NouN kicks off semester with free improv comedy show

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The Appalachian Online

Kelsey Hamm

Appalachian State University’s only improvisational comedy group, NouN, will hold a free performance Friday Jan. 16 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Whitewater Café.

The show will feature new routines by the troupe that have never performed on campus, said senior fermentation science major and NouN treasurer Shane Jones.

“More recently, we’ve been trying to get more shows on campus,” said Grayson Rieth, junior theater education major and NouN president.

NouN is also currently working with App Cable to produce NouN comedic television, launching in March, Jones said.

“We’re currently doing a lot of pre-production stuff and getting everything up to the quality that is needed for television,” Reith said. “After App Cable has its launch, anyone who wants to be a part of it can contact us, and we can work with them to get their ideas on television. App Cable and NouN specifically is an open forum to anyone who has comedic ideas.”

NouN was started 15 years ago as one of the only college improv troupes in North Carolina. Previous NouN presidents and performers have continued their comedic careers locally, and in cities like New York and Chicago.

“It’s a very interactive art form,” Rieth said. “It’s something that involves a lot of audience participation, and it’s a great way for people to get that creative bug inside of them out on stage. Improv really helps with getting people out of their comfort zone.”

The preparation for an improv comedy show is different than regular theater, said Casey Wiltgen, sophomore public relations major and NouN secretary.

“We are often asked ‘How do you practice improv?’” Wiltgen said, “And that in itself is ironic because you can’t practice what you are doing. None of it is rehearsed. The only thing that’s set beforehand is the format of the games. So our practicing is about becoming more comfortable with the people around you and knowing their tendencies.”

The audition process for NouN, which currently has 10 active members, occurs at the beginning of the fall semester, Jones said. Only one audition process occurs each year so that new members have time to learn about each other’s style.

“It’s a very team-oriented game,” Rieth said. “You have to establish the group mind so that you know you’re on the same page as other team members. Oftentimes you’ll know how everything will play out because you know your partner so well. If [a member] doesn’t show up to practice, they won’t have a similar team mentality and that makes it much harder to do improv.

NouN holds open practices for all students every Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. in Chapel Wilson Hall, room 105.

“Anyone can show up,” Jones said. “Just come in a practice with us and see if it’s something that you like to do. If it is, then come back all the time and audition in the fall.”

Story: Kelsey Hamm, Intern A&E Reporter