MSU hosts first ever improv festival
Mechanical engineering senior Matthew Schomisch, the director of the Roial Improv Players, has spent his whole MSU career dedicating time to the improvisation group.
With his final semester coming to a close, Schomisch went out with a bang by hosting the first ever Spartan Improv Festival on April 7 in the McDonel Hall Kiva.
The festival featured colleges from around the state and included Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University.
Members of the different improv groups joined Schomisch on stage during his second to last show as a Spartan.
“I am always going to love MSU and everything that it has given me and my opportunities to perform,” Schomisch said. “I came to school with some idea of what improv was and some performances, but MSU, the opportunities here really let me shine and have a great time and I loved every minute of it.”
Schomisch introduced each act as the night goes along.
“As an improviser you want to perform as much as you can, so you are willing to go improvise and host improvise,” Schomisch said. “Everyone just wants to be out there having a good time. Them traveling and us traveling has always been something people are willing to do and something people want to do.”
Schomisch said he hoped people would get an inside look at the different forms of improv performed by each group.
“It is always good when you build up a family community within a team, but it’s even kind of a wilder experience to do improv with people you have never met before because you can have an idea where someone’s ideas are coming from by having known them, but if you have no idea who they are it’s a little bit more pure improv because you don’t have any preconceptions or any notions of where they come from,” Schomisch said. “It’s just all right there on the stage at that moment and it makes for a lot of fun because you get out of your safe box for a bit and explore that.”
After Schomisch graduates, he said there will be two co-leaders who will take over in his place. He said the improv team will look to keep the festival going each year.
Residential College in the Arts and Humanities sophomore Jess Black said she has been on an improv team since her freshman year of high school.
“My experience in the group has been amazing,” Black said. “The people in the group are definitely my second family. It has been really easy stepping in and making new friends and being able to act in this space with them.”
Black said she was excited to work with other improv teams.
“I am super excited to network with the other improv groups,” Black said. “Just kind of a place to showcase improv in a college setting, and I think that is really cool and exciting and is something new that MSU has never done before.”
Eastern Michigan University theatre and arts junior Havah Roussel started EMU’s improv group two and a half years ago. The group is named Unprepared and Confident.
“I think it is really special to create a shared experience that the performers get and the audience can share together,” Roussel said.
International business and marketing sophomore Marion Jamet said she got involved with Grand Valley State’s improv group, Subject to Change, her freshman year. She said she had never been to MSU but was excited to perform with others.
“We really emphasize working as a team and supporting each other because in improv you are in such a vulnerable place and having team members that support you and allow you to feel comfortable on stage where you don’t know what is going to happen, that’s so important to having a successful show,” Jamet said.