After last year’s celebration of 25 years since their founding, The Black V is back and with them are some unfamiliar faces. The Black V is a campus improv group that holds monthly on campus shows as well as several shows off campus. With 25 years of experience under their belt, The Black V has cast a legacy at Northwestern with several staff and faculty members being former members of the group.
This year The Black V added four new members These members include freshman music education major Ben Geary, freshman biology major Ruth Zimmerman, sophomore graphic design major Nathania Smith and transfer junior youth ministry major Kacey Zickefoose.
Excitement throughout The Black V is at an all-time high, as new members are ready to grow and learn, and veteran members open their hearts to welcome them into the group. Junior social enterprise major Tabitha Thatcher was open to sharing her feelings, “The new members add a very different dynamic to the V. It has been exciting to already get to see each of their comedic strengths. I think this year we have a lot of energy and enthusiasm.”
While talking to the new members, it is easy to see just the different dynamics they bring that Thatcher mentioned. Each brings their own reason for joining the V, that speaks deeper into who they are. Zimmerman had this to say about what encouraged her to join, “I heard about them from an alumni at my church (Mrs. Cone)! She said she went to every performance, and they were all super funny. I loved seeing them that first week of school! Improv games are the best part of warmups, and this is a group that always does them, so I had to check it out!”
For Geary, auditioning for The Black V was somewhat pressured by his older sister, Emma, who graduated last year and was an enthusiastic fan of the improv group. “The biggest reason I auditioned was because of (healthy) peer pressure from my sister and others,” said Geary, “but other than that I auditioned because I thoroughly enjoyed their performance during orientation weekend, and the audition seemed like a fun time, far different than any other auditions that include plenty of pressure and nerves.” Zickefoose, who has no background in improv, sees The Black V as a way to learn and grow. She said, “Improv will be a challenge, but it is a cute little challenge to make failing fun. I want to get comfortable with failure and grow in cute little life skills, like public speaking.”
These new members are now officially part of the history and legacy of the long-running Improv group which has changed over the 25 years since its conception. Sophomore psychology major Tyson Braunschweig currently sits as manager of the group, more often referred to as “the vanager.” As the vanager, Braunschweig has access to The Black V archives, a set of binders full of games, notes and quotes written down during each performance. Braunschweig appreciates the rich history of The Black V saying, “It (The Black V) is exciting. You feel like you are a part of something greater than yourself, and every show feels like an act of service to those watching you as well as those who performed before you.”
The Black V is excited to bring humor and joy to campus this year and provide a break to those who get caught up in the hustle and bustle that college can bring. So, if you are ever looking for a good laugh do not worry, because you will have ample opportunity to see a show from The Black V this year.