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A diverse group of students who share a passion for performance and comedy improv perfectly describes the short-form comedy improv troupe known as the Charles Darwin Experience. Their motto is based on a quote by Charles Darwin himself, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” because improv is about adapting to your surroundings. About 17 years later, the group continues to bring laughter to the University of Arizona campus.
Q: What is the Charles Darwin Experience?
A: We’re a short-form comedy improv troupe and we perform once a week on Tuesday nights in Gallagher, and we’ve been on campus since 1997. We just make people laugh and have fun doing it. It’s a free show and we’ve got a pretty great following, we have some hardcore fans who come every week. It’s fun and we get a lot of positive feedback like, “that’s my favorite part of the week or that’s my favorite part of Tuesdays coming and seeing you guys,” so it’s really rewarding for all of us.
Q: How would you describe the students involved?
A: Eclectic. We used to have a lot of theatre majors, but now it’s sort of just a mix of different majors. We have Creative Writing majors, Philosophy, Politics, Economics & Law (PPEL) majors and Psychology majors. We’re pretty diverse, but we all do improv.
Q: What is the audition process?
A: We have auditions usually on a Wednesday night and they’re about two hours long. We do an introduction game and then we have everyone play two or three games, really basic improv games. We just kind of take notes, sit back and observe then we narrow it down to people that we want to call back for the next night then we have callbacks on Thursday night and that’s usually about 10-15 people. We usually just have them do scene with each other and interview them then we all get to do scenes with them too.
Q: What do you look for in prospective members?
A: Somebody who’s open to new ideas. Somebody who just plays well with others. Someone who has something that we don’t have yet and good listening skills. A stage presence is necessary too.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in joining?
A: The most important thing is to have fun in the audition. It’s so stressful, but if you aren’t having fun then it shows in everything you’re doing.
The Charles Darwin Experience performs at the Gallagher Theater, located within the Student Union Memorial Center every Tuesday at 10:00 p.m.
For more information visit: http://www.cdeimprov.com