Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Meet the Improv Agents, WT’s own improv troupe

Caleb Martinez
Improv Agents performing during their Dead Day Christmas Show on Dec 23, 2023. Pictured from left to right: Riley Harbour, Ray Barber, Jewel Schonhoff

West Texas A&M University’s Department of Art, Theatre and Dance puts on around five shows a year. For the Improv Agents, that’s not nearly enough.

Improv Agents is WT’s resident improvisational performance troupe. Students in this organization use audience suggestions to act out impromptu scenes, play games and practice their acting. Abigail Martin, a senior at WT and a team captain for Improv Agents, spoke about one of her favorite games she has gotten the chance to be a part of.

“There was one time we were playing a game called ‘party quirks,’ and basically, it’s where someone is hosting a party; they have three guests and it’s kind of like charades,” Martin said. “You have to figure out someone is scared of something. Someone’s obsessed with something and then someone’s turning into something. One of our games that we played had someone turning into a Roomba, like a Roomba vacuum, and I think it was one of the greatest scenes I’ve ever witnessed.”

Improv Agents performing during their Dead Day Christmas Show on Dec 23, 2023. Pictured from left to right: Sam Fry, Abigail Martin, Peyton Hastings, Jonah Gonzales (Caleb Martinez)

Martin hadn’t done much improv before joining WT. According to Martin, she hadn’t enjoyed her experiences with improv until seeing the Improv Agents perform.

“It was something that made me really nervous,” Martin said. “I honestly didn’t really like it that much back then. I had watched their [Improv Agents] shows at Palace Coffee when I was in high school and I was really interested in that. So, I just decided to go out on a whim and audition. It taught me a lot about it and it made it a lot less intimidating for me.”

The organization’s other team captain, theatre department senior Ray Barber, had a different experience.

“I started truly doing improv my freshman year of high school,” Barber said. “I had done little bits of it in theater classes for one day in junior high or something. But my high school had a troupe and I got to perform in their last show my freshman year.”

Barber’s experience with improv in high school led to his first taste of helping to lead an improv troupe.

“I was able to do it for all four years, but Covid hit my senior year and kind of affected some things,” Barber said. “We still were able to do a show, but it wasn’t what I was wanting. I kind of spearheaded and directed that whole show that year.”

Barber also claimed that Improv Agents provides theatre students an opportunity to perform during terms where they may not get the chance.

“It’s just a good way for people in the department to get more time to perform,” Barber said. “Some of us are not in a show currently, but we still get a chance to perform because we have our improvisation.”

Students from all departments are welcome to audition for Improv Agents. Auditions are held at the end of every academic year. The organization is usually made up of 13 members.

“Right now, we have 11,” Martin said. “We try to have 13 throughout the year, but two of our people graduated in the winter. So, they decided to leave.”

Martin and Barber announced that their next performance will be on April 9 at Palace Coffee in Canyon Square.

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Michael Kidd, Multimedia Reporter

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