Theatre Simpson: Come one, come all


by Olivia Samples, Advertising Director

According to senior Bill Hitt, “You don’t have to be a performing arts major to like performing arts.” This statement becomes crystal clear when you trek over to BPAC for even just a night.

The Underground is a long-standing Simpson tradition that showcases the many talents of Simpson College. The cabaret-style open mic night is mystery basket each time you arrive. There have been drag performances, burlesque, comedy, slam poetry, tap dancing and so much more.

Hitt said, “The thing I love about the Underground is that someone going off to opera grad school will perform and then someone who is super shy will do their poem.”

The Underground is hosted by members of the Performing Arts Theme House and raises money for Run DSM. The “PA House” is the longest running theme house on campus, having been open for 20 years.

The Underground is open to people from all different backgrounds and allows a creative space for people to show their talents. It is a welcoming space where people from all different parts of campus will cheer you on.

One of those was Nick Laning, who shocked many at the last Underground when he sang “Colder Weather” by the Zac Brown Band. Laning, known for being an active member of SGA, CAB and Kappa Theta Psi was not the most likely performer.

“This is a chance to see people be authentic. It’s a chance to see people who you don’t necessarily see as performers show you something about themselves that they don’t make that well known. And it’s a chance to have a good time,” Laning said.

This year the Underground has brought in an average of 80 people for their monthly show. The shows are a great alternative to typical Friday night activities and encourage a sense of community.

Hitt said, “We are just trying to make campus excited about this fun thing on a Friday night where you are going to have some laughs and watch someone you know doing it.”

One group who has enjoyed the Underground is Simpson’s newest improv troupe, On the House. They have been preparing for their debut with the Underground’s welcoming audience.

“On the House have always performed at the Undergrounds. And it has been a great place for them to get started which I think was a great idea. If you just want to try something out I definitely encourage that,” Bryce Browning said.

Another great part of Theatre at Simpson is On The House, the Improv troupe which brings games that sharpen their skills and entertain. Browning founded the group last year and brought together any students that want to hone their improv skills.

“It’s a great acting exercise, but also a quick thinking exercise. Improv is in everything we do,” Browning said.

The Troupe plays structured games to practice their skills. Some of the games challenge you with on-the-fly acting, while others force the group to act cohesively, with audience suggestions.

The fast-paced nature of the games combined with the hilarity of group members leaves the audience gasping with laughter. The troupe debuted on Sunday with a multitude of games that did not disappoint.

You can look for more performances by the troupe next semester or contact Bryce Browning for more information.

Both the Underground and On the House showcase the community at Simpson and show that performance at Simpson is open to all. While the Underground’s last show of the semester was Friday, you can prepare your latest monologue for next semester.