NMU Improv: providing deep laughs

Andy Frakes

The NMU Improv group had its first interest meeting in the basement of Gant and Spalding halls on August 30.

Billiard balls clacked loudly in the background as students filtered downstairs to sit in the circle of chairs Javonte Thompson had set up.re-improv color

Thompson is a senior theater major and president of the improv group. His experience in performing stretches back nine years, to when he was in junior high; he was involved in plays and productions throughout high school and has a mission in mind for NMU’s new improv group.

“This group is going to do improv, but in a socially-conscious way,” Thompson told the group.

He explained that the goal was to tackle current events and social issues in the skits the group would put on during shows.

“Because of this,” Thompson said, “we’re technically registered as a community service organization, and you can log Superior Edge hours for what we do.”

Lenny Shible, head of the Center for Student Enrichment, came into the meeting carrying pizzas shortly after Thompson had gotten started.

Shible and Thompson have been working together for some time and will share some leadership and organization duties for the new group.

“One thing we’re trying to do here is get people comfortable communicating in front of groups,” Shible said. “And humor tends to open up doors that standing and lecturing do not.”

Shible’s department is responsible for multiple programs on campus designed to improve and enrich the student experience, as the name implies, through volunteering programs and student organizations like the improv group.

“The truth is, sometimes you present information to a whole group of students and you expect to change all their minds, but that isn’t reality,” Shible said. “If we can perform for 20 or 30 kids and we get one or two to think differently, that’s a home run in my book.”

To learn more about NMU Improv, you can sign up for their texting service (text “@nmuimprov” to 81010) to receive regular updates about meeting times and performances.

Contributing: Caitlin Schiller