“The Tides of March” is set to roll onto Ohio State’s campus.
The show is hosted by OSU comedy group Fishbowl Improv and is slated to feature collegiate and professional improvisational groups from around the country. The festival free of charge and is set to take place Saturday at the U.S. Bank Conference Theater in the Ohio Union from 5-10 p.m.
Cameron Bradford, a third-year in English and member of Fishbowl Improv, said she hopes the festival will challenge the group and help it become funnier.
The festival is set to feature troupes from Penn State, Otterbein University, University of Missouri, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and two professional troupes from the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York, according to the event’s flyer.
The members of Fishbowl are excited to showcase their first large-scale comedy show, said Anahita Ameri, the president of Fishbowl and a fourth-year in mechanical engineering.
“There’s a lot of great improvisers at Ohio State, but it is really cool to see what other schools are doing,” Bradford said.
Katie Drown, a Fishbowl member and fourth-year in international studies and Portuguese, said the group is hoping to make this festival the first of many it will host on campus. She also said the troupe is proud to host a cost-free show for students that features high-quality comedic work.
“The Tides of March” is going to be one of the best comedy festivals in Columbus this season, Drown said.
“How often do professionals from New York City come to Ohio?” Drown said.
Starting in 2009, Ameri said Fishbowl specializes in short-form improv, the same format performed by “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” The festival is set to feature solely long-form improv, a different comedic test for Fishbowl. Short-form improv is usually set around games, lasting about 5 to 10 minutes per sketch, Ameri said. Long-form is based around a buzzword or topic, and can last for up to 30 minutes.
Ameri grew up dreaming of working for “Saturday Night Live,” which inspired her to become a member of the troupe. After being a three-year member, Ameri said she has learned more than just jokes during her time in the group.
“Improv is really great because it helps you with communication skills and it helps you in the real world. I’ve been less shy and more present in my classes,” Ameri said.
Ameri said she is also proud of the name her organization is making on campus. The membership is at an all-time high with 21 active comedians, and attendance at its Sunday shows at the Union has been steady.
Bradford and Drown said the festival is expected to appeal to students who love comedy, but the group aspires to showcase the fun and beneficial side of being involved in an improv troupe.
“For students who like the arts and theater, they will really enjoy the festival,” Drown said.
Ameri said the festival should be relaxed. There are a few intermissions, and students can come and go as they choose.
As for Fishbowl, Ameri it is ready for students to come out and support its festival and hard work.
“No matter what happens (members of Fishbowl Improv) are all doing it together,” Ameri said.