By MATT CRANE
If the Mayan calendar is right and the world does end on Dec. 21, 2012, Mississippi State University's improv troupe, Lab Rats Comedy, is ready to give audiences one last laugh riot with "Lab Rats: Defyin' the Mayans" at 9 p.m. Tuesday on the McComas Hall main stage.
LRC head director Matthew Hoelter said show ideas are discussed by the entire troupe weeks before each performance.
"Often times we will look at current or upcoming events," he said. "From there, we all throw out ideas, pick a few of our favorites, then the troupe as a whole votes on the one we like the best."
LRC longform director Hannah Proctor said the hype behind the mysterious Mayan calendar landed itself to a perfect theme for the improv troupe's last show of 2012.
"We enjoy opportunities to choose themes that are relevant to recent trends or events," she said. "Thanks to a surplus of media coverage on the subject, the Dec. 21 Mayan doomsday prophecy has grown iconic."
Hoelter said he describes the art of improvisation as a theatrical medium, performed in front of an audience but, unlike a play, performers have no scripts and must make up everything on the spot.
"Within improv, there are two distinct categories of shortform and longform with short form consisting of short, high energy games that often times have specific rules pertaining to that game lasting approximately three to five minutes," he said. "The easiest way to think about longform is like an improvised play, with multiple scenes and characters, spanning 15 minutes to upward of an hour. Lab Rats performs one longform scene at most of our standard shows."
Proctor said her involvement with Lab Rats has provided many wonderful opportunities and experiences, allowing her to become a more confident, analytical and diverse performer and person.
"My true gain from Lab Rats has been the relationships formed with its past and present member," she said. "From members that left the troupe in 2009 to the current member I saw tonight at rehearsal, these humans are some of the most unique, wonderful and talented friends I have ever known."
Hoelter said he echoed Proctor's sentiment of Lab Rats' opportunity to introduce him to a wide range of talented performers.
"Everyone in Lab Rats brings something unique to the practices and shows, whether it's their unique characters, timing or just sense of humor," he said. "And it's not just performers within Lab Rats, but all over. I've met people in Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York and more, all because of Lab Rats."
With the show highlighting the alleged impending doom of earth, Hoelter and Proctor offered differing theories for the cause of the world's destruction.
"'Jersey Shore' getting picked up for another season,' Hoelter said. "The commercialization of Christmas and jeggings," Proctor said.
However, both performers/directors said they do have back-up plans in case the Mayans are wrong.
"I'll have to scramble to purchase all my friends's and family's Christmas gifts that I thought I wasn't going to need," Hoelter said. "I'll turn on the History Channel and see what their next plan of action is since the Mayan doomsday specials will no longer be relevant," Proctor said.
"Lab Rats: Defyin' the Mayans" begins at 9 p.m. Tuesday on the McComas Hall main stage. Tickets are $5 and reservations can be made by visiting http://www.labratscomedy.com .