Laughing all the way to Palm Beach: IGP Clowns Around

Once you're a Harvard student, it's time to get serious, commit to studying and forget how to have fun, right?

The Instant Gratification Players (IGP) don't think so.

Why be grim when you can perform improv for audiences in Palm Beach, prance around on stage like a gorilla or translate the phrase "I can eat glass, it doesn't hurt me" into foreign languages? (Don't ask. See their Web site.)

The group's players don't use a script for their shows, instead relying on suggestions from the audience to fuel their zany and wacky skits.

While providing comic relief to Harvard's often over-stressed students, IGP members also revel in the relationships formed within the group.

"It's a tightly knit group of people who love each other, stick together all four years, and have a lot of fun," says Bede M. Sheppard '00.

The group's popularity has grown in recent years; IGP often plays to audiences upward of 200 people.

But it's not all fun and games.

IGP "Czar"Justin M. Krebss says that 90 would-be players auditioned this fall for spots in the group; they accepted three in the end.

And even though their work on stage is completely improvisational, IGP members spend lots of time outside of performances perfecting their craft.

"It's sort of like a soccer team," Krebs says. "The team has a set of skills and they know the rules, but they don't know how the skills will be applied once we get on stage."

With its increased stature on campus as of late, a group that recently performed "So I Married a Mannequin" has found notoriety even among Harvard's strait-laced.

During a recent four-square game in front of the Science Center, IGP members were delighted when Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 dropped by.

But even the kings of improv were speechless when Lewis put down his jacket and cell phone to join in the fun.