By: Scott Peterson – Staff Writer
Sears Recital Hall is filled with more people than it can hold. The audience sits restless, waiting in anticipation for the show to start. Music is playing while even more people file in and stand in the back of the theater. The lights go down and the music is turned off. That’s when the University of Dayton’s very own On the Fly, a comedy troupe that preforms both sketch comedy and improvisational theater inspired by audience suggestions, takes the stage.
For those who are unfamiliar with improv comedy, let me explain what an On the Fly show experience is like. Improv comedy is when the actors create a scene, characters and jokes on the spot. This comedy is created by playing improv games for the audience. One of the more famous examples of this, which you may be familiar with, is the hit show “Whose Line is it Anyway?”
On the Fly kicked off their season with a performance in honor of UD’s parents weekend on Sept. 18, their last show before welcoming the newest members of their troupe, who have yet to be announced. The group is excited to reveal who the newest members of On the Fly are.
“They are all really talented students, that’s why we took them. We are excited to see what they do once they get a better sense of the rules,” cast member Norb Wessels said. “We hope the audiences love them as much as we did.”
On The Fly’s first performance of the year provided students and their parents a fun and interactive event to attend on Friday night of parents weekend. It also gave each member of the cast their moment in the spotlight. This allowed a chance for the audience to get familiar with these actors throughout the show, and for performances later in the year.
The highlight of the night was a game called “Scrapbook.” This game is played with two cast members and a member of the audience. The cast members all create different poses for a series of pictures. While they do this, two other cast members narrate a scene in which they are looking at a scrapbook of the pictures. Juniors Wessels and Matt Beebe played the scene as if they were reminiscing about Hanukkah. This scene was a standout because of how little knowledge the actors had about the subject they were given. The characters created for this game were reminiscent of Garth and Wayne from “Wayne’s World.”
“It was basically Matt and I trying to make a scene about something we had no general knowledge about. Like we didn’t know anything about Hanukkah, so we had to replace this lack of knowledge with comedy,” Wessels said. “It worked well because the audience loves to see you struggle but still wants you to succeed.”
Over the years, On the Fly has grown into one of the most prominent performing groups on campus. Any seasoned fan will tell you to get to the theater at least an hour early if you want to get a seat. The popularity of the group didn’t grow overnight. After beginning in 2006, it took years of dedication from its cast members and a loyal fan base to reach this level of success.
“I would hope it is because we are doing something right and people are enjoying themselves,” Wessels said.
On the Fly will be preforming again on Friday, Nov. 21, from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Sears Recital Hall.