CDA hosts last improv show of the semester


CW / Joe Will Field

Kinsley Centers | @KinsleyCenters, Staff Reporter

The College of Engineering Does Amateur Radical Theater (CDA) hosted the “Improvapalooza 2: Electric Boogaloo” on October 16, 2019, in the Ferguson Center Theatre. Students gathered to watch their fellow peers perform an improv show. The CDA President and director of the show gives insight on what it takes to prepare. 

Tori Sokolow, a freshman majoring in nursing, said she is no stranger to improv since it is popular in her hometown, Knoxville, Tennessee. She has gone to the College of Engineering Does Amateur Radical Theater improv shows in the past; however, the latest was the most exciting for her. She was there to not only watch the show, but to also support her friend, Maria Grenyo, who was a part of the cast.

“So, I’ve been to the past two, and this was honestly I think the best so far,” Sokolow said. “I think that they incorporated a lot of new games, and for only meeting once a week, as far as I’m concerned, I’m very impressed with how put-together their shows are, especially because it’s not rehearsed. It’s just improv.”

CDA is the only improv group on campus. Ansley Weaver, a junior majoring in communicative disorders, is the CDA president and said she was pleased with how the night turned out.

“We were happy to hear a lot of laughter and see a lot of excited faces while I was taking tickets,” Weaver said.

To prepare for the improv shows throughout the semester, CDA has weekly workshops. One week they may work on character development and then work on scene development the next. They rehearse by doing a variety of short-form and long-form games to showcase to the University during their shows. During these workshops, they strive to get people familiar with improv as a whole.

“Also, to get people who aren’t as familiar with improv at all a little bit more comfortable with it, whether it’s just by watching it or by breaking out their comfort zone and being in scenes themselves,” Weaver said.

William Cunzeman, a senior majoring in aerospace engineering, was the director of the latest improv show. He and the cast have been practicing for the show over the past week.

“We did a really great show tonight,” Cunzeman said. “I’m really proud of it.”

The bond between the cast and audience during the show had high energy. Cunzeman said improv is about creating that bond with the audience along with having that interactivity. 

There was laughter among the audience as the cast acted comedically with enthusiasm and confidence. Cunzeman believed it was a good crowd.

“The reaction of the audience was really helpful,” Cunzeman said.  “It’s also very helpful for us performing, you know, feeding off what the audience likes and stuff like that.”

With only having one to two weeks to prepare, Cunzeman said the cast did a great job as they applied the golden rules of improv. They rehearsed throughout the week while still participating in the weekly workshops, which are held by the organization. He said CDA is working on providing more time to prepare to allow the shows to be even better than before.

“Improv is really the act of improvisation right, saying something without knowing how it’s going to end you know,” Cunzeman said. “So truly, those are muscles that you just exercise by doing it. In terms of practicing for shows, we will rehearse specific rules of games and stuff to kind of get our minds in what works for specific games and stuff. Improv is one of those things that you know you just keep chipping away at and you’ll get better at.”

CDA is an open organization. They have workshops on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. in Lloyd Hall 133 where they teach the basics of improv and provide the opportunity to learn the skills to perform and use in life.

This was the last improv show of the semester; however, there are two scripted shows coming up in late October and early November that will both be directed and performed by students.