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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Infinite Coincidence Impresses Competition in Kansas

Contributed photo.

On Feb. 8 – 9, Grinnell College’s very own Infinite Coincidence braved the icy roads to venture to Kansas City for the Heartland Regional round of the 12th Annual College Improv Tournament.

Approximately 12 collegiate improv teams from the Heartland region of the Midwest competed at the event, which took the form of three preliminary rounds throughout the day and a final at night. In each round, teams had 20 minutes on stage to improvise whatever they wanted.

Each team was judged by a panel of local Kansas City improvisers, who assessed the teams based on the categories of Supporting Moves, Characters, Clear and Strong Relationships, Objective/POV, Environment and Stage Technique/Presence.

How did Grinnell’s team fare against their competitors? Infinite Coincidence senior member Nolan Boggess ’19 told the S&B about the outcome of the team’s trip.

This past weekend, Grinnell College’s fiercest and most fiery competitors made the intense, long journey to Kansas City to bring a trophy home for the Pioneers to make JB proud. That’s right. Long-form improv troupe Infinite Coincidence competed in the regional round of the College Improv Tournament.

I know what you’re thinking: how do those beautiful beings DO it? And I am here to tell you how.

After a long week of classes, we packed up two cars (shout out Tommy Hexter ’21) to begin the journey to victory. We immediately hit traffic in Des Moines but listened to podcasts to keep our brains sharp as that bad alto in choir who sits next to you. Five college improvers jammed in a car listening to podcasts? Proof that heaven exists!

As the sun went down and our tummies began to rumble, my car pulled a fast one on the other car and secretly stopped at a Wendy’s about an hour outside of Kansas City (even though Joseph Knopke ’19 told us he had a “bounty” of food at his house, where he was letting us all stay).

As we ordered our Frostys, I had the peculiar and brief realization that everyone in that gas station Wendy’s was birthed at one point and has so many problems of their own. What a world we live in!

Trying to shrug off the shock, we finally arrived at Joseph’s house with no thanks to Samuel Dahlke ’19’s TERRIBLE navigation. We then went to bed and dreamt of the Gatorade shower we would feel tomorrow when we clenched the trophy (which we found out was only a … plaque).

After glorious breakfast, we headed to the local library to rehearse. Yes, improv troupes DO rehearse. We usually do scenes that are about 45 minutes in length, but we only had 20 minutes at the competition. Therefore, we had to make up a whole new form to present — a metaphor of the struggles of LIFE.

We rolled up to the competition ready to GO. We head into the venue in a dark basement and immediately heard the shrill anxiety, energy and odor of fifty college improv performers. You usually aren’t doing too well if you decide to do improv competitively! After nodding at the other teams (never get to know them, otherwise they might use the information you give against you) and watching them belt the warm-up song the DJ chose (“Party in the USA”), we were ready to go.

In the first part of the competition, there were three rounds of three teams competing. The team that scored the best according to the judges (surprisingly, not just your mom in a disguise) in each round advanced to the finals. I will not go into the gritty details, but we scored second place in our first round. OUR CHANCES WERE GONE! WE SCREAMED AND CRIED! PLEASE MAKE IT NOT SO! Well, we weren’t actually that dramatic, but we were bummed … until we learned that we were the wild card pick to go to the finals!

We fueled up on BBQ and prepared for another round of competition. The final round was the best part of the competition! It was so much fun performing in front of a lot of strangers and just having fun with my buds on stage. After some great performances, we found out we got third place. Although we would not be going on to the finals in Chicago, we knew that it was all about the friends we made along the way and since we all knew each other before competing, we learned nothing.

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