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Sophomore Kat Abood (center), Senior Sarah Hess, and Junior Sam Stefanek of OU Improv perform a skit about batman wanting to be a dancer during "A Night of Musical Improv" in Baker Theatre on Saturday, February 26. OU Improv performed their usual improvised skits with helpful words or themes supplied the audience while singing their lines.

Improv troupe graces OU

Siblings who wish to laugh during their visit can find their medicine Friday night at the Forum Theater, where Chicago improv trio 21st Century Men will be taking the stage along with Ohio University’s Black Sheep Improv.

The 21st Century Men, made up of Kyle Bethea, Rob White and Farrell Walsh, are part of Chemically Imbalanced Comedy, a comedy group based in the Windy City.

They also happen to have connections to the Black Sheep — they’re friends with Black Sheep’s two coaches, Anthony Ellison and Ryan Dolan. Ellison wrote plays and performed with CIC and Dolan coached and performed.

Walsh said Chicago has become a sort of center for Ohio improv players, with Bethea of 21st Century Men hailing from the Ohio State campus and several players from OU getting involved in the improv scene, including Cat Abood, who graduated from OU last year.

Hannah Ticoras, president of Black Sheep, said this year the players have been fortunate to have Ellison and Dolan as coaches and to have the opportunity to share the stage with professionals like the 21st Century Men.

“We just got lucky that two people who have done improv came here ... and they were like ‘yeah, let’s teach it,’ ” Ticoras said.

Ticoras said it also gave the OU players a chance to see how professionals approach their craft, and to compare and contrast how their shows are different, but also similar.

21st Century Men perform a style of improv called long form improv, in which the group creates a piece out of about a half hour, Walsh said.

“We tend to play a little bit fast and a little bit dark, and if you’ve never seen long form it will definitely be interesting.” Walsh said. 

Claire Parlette, a first year player for Black Sheep, said she looks forward to seeing 21st Century Men perform as well as workshopping with them to gain more insight into how they approach performance.

“I mean, they’re professionals that are coming in; they do this, they spend a lot of time to do this for fun and it’s always great to watch people who start out like us,” Parlette said.


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