Subject to Change (STC), University of Richmond's improvisational comedy troupe, brought the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB), a traveling professional improv and sketch comedy group based in New York, to teach a workshop last week to improve their improv skills and put on a show for students.
STC is composed of 10 members, eight players and two directors, who were all selected to be a part of the group for their exceptional senses of humor and their outgoing personalities, Peyton Carter, WC '19, one of the STC directors, said.
Together they strive to make students laugh during all of their performances and improve their comedy skills during rehearsals.
UCB came to coach STC last year and did such a good job that STC invited them back again this year. STC’s first opportunity to show off what UCB taught them will be in STC's final show of the year, the Senior Roast Quad Show at midnight on April 19 in the Jepson Quad.
“They taught us about finding the game, which is the one thing you keep coming back to that’s like the common thread in your improv which is actually really hard to find,” Carter said.
During rehearsals, Carter and STC Co-Director Brad Hilzinger, RC '18, remind the group to “look for the game” constantly. The two directors offer constructive criticism and keep the highly energized group on task despite all the laughing, jumping, running and joking.
“We are able to be so weird with each other in practice and on stage,” STC member Alex Long, RC '17, said. “It is literally the coolest thing I have ever been a part of.”
Long said he has done some strange things for STC, such as running around in a nude leotard and Sia wig to promote Improvathon, a 24-hour improv show. Long also said that he has always had the support of the other STC members in case he felt uncomfortable or one of his jokes failed.
“The love and support comes so freely when [we are] performing between each other in STC,” Grant Hinman, RC '19, said.
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Hinman and the other members of STC said they love spending time with each other and are always laughing and joking outside of rehearsal. Laura Peterson, WC '20, said she was surprised that she could actually hang out with the other members and fit in so easily.
“We are all straight up like family,” Peterson said. “When you preform you are with people doing something that is very nerve-wracking, so you get closer with each other because you are in situations that are terrifying and we also bond over comedy.”
The STC family is something that cannot be replicated, Long said. But, seeing the members of UCB has given Long hope of finding something similar to STC after he graduates.
“I used to think that I was going to go and become a doctor and improv was just going to be a thing I did in college,” Long said, “but improv has become way too much a part of me.”
Contact contributor Caitlin Helsley at email@example.com.
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