Laughing the night away with Theatre Sports

Shannon Buckham

Laughing the night away with Theatre Sports | Kozek“Do I have a best friend? Well of course I do. It’s my hand.” Jokes like these had the entire audience laughing hysterically ten minutes after 10 pm on Tuesday Sep. 16. The comedy came from Whitman’s improve theater group known as T-sports, who put on their first performance of the school year.

There were no scripts, no props (except for chairs) and yet the audience never stopped laughing. “I fully believe in improv as a form of performance, and I want to be involved in it for the rest of my life,” said Sarah Hatheway.

The seven person team – sophomore Finn Straley, junior Peter Richards, senior Evan Cartwright, senior Sarah Hatheway, senior Kevin Moore, senior Benjamin Kegan, and alumni student Julie McQuary – come from different backgrounds with improv and acting.
For Kegan, his first experience participating in T-Sports was his first year at Whitman when he went to audition for T-Sports after seeing it once and thinking that it looked like fun. “It’s just really fun to go up on stage and make a fool of yourself,” Kegan said of his experiences.

Hatheway likes the additional challenge of thinking on her feet. “Nothing compares to the rush of being on stage without the safety net of a script to fall back on. It’s a discipline that tests your memory, your confidence, and your knowledge of everything from ancient history to pop culture,” she said.

Kegan believes the most important part of T-Sports is that individuals are “willing to fail and take risks. Improv is not stand-up comedy, it’s not about jokes. You have to be able to tell a story.”

This event, the first one of the year, is one of many T-Sports will put on throughout the year. Kegan said the team plans to have a couple shows a month to provide “safe, alcohol-free, campus-wide entertainment.”

“I think there’s something wonderfully interactive about experiencing improv live: you know that you’re never going to see the same show twice. It’s exciting to watch people doing what they love. The fact that we’re all very good looking and charming probably helps,” said Hatheway when asked why students come to improv shows.

Students had varied reactions to the show. First year Caitlin Feeney said “I really like “Who’s Line is it Anyway?”, so this was fun to watch.”

Alyssa Fairbanks, another first year student was more critical, “It was really funny,” she said “but I felt like they could have had more of a variety of games.”

During finals week, T-Sports puts on short shows for the purpose of giving students a short break. Kegan said, “It’s a great break from studying. It’s a therapeutic laugh, and a chance to fool around.”

Along with these promoted campus-wide performances, T-Sports puts on bi-weekly shows in Kimball Theater that provide an experimental form of improv. In these smaller shows, the team tries out new forms of improv in a community setting.

The improve group’s highlighted performance of the year happens in the spring when they put on a 24-hour T-Sports fundraiser for Blue Mountain Heart-to-Heart, a non-profit organization that supports people living with HIV/AIDS. The fundraiser provides an excellent opportunity for excessive amounts of coffee and team bonding.

Kegan said that his best friends have been in T-Sports. “It’s a cool feeling, there is a high level of trust within the group,” he said.