On Jan. 31, Lawrence University’s own Best Friends Improv Team will host their first performance of 2020 in Harper Hall. The Lawrentian spoke with sophomore team members Emma Bergholz and Kelly Foy to preview the upcoming performance, and to learn more about the team. Foy was very excited for the team to have their Harper Hall debut. She stated, “It’s amazing to be able to host shows on the same stage as such talented students,” such as conservatory performers. She added that finding a venue to accommodate a “a wacky improv show” is not always easy, but the team is interested in exploring other spaces in the upcoming year, such as Cloak Theater.
Bergholz and Foy each spoke to what drew them to the team and their relationship to improv comedy. Both team members first dabbled in the form when they were in high school. Bergholz took improv classes in high school after being inspired by listening to many improvisational comedy podcasts. “The group that inspired me most is called Wild Horses,” said Begholz, “an all-women improv team based in L.A.” Foy was most inspired by her older brother, Ryan, who she said is “amazing at both improv and stand-up comedy.” She noted that she “probably wouldn’t have started if it weren’t for him.” Her start was in high school as a member of a small troupe called “Harold and Maude.” She added that she got more serious about the troupe during her senior year, when it “was something that brought me a lot of peace throughout [her] stressful senior year of high school.”
Both team members spoke enthusiastically about Best Friends Improv practices, which are “the best part” according to Foy. Begholz explained: “Practices usually involve a quick warm-up to get us thinking on our feet, and then we do scenes with a focus on a specific skill we need to work on as a team. Then we usually end with a long form game, the ones we do in the shows.” Foy added that someone will often take notes during the long game practices in order to give feedback at the end. She also alluded to a unique game that the team made up, but insisted that it is secret and only for team members.
For those interested in learning this secret game or in learning more about improv comedy and joining in the fun, the team holds auditions each Fall Term. According to Bergholz, auditions are very similar to the team’s usual practices in that they warm up and do scenes, trying to get a feel for the potential team members. Foy noted that improv comedy is “an amazing outlet for anyone to perform, break out of their shell, or even just dip their toes into the comedy scene!”
This term, the team will put on three performances, the first on Jan. 31, at 9 p.m. in Harper Hall. The team will follow up with two additional performances before spring break on Feb. 21, and Mar. 13. Best Friends Improv has a Facebook page where those interested can get updates on upcoming performances: facebook.com/lawrenceimprov.