Black Squirrel Improv Troupe makes its mark on campus

Angelo Angel

At first glance, Zachery Immel could be like any student at Kent State, but when he isn’t studying for his psychology classes, he’s busy directing the Black Squirrel Improv Troupe.

The Black Squirrel Improv Troupe was founded back in 2007.

Immel said the improv group consists of individuals from all walks of life, whether they’re seniors completing their last semesters, or freshmen who are eager to prove themselves.

“I found out about the group when I was a freshmen starting out my (first) semester,” Immel said. “I just wanted to get involved and I found a place within Black Squirrel Improv where I felt comfortable.”

Immel explained that when he first joined the group, there were around seven or eight members. At one point, the group only had four members. As time progressed, more joined.

The troupe acts on completely random suggestions and works to accommodate each scenario.

“Basically, we have two acts per show,” Immel said. “The first act consists of a warm up game and then some short-form games which means we have to follow a structure, like whatever the audience member suggest for example.”

The second act consists of a couple of short games followed by a ‘long game’ which means the actors create their own scenarios and go along with the plot for as long as they can.

Vice President Dana Bauman, a senior fashion merchandising major, said the group accepts anyone regardless of major or class standing.

Bauman emphasizes that the group acts like a tight-knit family, playing off each others strengths and serves as an outlet to release stress.

“Our practices have become an outlet for all the stress I’m experiencing, and all the members have become a second family to me,” Bauman said. “If I’m having the worst day imaginable, I know that the second I enter that practice room I can leave all my cares at the door and even just for two hours twice a week, everything will be fine.”

Another member of the troupe, Katharine Rarick, a senior special education major, joined the group in the fall of 2013 after transferring to Kent.

“Being a ‘theatre kid’ all throughout high school I knew I wanted to find a group on campus that would satisfy my theatre kids needs,” Rarick said.

The Black Squirrel Improv Troupe has its first show of the year on Feb. 19 at the Kiva Center.

Angelo Angel is an entertainment reporter for The Kent Stater.