Each year, Northwestern’s improv team, the Black V, holds open tryouts to fill spots which have been vacated by graduating seniors. On Sept. 1, two rounds of tryouts were held and later that night, the team chose their new members: Lucas Heiberger, a sophomore, and Becky Ochoa, a freshman. The team also selected junior Abby Bliss as their new stage manager.
Returning members have some specific goals to work towards this year with the help of their new teammates.
“We wanted to become a group that is better with crazier physicality,” said junior James Teutschmann. “When we do physical acting, we want it to look like more than what you can actually see; you don’t have to imagine as much of what is going on.”
Sophomore Abbey Slattery expanded on this idea. “Last year, we were really funny and witty, but we just kinda stood there,” Slattery said. “This year, we want to work on moving around more.”
As one of the second-year members, Teutschmann said he struggled for a long time to find a sense of belonging on the V. He expressed his hope that the new members have a different experience.
“This year we’re really trying to promote all new members trying new things and make sure that everyone feels like they have a place on the team,” Teutschmann said. “We want the new members to feel like they are just as important as everyone else. I don’t know how they feel, but I think we’re going to encourage them to help lead games as well as play them. Everyone’s important, everyone has something to give.”
Heiberger and Ochoa said they weren’t overly nervous about joining the team. Heiberger attended many of the shows last year and talked about a couple of improv games he is looking forward to playing this year.
“I’m really excited for Party Quirks,” Heiberger said. “I’m also a big fan of mannequins. Not real mannequins in the store, but the game.”
Ochoa has only learned three games with the V so far, but that isn’t fazing her. “I did improv in high school, so I’m pretty comfortable with it,” Ochoa said.
Bliss has attended nearly every on-campus Black V show since her freshman year.
“I knew about the Black V before I got to Northwestern,” Bliss said. “I would watch videos about Northwestern-y things before I got here and there were some old Black V YouTube videos. When I got to campus and saw their O-Prov show as a freshman, I was sold.”
Bliss will work with senior Alison Kuglin in preparation for taking over the stage managing position. Bliss’ experience as a stage manager in NW theater productions prepared her to jump into this new role.
“I love this group of people and I love stage managing, so I can’t wait,” Bliss said.
Slattery summed up her teammates’ sentiments with a goal she hopes to see accomplished.
“I think we’re all just excited to see how we all mature and grow this year,” Slattery said, “and how much we change and improve.”
The Black V typically performs on campus once a month. Look for white posters displaying a large black “V” announcing upcoming shows.