Whittier College’s WTF Improv group put on the lively show, Party Animalz, Friday Jan. 27. The show was jam-packed with jokes, fun, and laughter. The event drew a small audience, but what the crowd lacked in quantity they made up for in energy. With a boisterous crowd, loud music, and hilarious performers, most would say the show was a success.
The group is lead primarily by coach, junior Gunner Joachim, Assistant Coach, Junior Rachel Moran and President, Senior Audrey Booher. The group puts on 2-3 shows a semester and varies between performing long and short form skits.
“I think it’s a very unique performance art [meaning] that you get to embody the role of performer, director, and writer all rolled up into one because you’re creating everything on the spot,” Joachim said when asked to compare improvisational acting to traditional plays. “I also feel like it is a good team building exercise because you get to connect with a group of people through active listening and support.”
Joachim’s experience in improv is extensive. He first began this style of performance his freshman year of high school. As Head Coach here at Whittier College, either Joachimor Assitant CoachMoran are the host of the shows. “We have about 2-3 shows per semester,” Joachim said.“As coaches we teach concepts such as ‘yes and’ [which is] the art of accepting information and adding on to it, the art of creating characters. Together we craft the type of show we want to put on.”
According to Joachim, WTF Improv is an ever changing club, much like the skits they perform. “I think each year the club changes a little bit because the officers change hands and we have members who come in and out,” he said.
Though improv keeps its players on their toes, a concept that may seem daunting to some, WTF Improv holds a welcoming attitude towards members.
“Here the philosophy we have is very relaxed and inclusive, it’s not a huge time commitment because we know college students are busy and have to juggle a lot,” Joachim said. “We have for instance a kind of open door policy, so when we have practices everyone is welcome to come and participate and or watch. The only time we get strict with attendance is when we are preparing for a show.”
With only 2-3 shows a semester, the group has a lot of time to hone their craft. “We have a bit more time to focus on teaching improv rather than just doing it which I find is really beneficial as a coach because you learn with the other players and it’s beneficial to the players who then get to explore more in depth the concept and skills that they are doing,” Joachim said.
The preparation for a show like this one is not easy, sophomore performer Gabbie Lockwood said. “I’ve been in improv for a year and a half. I like it, it’s fun. It’s mostly games but it’s also very challenging. We generally do four or more practices where we run through the games we have chosen.” In regards to what’s in store for spring Lockwood said, “I’m looking forward to more long forms. We do a lot more of those in spring. I like those more because there is more story development.”
WTF Improv is always looking for new members to join in the fun. Their meetings are every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Deihl 104. “Everybody is welcome, you don’t have to have any previous experience with improv to join,” Joachim said. “We are open, you don’t have to come to every practice to be a member of improv. You also don’t have to participate; we will never force you. Anyone is welcome to sit in and watch.”
The team’s next show is March 3, the show after that is March 31 which is the April Fool’s Show, and then their final show is on April 21 which is their senior show in which the club honors graduating seniors and invite alumni back to play in the show.
At times the audience’s suggestions are just as funny as the actual performance. The comedic atmosphere is one of lightheartedness and fun, so mark your calendars for March 3 and come and support your local actors at Club 88 for a free night of laughs and entertainment.