Puns. Some people hate ‘em, and some people love ‘em, but only the latter group is correct and heavenbound.
That’s why you need not worry the afterlife whereabouts of Roller Ghoster, whose practice was more delightfully pun-heavy than any group I have profiled. A bread-centric character was dismissed as being too “kneady.” A fumbling pallbearer “dropped the pall.” And of course, their name is a pun.
But that’s the least of the things to like about Roller Ghoster. They have chemistry in spades, support each other unshakably, and laughed and laughed and laughed throughout the whole practice, in spite of employing one of the more the difficult formats you’ll come across.
That format would be Goon River, which calls for impeccable timing, poise, and a certain amount of choreography, at least in the way they do it. They tell a story over a series of monologues, with each player acting out a part of her or his creation. The story (always a small-town tragedy, in this case), calls for a bit of careful musical chairs as players take their seat at the conclusion of their monologues without crossing over the new speaker or being otherwise disruptive.
Goon River by itself doesn’t always include a death, but in Roller Ghoster’s iteration, it does (the pun of their name has meaning!) That gives the players something of a goal to get to, and “having a goal from point A to point B makes you think more creatively,” explained Chase DeMoss.
“What we’re trying to do, with someone dying, allows us to be more theatrical,” added Wendy Rousseau.
“(We modified it because) we wanted to be able to actually play and do games within the format,” said Patrick Galloway.
The rest of the troupe is Meili Chao, Eric Van Leeuwen, Patrick Galloway, Dane Robertson, Samantha Ryder, and Bryan Levy. They are coached by Allie Trimboli.
“I have a special place in my heart for these guys. They are the first group that made me say, ‘this is why I teach improv,” said Allie.
That love clearly extended intra-troupe, as they all echoed sentiments about how damn badly they miss playing with each other when real life compels them to miss a practice or a show. Stupid real life.
Roller Ghoster is slated to begin their King Of The Mountain run in November, but if you’re lucky, you might catch them in a Block Party or two before that.
Kevin Beane graduated from the DCH improv program in 2016 and is in the DCH troupe Preschool Fight Club. He also cohosts Quizprov, with occasional DCH shows, and performs in the Dallas-area troupe Autocomplete.He likes sports, eating, sleeping, board games, poker, euchre, and procrastinating. He hails from Akron, Ohio.