For the average Trinity student, the day can, at moments, feel overly structured by classes, jobs and extracurriculars, to name just a few items that might be on your Google Calendar. But if you’ve been longing for some spontaneity in your life, look no further: Trinity’s most recent longform improvisational comedy group Buddy Buddy is your new best friend.
This past spring, senior Elizabeth Metzger, motivated by an absence of longform improv on campus, teamed up with Dan Grimm and Tina Jackson at Bexar Stage, a San Antonio theater focused on longform improvisation, and Trinity University Players to put out a casting call for a new show on campus.
Having performed in multiple shows together since the start of last semester, both off-campus at Bexar Stage and at Trinity’s Café Theater, Buddy Buddy members attest to how they’ve enjoyed developing their performance skills as a group.
“[Improv is] different every single time, but then at the same time when you’re in a troupe, you still get more familiar with how your fellow players play. And so I remind myself of like, ‘Oh, this is their play style, and that’s his play style, and oh right, this is how I play … my improv style with them,’ ” said Kerry Madden, junior and Buddy Buddy cast member.
Buddy Buddy shows are structured based on the standard La Ronde improv format, in which all the characters exist within the same world, but only two characters will interact within a given scene. After a certain amount of time, one other cast member will tag someone out of the scene to replace them and start a new interaction.
While this format provides structure for the show, any sort of restriction put on the whims of the cast members stops here.
“The form of improv overall is just so inherently fun that it’s like, it feels good to laugh. People like to laugh. It’s really fun to go to rehearsals and get to play and be different people and laugh at one another and laugh at yourself. We’re being goofballs really most of the time. But it’s like, ‘How do you be the best goofball?’ ” Madden asked.
While a typical Buddy Buddy show will have the cast create unique characters and stories, group members are fueled by audience suggestions and laughter until the curtain closes.
“My favorite thing about being in Buddy Buddy is the freedom to explore the characters I make in improv as opposed to ending them in shortform [improvisation],” said junior Lamonte Brooks, a member of Buddy Buddy.
Metzger now helps to coach members of Buddy Buddy to develop their improvisational skills in building scenes and characters as preparation for the performances.
“They’re all very unique players … I think they make very unique, very cool choices and I love that I can help them in any way just to like notice that I’m like, ‘Oh you do this a lot. You’re very detail oriented,’ ” Metzger said.
Buddy Buddy is back to practicing together this semester with the goal of bringing audiences more shows in the future.
“When you start creating something together, you don’t wanna stop creating because every show is different. Every show is new and every time you do it, you get better,” Metzger said.