Watch out GW; the girls have come to play. Goga (“girl on girl action”) is a new all-female improv troupe founded early this year by junior Heather Fink. Utilizing classic improv techniques and a sharp sense of hilarity, the new group certainly packs a punch. Goga, which consists of 10 women, will perform its third show of the year at the Hippodrome Friday at 11 p.m. The show is free.
The group is part of a growing movement in comedy for all-female groups intended to give more opportunities for women to be funny and have a good time with other ladies. Group members made sure to note that the group’s humor is not aimed only at women.
“We’re not femi-Nazis, just funny,” sophomore Alexis Confer said.
Junior Alison Shiebelhut continued the idea saying “comedy is a different form of feminism.”
“It’s not that guys aren’t funny, but that women are,” Fink said.
The group has performed twice this year, once at the Mount Vernon Campus with two a cappella groups and once at the Hippodrome during the Program Board’s Holiday Buzz before Winter Break..
Fink said the group is the only all-female college improv group in the United States. Members said goga groups are sprouting up around the world, including places like Seattle, New Zealand and Australia.
Fink said she thought of starting an all-female comedy group after realizing she “wanted to perform, but there was no outlet.”
She said she e-mailed members of the comedy group The State, which used to have a show on MTV, and used an internet comedy bulletin board for advice about starting an all-female improv group. She was encouraged to start one and learned about goga NYC, the original all-female goga group.
Fink started to work with the group, participating in warm-up exercises, watching performances and asking questions along the way. She then took classes with Armando Diaz, a member of improv group Upright Citizens Brigade and started Capitol goga with non-GW adults. She said she found the members “already had their own roles in society” and decided to register Capitol goga as a GW student group.
She then found that “there were a lot of great women out there,” and 30 to 40 GW women came to the last audition.
Besides this weekend’s show, Fink said Capitol goga is hosting an “Improv Jam” May 3 on the Marvin Center Terrace with barbeque and an open mic.
The group gets professional help from Leah Rader, a member of the Washington Improv Theater and director of Capitol goga.
Rader said she does not direct as much as teach group members, leading exercises to help them develop improv and acting skills and an ensemble attitude.
“One of the most important things is not you being funny as an individual; it’s helping each other look funny,” Rader said.
MacFarland said the group is different from other campus improv groups like Recess because Capitol Goga performs mostly long-form improv, which consists of extended scenes instead of shorter ones. Bucciferro said the shows are “very free form.” Friday’s show will also include pre-written sketches and videos.
The group practices three or four times a week, and group members said they hope to perform about eight times next year. Interest is high, and the ladies are certainly dedicated. A little spice and a bit of girl power may propel Capitol goga to the forefront of the GW community.
This article appeared in the April 25, 2002 issue of the Hatchet.