GAS movie smells sweet; flick made fast, fresh

Heather Cowherd

Murder, mystery and romance were the themes for the latest Happy GAS film.

Happy GAS, an improvisation group, held Project Improv Movie Night on Thursday and Friday in Garrett Center. Cast members enacted suggestions Friday in the film “Apprehended.” The movie’s script was based on suggestions by audience members at Thursday’s performance.

“We are always trying to outstretch ourselves and take our art a little further than what people expect of us,” said GAS member Stefan Gearhart, a senior from Toledo, Ohio. “We are always trying to reinvent ourselves.”

Members of Happy GAS had been planning the two-day event since November. This is the first time the group has done a performance like movie night.

Louisville senior Joe Starr, a GAS member, said the group tries to make every show unique.

“We are always trying to make a show special in some way,” Starr said. “For me, I want people to understand how important it is to us. When they see how much it matters and what it means to us they will take something with them.”

About 40 people attended Thursday’s performance, which was given in the Garrett Ballroom. The show consisted of two groups performing 30 minute segments.

“I came in with an ice cream cone and I wasn’t sure if the performance was going to be better than my ice cream, but in the end the show won out and the show was much tastier,” Nicholasville sophomore Marissa Granderson said.

The segments involved scenes that dealt with topics such as dysfunctional families, the consequences of chimney sweeping and a boy’s dream to be invisible.

Autumn Dill, a freshman from Murfreesboro, Tenn., said she left the performance with only positive thoughts and now believes it takes a particular person to be able to do improvisation.

“I think it takes a lot of ingenuity,” she said.

During the intermission, the GAS members asked audience members to give suggestions that could be used in the movie.

Gearhart said that the purpose of the suggestions was to allow audience members to become a part of the movie and know that the film wasn’t a written script.

“(Thursday night’s) show was really a vehicle to get people to come here,” said Justin Lamb, a senior from Franklin, Tenn.

The movie was filmed immediately after Thursday’s performance, from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m., and it was edited Friday. About 50 people attended Friday’s event, and many attended both performances.

Elizabethtown junior Gail Livesay said she has been seeing Happy GAS perform since she was a freshman.

“This is our basic link to improv and I want to take advantage of it, and I will next year as well,” she said.

Livesay gained a different perpsective from Thursday night’s performance when she saw the suggestions put in action on the big screen.

“They were both entertaining, but it was different because I usually see them on stage, and it’s from a distance and they usually have to yell or project voices,” she said. “But on screen it is made to be seen and to be heard so that the audience can understand what’s going on. “

The GAS movie was a black-and-white detective film that lasted about 30 minutes. The cast was made up of GAS members and the scenes were set in various places around Bowling Green such as the Cardinal Motel and St. James apartments. What made the film unique was that the last scene of the movie was acted out live on stage.

“Improv is a relatively new art,” Lamb said. “(We) can explore things on our own without having to conform.”

Reach Heather Cowherd at [email protected]