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Magnetic Duos

Improv theater breaks in two new improv comedy duos on Monday nights.

Pictured: Matt B. and Matt J. Weir

By Cristina Merrill / Jester Correspondent

Audience members were treated to a funny and interesting night at the Magnet Theater on Monday, May 10, thanks to the paired improv shows, “Anti (life) Form” and “We’re Matt Weir.” The “Anti (life) Form” performers did not make story transitions as smoothly as “We’re Matt Weir,” but the chemistry between Taylor White and Dave Maulbeck -- filling in for Jared McGrail, who was sick -- helps to make their part of the show a success.

On this performance, “Anti (life) Form” had a father and son dynamic, with White as the father and Maulbeck as his son.  It is difficult for adult actors to play children -- there is that fine line between being convincing and being creepy -- but Maulbeck passed the test. In a hilarious exchange, Maulbeck’s character mournfully tells his father that his pet frog, which has died, held the soul of his deceased mother. “Yeah, I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to get your hopes up,” he says. 

More exchanges like this one follow, and with excellent command of physical comedy, White and Maulbeck manage to speed on a tandem bicycle, attempt to bring a transforming body back to life, and neutralize the evil of said transforming body using milk.

“It’s skim, but it’ll have to do,” said White, whose booming voice and body movements help keep this part of the show flowing.

Part of the “Anti (life) Form” show included White and Maulbeck acting as children and making up stories, using a storybook to help guide them. In a nod to the state of today’s economy, White and Maulbeck also performed a short exchange in a made-up language that was interspersed with phrases in English such as “crummy economy,” “economic recovery,” and “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

White and Maulbeck gracefully turned the stage over to “We’re Matt Weir,” another Magnet Theater comedy duo that consists of, you guessed it, two guys named Matt Weir. The two met at the Magnet Theater, where they perform on separate house teams. Matt B. Weir, a 24-year-old native of Naperville, Ill., wore a striped polo shirt, while Matt J. Weir, a 26-year-old native of Harrisburg, Pa., who looks like an older Billy Elliot and sounds a bit like Michael Cera, opted for a plaid button-down shirt. 

The audience suggested the words “sports” and “sadness,” prompting the two Weirs to launch into a short sports skit. Matt B. Weir played an overemotional baseball player and Matt J. Weir played a commentator. The real highlight of “We’re Matt Weir,” however, was when they played various characters all dealing with the same hurricane. In one skit, they play two fathers stuck in their respective houses, torn between waiting for their missing children to come home and actually going out to look for them.

“I wish my kids were here so I could give them a hug,” one says before he starts to cry.

The next scene sees both men attending a hurricane party, drinking alcohol, playing with an Ouija board and making toasts. “Hope he’s still asleep,” Matt B. Weir’s character said about his father.  “Hope the hurricane didn’t wake him.” 

Later, in an exchange between a man and a woman, with Matt B. as the man and Matt J. as the woman, he tells her that he is not religious but believes in God, and attempts to reconstruct the biblical story of Samson and Delilah. “I feel like I got long hair inside of me,” he tells her.  She is visibly creeped out.

The way the two Weirs set out an overarching theme for their improvisation made their storytelling easy to follow. “Anti (life) Form” was tougher to stick with because of more scattershot content to the invented scenes, but White and Maulbeck combine aptitude for both physical and verbal comedy, giving them a lot of fodder for building scenes.

“Anti (life) Form” and “We’re Matt Weir” will perform again on Monday, May 17, and Monday, May 24 at 10 p.m. at the Magnet Theater.



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