NEWS: Improv Team Becomes Back-to-Back State Champions

Free State Improv Team wins state championship second year in a row
At the Kansas Thespian Festival Showcase, seniors Natalie Riley and Liz Wyle improvise a conversation. The night before leaving for KTF the theater department held a showcase of the students who would be performing at the festival.
At the Kansas Thespian Festival Showcase, seniors Natalie Riley and Liz Wyle improvise a conversation. The night before leaving for KTF the theater department held a showcase of the students who would be performing at the festival.
Anders Benson

After a performance in which the five members of the improv team created an elaborate story out of the prompt Harry in a storage closet, they secured their second consecutive state championship. 

However, the state champions didn’t think they would even be competing in the finals. In the qualification round, the team didn’t place in the top three, meaning that they thought they had lost and wouldn’t be competing in the finals. 

However, as senior Natalie Riley was leaving, she heard someone calling for her team to come back; another school forfeited giving the team a chance at finals. 

“We were like, ‘Oh no. We lost. What a bummer’,” Riley said. “As I was leaving the doorway, they called me back.”

In both the finals and qualification rounds, each group was assigned an improv game and given a location and a name. In the finals, the improv team was given Harry and a storage closet. It was up to sophomore Owen Börke, the team’s caller, to make this prompt exciting enough to win. 

“It’s amazing what he can do,” junior Kiefer Bullock said. “Just being able to make an elaborate story out of nothing.” 

While Börke narrates, the rest of the team acts out his story. To bounce off and compliment each other’s performance, they rehearse weekly and spend time together to pick up each other’s tendencies.

“It’s about being funny as a group, not just being funny personally,” Riley said.

With several members returning next year, the team hopes to maintain their champion title. Because they’re the ones to beat, they hope to continue improving their improv. 

“We have a lot of underclassmen this year,” Börke said. “Those people are only going to continue to get better.”

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