“I kind of threw it together, so it’s a little mix and match. But here it goes,” said Kevin Klein ’11, as he dived into a sketch about politicians changing the National Anthem to a rap.
His words could easily serve as the mission statement for the improvisational comedy group Theatre Sports (or T-Sports, as it’s known on campus) whose annual “24-hour T-Sports” performance ran from 7 p.m. Friday, April 24, to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 25, in Olin 130.
Regaling audience members while losing sleep, T-Sports players raised $775 for Blue Mountain Heart-to-Heart, a non-profit organization that provides support to those affected by HIV/AIDS in the Walla Walla area.
Although no admission fee was charged, audience members were encouraged to leave small donations, and spectators were invited to design original skits for the team to act out—for the “price” of a donation. T-Sports also team auctioned off items donated by local businesses.
The group wrapped up its twenty-fourth and final hour feeling good about the performance and the money raised for Blue Mountain Heart-to-Heart. “We exceeded our total from last year, and we had a really great turn-out. I think it went really well,” said Alex Kerr ’10.
While the goal of the performance was to raise funds for charity, the 24-hour time span also served as a comedic endurance test of sorts for T-Sports members eager to refine their improv skills. Players took only short breaks, keeping members on stage at all times. According to Kerr, T-Sports incorporated the time aspect into their performance, featuring the “nubes at two,” when the newer members of the improv group took the stage at 2 a.m. and 2 p.m., and the “‘evins at seven,” featuring a full hour of antics by players named Evan, Devin, Kevin and Kevin.
“It was fantastic,” said first-time audience member Sara Rasmussen ’12, who attended the beginning, middle and ending portions of the 24 hours. “I have to say, I was very impressed.”
Audience enthusiasm was high, according to Michaela Gianotti ’12, who noted that at least 10 people were in the audience at 4 a.m. “It was pretty bizarre earlier this morning,” Gianotti said. “Around 10 a.m. they weren’t making a lot of sense. But the last two hours were really great.”
Among their favorite moments of the show, said Gianotti and Rasmussen, were Kerr’s performance of a human Ouija board, Klein’s “rant” about Portland, and a scene inspired by the theme “world’s worst babies,” an idea that Rasmussen suggested.
T-Sports, historically a very popular presence on campus, has been particularly active this year, hosting three workshops during the spring semester and opening for Sidecar Comedy, a professional act including Whitman alumnus Alden Ford ’04 that performed on campus April 14.
“I feel like 24-hour T-Sports was a lot more fun to do than it was last year, because we had all of this previous experience in Chicago over spring break,” said Peter Richards ’10.
In March, T-Sports members spent five days attending comedy workshops and shows in Chicago, a hub for improv comedy known for such famous groups as the Second City. The trip was sponsored by ASWC.
“Just bringing that energy back and applying it in ways that we haven’t been able to do in rehearsal… we got to be in a really good place,” Richards said.