Giggles, guffaws, and gasps.
That’s what Seriously Bent elicited during a routine that captured the 2012 College Improv Tournament New England Regional championship.
Now the Suffolk University student improv troupe is headed to Chicago for another grab at the gold. The 11-member team will compete in the National College Improv Tournament, where a previous team placed second in the 2009.
“We’re now one step closer to winning the whole thing, which would be like a dream come true,” said troupe member Amanda Sousa.
In preparing for the regionals, Seriously Bent coach Anthony Passafiume, looking for something special to capture the judges’ attention, introduced a new concept to the student comedians.
They started working on it just five days before stepping on stage with everything on the line.
“I knew they would get it because this is a talented group,” said Passafiume, a Seriously Bent alumnus who graduated from the University in 2007. “We rehearsed it on Tuesday, nailed it by Thursday.”
The new setup has two students sitting on stage as though watching television while their peers act out a montage of scenes based on show titles provided by the audience.
The TV watchers can pause, change the station, have the actors perform a scene in Spanish, or make other demands that will complicate the scene.
“The concept worked because we tied in the last scene with the first scene,” said Passafiume. “We came full circle with this new structure, and that went over very well with the judges.”
“What I’ve learned from this experience is that is takes an entire group of people working together to come to become successful,” said Souza.
Seriously Bent, which operates under the banner of the Performing Arts Office, took on teams from Harvard University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Middlebury College and Northeastern University in the regional competition held at the Cambridge YMCA Theatre.
The Suffolk troupe was presented with an Award of Recognition for its longstanding support of the tournament and its efforts in uniting the Boston college improv community through joint shows and shared performances.
“It’s extremely rewarding to be part of a team that was so motivated to succeed,” said Eric Bukowiec, who, with Joseph Talluto, is co-captain of the troupe. “From start to finish, we were on top of our game.”
Seriously Bent cast members are seniors Ethan Bukowiec and Joseph Talluto; juniors Tobias Foglia, Andrew King, and Amanda Sousa; sophomores Zachary Barker, Stephania Kay, John MacGregor and Tatijana von Rosen, and freshman Erin Farrington. Senior Andy Cataluna manages the troupe.
The National College Improv Tournament takes place in Chicago, the birthplace of improv comedy, on March 23, 2013.