Callie Jennings – email@example.com – Staff Writer | Oct. 29, 2014
No Lifeguard on Duty, UNC Asheville’s improvisational theater group, has new members hoping to further promote comedy and community within the student body.
“I’d never thought of myself as being good, or even a fan of improv so I had no interest in going to see the shows; however, somehow, one night I ended up at a NLOD improv show with a couple of my friends. I recognized most of the people up onstage, but believe me there was no bias in my mind while watching the show – it was funny, hilarious even, and it seemed like so much fun,” said Nathan Singer, junior and member of NLOD.
Singer joined the group last fall with his friend and current teammate, Olivia Medoff.
“After the show, I remember the team members had a promotional meeting for their upcoming auditions, so I got all the information I needed and ended up going out for the team,” Singer said. “Olivia and I went to every workshop, then callbacks and finally got in. I was so excited to make it that I couldn’t stop jumping around my room. I made sure my roommates, friends and parents all knew I was now part of the improv team.”
NLOD’s faculty adviser is Laura Bond, chair of the drama department. The team currently has eight members, three of whom are new this fall.
“We have not had any shows this year due to scheduling issues mostly and just making sure the team is ready. After quite a large roster shift from last spring we want to be the best we can be before jumping into a show,” said Jacob Williams, a senior.
Singer expects the first show of the season in November.
“Right now we’re still in the training phase with our newest members, as well as reviving our skills after the long summer break,” Singer said.
Singer said improv team is fun and freeing.
“It gives us the time and place to be outside of ourselves and our jam-packed lives, because in those moments when we come together to play we are able to be whoever and whatever we want to be, without any struggles or worries in the world. In a way, improv is like therapy,” Singer said.
Williams said he’s been on the team since the initial idea of the improv team began.
“I love it because it is a very fun art form that I can participate in and it never gets old. I joined because I was at some of the initial meetings prior to the club starting and was given the invite to help start the team from co-founders Tommy Moore and Colette Heiser,” Williams said.
Last year, NLOD show filled the Grotto to capacity, which is roughly 150 people. For future shows, the team hopes to perform in bigger spaces like the Humanities Lecture Hall or Alumni Hall.
“The fall semester is normally more short form – little scenes and games. The spring semester is normally more long form – long scenes, stories and interconnected scenes. This is because the long form games take more time to practice and really get in the swing of it –
in other words, they’re more advanced,” Singer said. “So, during our training of the newest members, we start out with only short form and then gradually work our way up to playing long form.”
Singer and Williams agree the audience always seems to respond well to whatever they perform and are there to support them just as much as they are there to enjoy themselves.
“I’ve been to a couple shows now and they get me every time. Jacob is a good friend of mine so initially I went for him, but the whole group is cool. It’s pretty funny. They do well and really get the audience involved. It’s a good time,” said Jonas LeMieux, a junior.