Illinois College’s improv troupe, Lincoln’s Security Detail, advanced to the finals this past weekend of the Windy City Regional which is one of 12 regional competitions for the College Improv Tournament.
“We competed against 15 teams,” Nancy Taylor Porter, associate professor of theatre, said. “We won our preliminary round against three other teams from Columbia College, University of Michigan and Dominican University. We then went on to the final round with the winners from the other preliminary rounds.”
Wheaton College was the eventual winner of the regional and will advance to the national championships in March, but Taylor Porter could not be happier with the way her students performed. “They've come so far in the 16 months I've been coaching them. I'm really proud of what they accomplished,” she said.
The format consists of each improv team performing 20 to 22 minutes in whatever style they wish, and then a panel of judges – all of whom have worked professionally in the field – vote and provide notes about each team. One judge commented about Lincoln’s Security Detail, “Good. I like the flow and energy of the whole piece.” Another said, “Big energy – awesome. Thank you.”
Eight students represented Illinois College in the tournament: seniors Willie Barefield, Brian Davenport, Carly Holmes, Jonathon Kirkham and Kelsey McFarren; juniors Logan Giesing and Mackenzie Ralph; and sophomore Jordan Jamison. Seniors Hayley Baker and Dwanee “Buster” Harrison, and first-year student Andrew Stroud were on other college-sponsored events and could not be present.
“About half the troupe is theatre majors, but the other half are from management, political science, etc. – which is very unusual,” Taylor Porter said. “This is a testament to the liberal arts. Almost all the other troupes we were competing against are comprised completely of theatre majors.”
The College Improv Tournament is a national tournament that spans five months and contains 12 Regional Tournaments that feed into a national tournament in Chicago. It is touted as the largest improv event in the world; CIT had over 126 teams from 115 universities and colleges last year. They say this year will be the biggest yet.