Kid Business Packs Hilarity and Physical Comedy into Cat Performance

Lydia Rice

Kid Business, the short-form improv group formally known as Obehave, entertained a large crowd at the Cat in the Cream last Friday, Sept. 6. Dressed in an impeccable combination of loud ties and t-shirts, the gang juggled mythological references and phallic jokes with ease, appealing to the intellectually immature and the immature intellectuals in the crowd.

Starting fashionably late, the performers, consisting of College seniors Peter D’Auria and Ben Garfinkel, College sophomores Ben Hyams and James Koblenzer, and Conservatory senior Rachel Iba managed to (mostly) succeed in keeping straight faces throughout the absurd situations that their sketches, presented as “games,” placed them in, with the assistance of some very enthusiastic verbal input from the audience.

Acting as a warm up was the always-classic “Freeze” game, where in the midst of action, a person cuts in and replaces someone to create an entirely new scene. A slight extension of the arms came to signify a fork, Atlas carrying the globe and a gauge of annoyance, among other inventions.

This was followed by “TV Channels,” with the troupe acting out some very strange fake television shows, including the mysterious “Murder? Eh, OK” and a medical soap with the very literal title of “Heart Takes Me.” The next sketch was “Emote Control,” which allowed Iba to show off some serious acting chops as she quickly transitioned between complete joy and utter despair while describing cranberry picking. From there, “The Show Must Go On” told the story of a trip to a chocolate factory turned morbid as one by one the characters dropped dead, leaving Koblenzer to manipulate the other actors’ arms as he performed one-sided conversations. Think Willy Wonka meets Norman Bates.

After that, we got a “Scene Thread” involving jedi knights and padawans, followed by the wonderful mad-libs of “Sex with Me is Like…” with “The New York Times” and “A Carwash” being particular winners, and an attempt to recreate the first meeting between a pair of rather embarrassed first-year friends who were brought up on stage. The grand finale was “Story, Story, Tie,” in which the entire troupe attempted to tell a Redwall story a few words at a time. Unfortunately, D’Auria seemed to be the only one even vaguely familiar with the novels. Those who failed to add to the storyline — which ended up involving hunting badgers — had their ties removed by Garfinkel, which was an appropriate punishment.

Considering how Kid Business only had a week’s worth of practice to prepare, this was a highly amusing show, enlivened by the enthusiasm of the troupe. When asked about what drew him to short-form improv, Garfinkel said, “It frees me to do whatever I want.” Koblenzer, meanwhile, said he admires the need not to “dwell on what you say.” Iba said that she enjoyed how “you can fully embrace failure … and fail gloriously, and fully embrace the downward spiral.” But this group didn’t fail. Quite the opposite, for their lack of self-consciousness led to a free-spirited evening that the stressed-out students, packed into the coffeehouse, very much appreciated.