First Time Offenders, Trinityâ€™s own improv group, has been busy this semester. The club, which started at least six years ago, puts on parodies of Trinityâ€™s big theater productions and organizes various performances.
This semester, the club has done everything from a comedy show that started with group members being sorted into Harry Potter houses to a fake bid day the day before actual bid day.
â€œWe aim to amuse and provoke. We put on various protests, which are more like stunts really, that are for the whole campus. Theyâ€™re supposed to be funny, universal and completely ridiculousâ€”for example, we tried to burn books outside of the library and we protested the sun. Basically, we hope that people will get that weâ€™re being ridiculous. Ultimately, we hope that people will join in with us, but mostly people just laugh and move on,â€ said senior English and theater double major Chelsea Taylor, who is the liaison between FTO and the Trinity University Players.
â€œIâ€™m mostly like a kindergarten teacher, because my duties are rallying everyone and directing the parodies. I also draw the lines between funny and offensive for the club. Iâ€™m basically the director and the filter,â€ Taylor said.
Taylor has improved the clubâ€™s visibility and organization on campus, according to some members.
â€œI think the group has changed mostly due to the direction of Chelsea Taylor. Ever since she took over as the FTO liaison, the group has been much more organized and involved on campus,â€ said Austin Greenhaw, junior Biology major.
Many students are unaware of exactly what is happening when they walk into a FTO protest, but most of the time people are able to discern that the protest is not real.
â€œMy favorite part of FTO is definitely our campus-wide protests because itâ€™s always funny to see peopleâ€™s reactions. One time last year, we were selling our senior members as slaves during a protest, and it turned out a group of middle schoolers was touring Trinity that day â€” you kind of just have to go with it. We try to go for reactions in that we choose really ridiculous things in the hopes that people will understand that weâ€™re joking, although once, when we protested cats, the Cat Alliance did take us seriously,â€ Taylor said.
The protests are not only sometimes convincing, but they are also increasingly popular with other groups on campus.
â€œWeâ€™ve even had another campus organization ask us to do a protest to advertise for their event. Naturally we protested the annexing of Canada as the 51st state of America for them,â€ Greenhaw said.
This semester, in addition to the parodies of â€œThe Robber Bridegroomâ€ and â€œCloud 9â€ and the Harry Potter-themed comedy show, FTO has one more upcoming performance.
â€œWe do have one of our campus-wide protests this Friday, but we also have our last show this Sunday in the CafÃ© Theater which is in Ruth Taylor, at 8 p.m. â€” our protest Friday is basically going to be us advertising the upcoming comedy show by making a scene,â€ Taylor said.
The shows are primarily improvised which makes for a spontaneous, entertaining and sometimes somewhat offensive experience. Students do not have to be theater majors to participate. Anyone who attends meetings can participate in the performances. Junior communication major Samantha Grubbs enjoys being a part of FTO.
â€œI love being in FTO because my random outbursts are appreciated, nay, encouraged. I grew up watching the show â€˜Whoâ€™s Line is it Anyway?â€™ and it trained me in the ways of improv. Next stop: SNL,â€ Grubbs said.