Improv: Chaos required

Wyatt Duncan, Staff Writer

Pictured, from left to right: (back row) Ian Ritchings (sophomore, music major), Evan Hamlin (junior, theatre major), Paulina Bennett (senior, voice major), Chase Bridges (freshman, broadcast media major), James Gilbert (junior, interdisciplinary studies major), Tanner Dean (sophomore, theatre). (middle row) Jake Quinn (junior, biology major), Emily Smith (junior, theatre major), Rachel Gasdia (freshman, spanish major), DeAndra Watkins (sophomore, theatre major). (front row) Austin Smith (senior, theatre major).  Photo courtesy of Emily Smith.

Pictured, from left to right: (back row) Ian Ritchings (sophomore, music major), Evan Hamlin (junior, theatre major), Paulina Bennett (senior, voice major), Chase Bridges (freshman, broadcast media major), James Gilbert (junior, interdisciplinary studies major), Tanner Dean (sophomore, theatre). (middle row) Jake Quinn (junior, biology major), Emily Smith (junior, theatre major), Rachel Gasdia (freshman, spanish major), DeAndra Watkins (sophomore, theatre major). (front row) Austin Smith (senior, theatre major). Photo courtesy of Emily Smith.

“One, two, three, go.” A crowd of costumed students yell out as North Greenville University’s improv team, Required Chaos, begins their next acting game.

On the night of October 31, Required Chaos hosted its first official show in Hamlin Recital Hall for the NGU student body. All seats in the recital hall were filled and people lined the walls of the room with some even sitting on the floor to watch the show. The team performed a handful of improv games, creating scenes and characters for the enjoyment of everyone present.

The team's captain, Austin Smith comments, “I hold the term ‘captain’ very loosely. I don’t consider myself to be better than any other person on the team.”

Smith explains that everyone on the team learns a lot about the art of theatre; even him.

The team members meet for practice whenever the can, running through games and activities that help them hone their skills as actors and improvers. Smith explains that in rehearsals, they “ask questions, we do [the games], we put them on their feet, and then we look at them and ask, what worked? What didn’t work?” Smith stressed the importance of communication between a team or cast, especially in the spontaneous art of improv.

Pictured: Required Chaos prepares for a game at its first show of the school year.  Photo courtesy of Lauren Dibble. 

Pictured: Required Chaos prepares for a game at its first show of the school year. Photo courtesy of Lauren Dibble. 

Smith said the team works very well together.

“I would safely argue that we have some of the best members on this team that I have ever seen... They are witty, (so) smart, quick on their feet, funny and just overall have great personalities. [They’re] fun people to work with. I wish [NGU students] could have a look into our rehearsals, because it’s one big family. That sounds cliché, but of course that’s what I want our team to be: a family.”

The members of the team fall on a scale of dry and quick-witted to fast-on-their-feet and able to create “more outlandish, bigger” characters and scenarios.

Smith says, “The dynamic in our group is very interesting and intricate, but it works so much. I hadn’t really understood that until this team started getting together and working. I love the diversity in our team.”

For an 11-member team, it is not difficult to see the biggest challenge for Required Chaos is scheduling. With that in mind, Smith says the team hopes to have at least three more shows this school year. He suggests, “Maybe we’ll have a tacky, quirky Christmas sweater … contest.”

While the spring semester is busy for theatre majors on the team, they hope to have at least two shows. 

Smith says, “Ultimately, it’s about [the audience]. Required Chaos exists to be a … positive impact on this campus, to be a light. [We want the team to be] an hour or so of forgetfulness, so that [the audience] can forget about their homework for an hour, forget about their exams and tests, their stress, their college lives, and just come have fun with us.”

Smith was adamant about bringing joy and laughter to NGU’s campus, even mentioning the Clown’s Prayer— something the team keeps in mind as they practice and perform.

Smith repeated, “We forget so easily that God hasn’t created us to be stressed 24/7 and to be bogged down with to-do lists. So, our mission as a team is to allow the campus to forget momentarily all the unpleasantness of their lives.”

Some members of Required Chaos celebrate after a successful show.  Photo by Wyatt Duncan

Some members of Required Chaos celebrate after a successful show. Photo by Wyatt Duncan

As the semester winds down, Required Chaos is just getting started and the entire campus has hours of laughter, joy and light to enjoy in the future.

Follow Required Chaos on Facebook and Instagram @requiredchaos