They’re Not Just Plastic, They’re People


by Amelia Buzzell

Perhaps you’ve experienced the improvised Bacchanalia that passes as a Voodoo Barbie show and wondered the following things: Who are these people? Do they actually “practice” improv? What the eff do they want from me when they yell, “Give me a non-geographic location?” Why don’t they take my suggestions – don’t they know “dildo” is brilliant? Amelia Buzzell’10, a Voodoo alum and completely biased reporter, brings you at least a couple of answers. Bring your prospies to tonight’s Voodoo show at 10 p.m. in Moore, and “Like” Voodoo Barbie on Facebook, too! Now! Right now!

Why is Voodoo Barbie called Voodoo Barbie?

Ben Vogt’14: No idea. It probably started out as a failed indie band.

What are rehearsals like?

Phoebe Sherman’14: We play the same games we do at shows, but because there’s no audience, we can stop in the middle of a game and talk about what worked or didn’t work in the scene. We’ve also been playing a bunch of new games. Sometimes we do other stuff though. Like the time Sam microwaved his phone.

Ben: We all sit around for the first 15 minutes pretending that we’re actually going to do something. Then we either play a few games or call it a night and get food.

Jade Daugherty’11: If you’re reading this, please do not use the Pearson’s TV lounge from 10-11 on Mondays and Tuesdays. Consider this my final room reservation.

What is the secret to a good improv scene?

Jade: A good scene must have conflict, resolution, developed characters, power shifts, etc. I think any scene that includes a majority of these aspects would prove to be pretty good.

Sam Isenstein’11: Don’t be drunk and don’t be a butthead.

Bert: It’s all about communication and it is important to listen, which is why some of the older members kind of start to suck once their hearing goes.

Ben: Not going with the first idea you think of. Go with the second.

What are crutch characters? What are yours?

Jade: Crutch characters are what you revert to when you’re generally unsure of yourself. They are usually funny but prevent any real kind of growth for yourself or the group. I was often an abrasive, inner city female but have eased out of it.

Sam: Mine are yelling boy and Jewish yelling boy.

Bert: My impression of Sam Isenstein. I just act belligerent, moody, and chauvinistic. Good thing Sam can’t read or he would be super mad about this, amiright?

Phoebe: I guess I tend to play the bitch/airhead a lot.

Ben: I like to play the tough guy with the heart of gold.

Mark: [I’m usually a] jock, or sometimes I just won’t even give myself a character and act like I actually would in the given situation. (These are different, by the way.)

Jade: They come up more often than you would imagine. See if you can find them at our next show.

What makes a good or bad audience suggestion?

Jade: LISTEN UP KIDS, THIS ONE IS FOR YOU. A BAD audience suggestion contains any of the following words: hooker, slut, prison, bathroom, priest (unless preceded by Judas), Lindsay Lohan, Snooki, and any/all references to sex, orgies, anal penetration, molestation, etc. A GOOD audience suggestion leaves room for growth, or surprises, or IMPROVISATION. Suggest to me that we’re in a JC Penney’s or at a comic book convention, the dentist office, a sombrero factory; anything unusual or silly – not filthy or degrading. Be creative.

If you had to switch bodies with another member of the group, who would you pick?

Sam: Steven because then I would have goofy looking hands

Bert: Steven is very handsome, but Phoebe is so short. I guess it’s a toss up. So I’ll say


Mark: I would switch bodies with Phoebe but switch faces with Bert. I think it’s pretty obvious why.

Tell us about 24 Hours of Improv.

Jade: We do our usual show [on Friday night] and from there DO NOT leave each others’ sides until after the following show the next night. We go to Commons, we see Frisbee games, we cry (a lot) and generally hate on each other’s presence all day. Sometimes we shave, curl, or maime things. This year maybe all three.

Bert: Have you seen Top Gun? The majority of the time feels like when Goose is dying in your arms.

Mark: 24 hours of improv will be held March 18-19 this year. We will stay together and eat somewhere between three and five breakfasts.

Has Voodoo had an impact on any part of your life/personality outside of rehearsals and shows?

Sam: It’s made me think a lot about performing and what that means to me personally… Also grey hair and mommy issues.

Bert: Voodoo Barbie is legitimately my favorite thing at Beloit. If it wasn’t for Voodoo Barbie I wouldn’t have any friends, I would have failed all of my classes and I would never have beaten my leprosy.

Mark: As an education major, I spend a lot of time in middle and high school classrooms teaching math. Doing improv in front of big crowds in Richardson has helped to make me feel more comfortable in front of my students and has helped me learn to adapt to unexpected situations that arise in the classroom.

Jade: VDB has really allowed me to trust my instincts and to not question or second guess myself. I think it’s really helped me to be confident in presenting and receiving ideas, researching, analytical thinking, and group work.

Ben: It gave me a whole new set of acceptable social norms. Whateverthefuckthoseare.

Steven Jackson’12 is also a member of Voodoo Barbie, but he didn’t answer the questionnaire, so he may as well not exist.



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