‘Whose Bongo is it Anyway?’ brings laughs

By Zach Palermo
Staff Writer

Photo by Ebbie Davis
James Watlington, sophomore media communications major, and Glenae Nora, senior history major, fight a mummy in an improv skit called ‘Cut Time.’
“Whose Bongo is it Anyway?” is Union’s improv show that happens once every semester.

Improv takes its name from the word “improvisation” and is a style of theater based around actors creating scenes very quickly based on intentionally minimal prompts.

This semester, “Whose Bongo is it Anyway?” took place Oct. 19 in the W.D. Powell Theater.

“Whose Bongo is it Anyway?” or “Whose Bongo?” takes its name and general style from the television show “Whose Line is it Anyway?”

The show contextualizes its improv as a series of games that the actors participate in, and “Whose Bongo” follows suit. These games can be anything from a story told one word at a time by the whole cast to a dating game with contestants ranging from a Jedi to someone who believes Elvis is still alive.

Senior French and theater double major Jillian Barron hosted this year’s show and said she was happy with the cast’s newest additions.

“They’ve been very easy to work with, very willing to try some new games. They’ve brought a lot of new ideas,” Barron said. “It’s not uptight; we just get together and have fun.”

Barron noted this semester’s cast included three women and five men instead of the typical even split, which was used to contextualize many of the games as a friendly battle of the sexes.

Senior speech and theater education major Leeana Cargile is a returning cast member.

This is Cargile’s third semester doing improv at Union, and she has enjoyed the experience of working with new people.

“It’s hard when you don’t keep the same dynamic from year to year, but that’s what keeps it fresh,” Cargile said, adding that doing improv can be a great tool for any actor.

“I think it teaches valuable communication skills that scripted theater doesn’t,” Cargile said.

Freshman Vincent Vogelaar, major undeclared, also is a new addition to the cast.

Vogelaar said he enjoyed working with returning cast members.

“They get people out of their shells, which is necessary for the nature of the show,” Vogelaar said.

Vogelaar said he volunteered about 1,000 hours at a community theater for four years and almost moved to Hollywood.

He also directed a play as a high school student and was a mascot for motivational speaker Dave Ramsey, which required a lot of improv on his part.

Vogelaar wants to do more theater, saying that he “might, impulsively,” but said getting involved may not be the best idea at this time.

However, Vogelaar enjoyed his experience in “Whose Bongo is it Anyway?” and said he feels that he learned a lot.

“I’ve always understood how organic the mind is,” Vogelaar said. “It can create things out of nothing. I’ve kind of brought that theoretical knowledge down to Earth.”

Vogelaar also said he very much enjoys doing improv.

“When it comes to theater, when you have a script, you have such a structured thing,” Vogelaar said. “It’s really opened my eyes to who is a strong actor and who is a strong imitator. An actor can create something out of nothing.”

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.