A packed room of students eagerly volunteered as tribute to watch a weekend of the Montclair State University Players’ anticipated event, The Hunger M.I.L.F.S. The Montclair Improv League and Friends came together on Dec. 2 to perform 10 improv games, which other students had the privilege of observing and contributing to as the M.I.L.F.S battled it out for laughs.
Students erupted in applause and cheers as senior theatre studies major Maggie Aube, the show’s director, kicked off the event with a “Hunger Games” themed video. She appeared on screen in true Effie Trinket fashion to introduce the participating M.I.L.F.S.
This included junior film and television major Daniel Amorim, senior filmmaking major Ethan Russo, freshman business administration major with a concentration in finance Ronen Bas, sophomore psychology major Connie Stapleton, senior family science and human development major Angela Rose Massa, sophomore theatre studies major Allie Volltrauer, sophomore illustration major Natalya “Artemys” Kozlovski, freshman theatre studies major Jalen Jones, freshman sports communication major Will Barnes, junior theatre studies major Allie McGowan, sophomore visual arts major Grace La Vergne and senior English major Harry Reiher.
Each time, a different M.I.L.F. would explain the rules of the upcoming game before randomly drawing other M.I.L.F.S’ names to participate along with them. These games ranged in rules, from delivering award-worthy monologues in “Go For The Oscar” to singing about an audience member’s problems in “Doowop.”
But with names being chosen at random, as well as “scene-spiration” being taken from the crowd’s wild suggestions, the cast had no way of knowing what character or plot they’d have to work with. This led to amusingly absurd scenes like pretending to be a bar of soap on a dating show, a robot-butterfly in disguise, a person that just consumed an alarming number of Scrub Daddies and many more unimaginable roles.
The M.I.L.F.S showed no trouble stepping up to the plate, though, as they took ludicrous prompts and made them all the more laughable and nonsensical. This is what makes improv successful and fun, according to Stapleton, who runs with whatever pops into her head.
“I find it’s really the funniest and most creative when you really try to go big with the scenes,” Stapleton said. “When you really just try to make things super crazy and really out of the box.”
Though she adores improv itself and the creative process that goes with it, Stapleton loves the people she worked with even more.
“The people that I’m surrounded by constantly are really what make it worth doing,” Stapleton said. “And seeing how their comedy differs from mine, seeing what characters they think of and also just forming bonds with these people and getting to know them more.”
These relationships are built during the rehearsal process. Despite dialogue and acting being done on the spot, The Hunger M.I.L.F.S still took a lot of preparation. This included rehearsal four times a week where the students would repeatedly play the same improv games to develop an understanding of their rules, according to Aube.
“We work on new characters,” Aube said. “We work on how to say yes with each other. We work on listening skills, taking risks. And then usually I give one-on-ones to each member of the cast, telling them what I like and what I’d like to see more of in them. Then they implement that as the rest of the rehearsal process goes, and they really just start to bond together.”
The close-knit relationships were evident as the M.I.L.F.S seamlessly quipped off one another, highlighting individual talent as well as the dedication they have to learning and having fun with one another.
It was certainly enjoyable to witness for those in the audience who didn’t hold back from making themselves more involved in the night, whether that meant shouting out scene ideas, volunteering to be pulled up to the front of the room or simply letting their laughter be heard. For many, like sophomore family science and human development major Courtney Mincolelli, it meant cheering for the cast.
“My favorite part was honestly just seeing my friends in the show,” Mincolelli said. “I know M.I.L.F. is something that they really love, and M.I.L.F. is a huge part of Players that a bunch of people come out to see. So it was really nice just seeing it after knowing there were months of work going into it.”
McGowan, whose presence in scenes garnered some of the night’s most memorable moments and biggest laughs, hopes the experience gave the audience a lot to walk away with.
“I hope the audience feels like they have just went through a roller coaster of emotions and that they feel content and happy,” McGowan said.
Aube shared a similar goal for the audience, but for the M.I.L.F.S themselves, she wanted them to have fun as a group throughout the process.
“It’s really nice to see them get the recognition that I think they deserve,” Aube said. “I couldn’t thank the [Student Government Association (SGA)] and the community of Montclair [State] more for coming out, and it just makes me feel really good. It makes me very proud of not only my M.I.L.F.S but Players as a whole.”