North Texas Daily

Improv club heads to national competition

Improv club heads to national competition

Improv club heads to national competition
January 27
10:52 2014

Steven James // Staff Writer

UNT’s Cell Block Tango heads to national championship

Cell Block Tango, UNT’s Improv Comedy Club competition team,, will be heading to national competition in Chicago on Mar. 1 after unanimously winning the Southwestern Regionals.

RTVF senior Daniel Matthews, the club’s president, said that this is the first year in UNT Improv’s history that a team will be going to nationals. The team won the Southwestern Regionals in Austin on Jan. 11 against 10 other troupes, or teams of performers. A panel of judges voted UNT’s squad first place.

“We weren’t nervous while we were performing at regionals, but we were nervous while the judges were announcing the winners,” he said. “We beat last year’s national champions.”

The three man improv group show off their plaque from the recently won the 2012-2013 College Improv Tournament Southwest Regional Championships. Photo by Kristen Watson / Staff Photographer

The three man improv group show off their plaque from the recently won the 2012-2013 College Improv Tournament Southwest Regional Championships. Photo by Kristen Watson / Staff Photographer

Spanish and RTVF senior Colten Winburn said that when competing, the troupe is given a subject and must play off the subject in a monoscene, an act in which performers play the same characters in the same setting for 20 minutes. The group’s subject at regionals was “submarine.”

“When we were given the subject of submarine, we were all like, ‘Yeah, we get to play around in a submarine,’” Winburn said. “There was a guy in the audience who was constantly laughing at us. We figured that it was some guy who used to be in the navy who is thinking, ‘These guys have no idea what they are doing.’”

The judges who gave the team a unanimous first place finish were made up of professional improvisers, comedians and improv teachers.

Although the team won the regional competition, they have to pay a $30 entrance fee as well as their own travel expenses, for which they are currently applying for travel grants.

“We, as a team, have been competing for the last three years,” mathematics senior Ryan Goldsberry said. “We are confident that we will at least make it to finals. Paying the extra cash isn’t a big deal.”

Goldsberry also said that being a part of the improv team helps build confidence.

“Every accomplishment I’ve done in college so far is because of the confidence I gained in Improv Club,” Goldsberry said. “I was really shy and afraid to get on stage when I first started going to meetings.”

Winburn said that being a part of improv also helps build teamwork skills.

“When you’re out there on stage, you’re not worrying about trying to make yourself look good, you’re trying to make your teammates look good,” Winburn said. “You’re learning to support other peoples’ ideas.”

UNT’s Improv Comedy Club hosts free comedy workshops on Monday nights at 8 p.m. in Wooten Hall 322 and gives free performances at 8 p.m. on Thursday nights in Terrill Hall 120.

Goldsberry said that people who go to a couple of meetings can get up on stage during the Thursday night performances if they wish. The club’s Facebook page can be found here (https://www.facebook.com/UNTImprovCC) and the Twitter account here (https://twitter.com/untimprov).

Winburn, Matthews and Goldsberry make some funny faces Saturday in the theater. Photo by Kristen Watson / Staff Photographer

Winburn, Matthews and Goldsberry make some funny faces Saturday in the performing arts theater. Photo by Kristen Watson / Staff Photographer

Feature photo:  Spanish and radio, television and film senior Colton Winburn, radio, television and film senior Daniel Matthews and math senior Ryan Goldsberry make up a three man improv troupe that performs Thursday nights in room 120 in Terrill Hall at 8 p.m. Photo by Kristen Watson / Staff Photographer 

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