Entrepreneurship class presents pop-up guerrilla theater improv event

Devin Wilmott Devin

Three students from Bill Malone’s Management 310 entrepreneurship class rented out Cafe Diem on Saturday night to hold a pop-up guerrilla theater event. 

The event started at 7 p.m. and was welcomed with a full house. Guests paid $20 to see Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival, Iowa State’s own student improv group. 

The event was a voluntary extra-credit assignment for students in Management 310. The goal of the assignment was to give students a chance to test their business skills in the real world. Everything the audience saw was brought to them by the students. 

The students were given the opportunity to develop a concept, hire a talent, market the event and, last but not least, execute it. Now that the evening is over, the students are also responsible for evaluating marketplace feedback, splitting the profits and reporting their experience back to the class.

There were several groups that participated in this project, all having and executing their own ideas. The groups hosted their events on different nights, but there was one event in particular that stood out. 

Knowing not that many people are exposed to guerrilla theatre improvisation, Miranda Walz, Heather Kuhlmann and Matt Rhoades set out to make an event worth remembering for their audience.

Prior to the show, guests were waited on by voluntary servers. The menu, made by the trio, offered various alcoholic drinks and small entrees. All the drinks and food were made by the trio. The menu ranged from pomegranate margaritas, La Marka sparkling wine and caramel apple cider to pumpkin spice lattes and kebabs. Along with a dinner came a show that the audience would have never expected. 

The trio contracted with Grandma Mojo’s and scheduled them to perform at the event. The improvisation group Saturday night consisted of six Iowa State Students, all from different walks and studies of discipline. Ethan Peterson, head of the Mojos, was accompanied by Cassie Detrick, Adam Mollerup, Chris Tedford, Chris Grimand and Taylor Diles.

The six used stage names to hide their identity during the skit. Before the show began, the audience had no idea the actors were actually sitting down at random tables drinking cocktails as if they were there to watch the show as well. 

The improv started off with a fight between a “random couple” in the middle of Cafe Diem. Out of nowhere a girl, Samantha, threw water on her boyfriend, Tom. Samantha ranted about Tom being on his phone all the time while Tom acted nonchalant about her concerns. Fed up, Samantha left the Cafe. 

Tom, without a ride home, sat at the table puzzled and discouraged. After ease dropping the fight, two guys by the name of Chris and Todd plotted on how to win Samantha. While this was happening, Dave and Mark, guys who were also ease dropping, contemplated if they should go talk to Tom about his breakup.

Dave and Mark went over to Tom and convinced him to call Samantha to come back to Cafe Diem. Samantha returned and explained to Tom how she thinks their relationship has reached its “expiration date.” She began to leave again, but then was stopped by Chris and Todd and asked if she wanted to hang out later. 

Dave and Mark saw that the two were trying to “hit on” Samantha and called them out. They then expressed Todd’s feelings to Samantha and how she should give him another chance. Tom chimed in and told her how much he loved her and they exchanged feelings for one another. The couple apologized for the fight and made up with a hug. As the couple exited to skit, the audience began to applaud.

“It was amazingly weird and funny,” said Mwape Mwanakatwe, junior in management. “It’s not your typical Saturday night activity, and I think they really did a good job on the decor. You almost feel like you’re ease dropping, so it keeps you at the edge of your seat.” 

Zaneta Jones, graduate assistant in architecture, agreed with Mwabe and said: “It was a great show. I definitely got my money’s worth.”

The two heard about the show from posters around campus and agreed that it was a great way to spend their Saturday night.

“It was a huge success, I think we had a great turnout from the costumers. But more importantly, I think the students had a great time and really got to interface with the market place,” Malone said.

Malone introduced the extra credit opportunity at the beginning of the semester and the students have been working hard on it ever since.

Walz, Coleman and Rhoades are proud of the turnout and shared that the goals they set for the project were reached. 

“It was really fun to see it all unravel today,” Walz said.

“I just think we work really well together as a group and I thought it went great,” Coleman said.

The trio have agreed to split the profit by 33 percent, and now get to share their experience with the rest of the Management 310 class.