoming freshmen have watched Karges perform. His telepathic act has been a big hit each year, filling the seats and bleachers in Alumni Gym.

Mission IMPROVable was not as fortunate with its turnout. Only half the rows of seats on the gym floor were filled with students. SUB members prodded students to fill the gaps in each row. Groups of students slowly trickled into the gym during the half hour delay, but it was not enough to fill all the rows. Because seating in the rows was so scarce, SUB members did not permit seating in the bleachers.

What caused such poor attendance?

“One of the biggest problems in my opinion was the promotion of the event,” said sophomore Peter Bock. “There should have been more notices around campus providing information about the group, and although the name of the event was Mission IMPROVable, people may not have realized that it was comedy. More description of the event, as well as more fliers around campus, would have made it more popular among students.”

Another reason for poor attendance could be the show’s late start. After three months of sleeping in, many students faced the terror of waking up for an 8 a.m. class the next morning. Instead of attending the Mission IMPROVable show, these students may have decided to go to sleep early. If the show had started earlier, it is likely that more students would have chosen to go.

“SUB could have attracted a larger audience by having it on another day,” said freshman Cedric Pulliam. “A lot of people told me that they were not going due to classes starting.”

In addition, many resident assistants scheduled dorm meetings at 9 p.m., thereby conflicting with Mission IMPROVable. The show started a half hour later in hopes of catching these students after their hall meetings.

“Our event began at 9, so we think that the lag time in the schedule encouraged students to stay in their dorms or hang out with friends instead of attending the event,” said sophomore Lauren Leonard.

Although the audience was mostly made up of freshmen, SUB expected a larger turnout for the event. Kate McCulley, assistant director of student activities, was surprised by the composition of the audience.

“With Labor Day weekend being as long as it was, the upperclassmen must have only returned to Elon the day of the show,” she said. “The freshmen participation was good, but we expected more upperclassmen to be present.”

The upperclassmen, however, acknowledged a different reason for their absence. Many stated that they were unaware of the Mission IMPROVable event.

“Why would I think that the event was for me when it was in the freshman orientation schedule?” said junior Anne Chichester. “I felt like it was for the freshmen, not for me.”

Others were disappointed at the change in entertainment from last year to this year. For the upperclassmen who had seen Craig Karges, the new act could not compare to the mentalist.

“That’s part of the reason why I didn’t go this year,” said junior Laura Fraase. “I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see the mentalist again this year. I went two years in a row and was equally entertained both times.”

McCulley explained that SUB’s decision to bring Mission IMPROVable to Elon was a result of upperclassmen comments.

“The upperclassmen had complained that they had seen Karges’ act twice,” she said. “We thought the upperclassmen wanted to see something different.”

Despite the lack of attendance, Mission IMPROVable offered a variety of entertaining skits and jokes. Their act was based on audience participation. Between skits, the five comedians asked for suggestions from the audience. This strategy allowed for enhanced authenticity and personality. The crowd responded with great enthusiasm, clapping when impressed and groaning when disappointed.

“Overall, I think the event was a success,” Leonard said. “The students who attended had a good time and were thoroughly entertained.”

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