Damn Dirty Apes sighted on EWU campus

Photo by Anna Mills

Photo by Anna Mills

Eastern improv group prepares for first show in February

by Al Stover, Eagle Life Editor – Photo by Anna Mills for The Easterner

There was a gorilla in the URC waving at students and handing out flyers, which caused a female student to run out of The Roost.

The gorilla was actually EWU student Chris Clark in an ape costume. Clark is a member of the Damn Dirty Apes improv group on campus. They are in talks with performing in the Morrison Residence Hall on Feb. 1.

The group consists of four members. These members hold practice on Friday nights where they perform various improvisational exercises.

Clark got into improv last year as a theater major. He was joined by Alex Kwamina, Marjorie Loosmore and Jared Reyna.

The transition of going from reading lines off a script to coming up with an act on the spot forced him to stop editing himself.

Freshman Alex Kwamina, another member of the group, has three years of improv experience. For Kwamina, improv went from a recreational activity to a lifestyle.

“In life when you have challenges, sometimes you have to figure out the ‘no’ and go around it or ‘I like that idea, let’s build on it,’” Kwamina said.

Psychology major Marjorie Loosmore said she has gained confidence and connected with others since joining the group.

“It challenges me to think harder, find those connections with other characters [and] to establish deeper characters,” Loosmore said. “When you do find those connections with other people, it feels amazing.”

Although the group has upcoming performances, they allow anyone to come watch and practice on Friday nights. The group also has musicians who come and play musical improv.

Sophomore volleyball player and theater major Talia Fermantez came to a practice after being invited by Loosmore. The members gave Fermantez tips such as not turning her back to the audience, leaving little to no time for dead space and coming up with character names during the exercises.

One hour into her first practice, the volleyball player turned into an intoxicated pirate on a plane who thought Loosmore’s character said they were in Spain.

“It’s a creative release,” Fermantez said. “Your mind is fast-jumping from thing to thing.”

In addition to the show in February, the group plans to work with the EWU Theatre Department to help raise money for senior capstones. They also are in talks with Delta Chi to put on a philanthropy show in the near future as well as planning with GUTS, Gonzaga’s improv team, to bring the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy sketch group for a touring show.

While the Damn Dirty Apes are set on planning future shows and making their presence a staple on campus, their ultimate goal is to bring people together and have fun.

“We’re just here exploring our boundaries,” Clark said. “We’re ready to shake things up.”