Dazzling, Elizabel Riggs stood under the lights of the Union theater stage on March 15 of last semester. It was the final showing of “The Queen and the Rebels.” She was honored with a bouquet of flowers for her last performance at Union.
It was a formal farewell from her Union theater family to wish her the best after graduation. Both the audience and her fellow cast mates on the stage clapped and cheered, so happy for her bright future, yet so sad to have to say goodbye to her bright smile and her endearing personality.
Not everyone in that auditorium knew how much Riggs contributed to the theater. For years she had co-lead the Blank Slate Improv team with Garyn McIntyre, senior French major. Her absence left big shoes to fill for the person who attempted to help lead her former team.
McIntyre recruited Jonathan Bowman, junior biology major, to take on the task. It’s a daunting task, but one that Bowman is well equipped for. Joining him are a slew of new additions to the team, a mix of both freshman and upper-classmen, and a handful of returning members.
Freshmen on this year’s team are Caroline Clements, worship leadership major; Christopher Roberts, pre-med Biology major; Maddie Hutcherson, accounting major; Ben Johnson, undecided major and Eli Creasy, graphic design major.
Sophomores are Clark Hubbard, political science major and Korey Adams, Spanish and French double major.
Alice Wilkerson, junior intercultural studies major, and Kaylene Kalkbrenner, senior political science major, are also on the team.
Watching this team work and practice their craft was like watching a family lovingly teach and guide each other. Certain members of the team were called up to make a skit out of one word. The resulting scenarios ranged from a happy restaurant operating during the great depression, to a sleazy recruiting company, to a son trying to rescue his father form an evil moose.
After each scene, they gave each other feedback about what was right and wrong about their performance. Bowman and McIntyre lead the way with clear instruction and understanding correction. This team felt every bit as lively as it used to thanks to its new duo of leaders.
“They’ve been awesome in just being able to help us in anything we need help with,” said Eli Creasy, freshman graphic design major. “And just having open arms, and being able to just push us in the right direction.”
Creasy isn’t the only person on the team who is enthusiastic about the year under McIntyre and Bowman’s leadership.
“They’re just very compatible,” said Kaylene Kalkbrenner, a senior political science major who is new to the team. “It’s good because we get, like, two perspectives on ideas, and then we get to see them put it into action.”
In addition to new players talking up their leaders, McIntyre himself had things to say about his team this semester.
“We all have the same idea in mind, and that is that we want to perform quality shows for Union. . . We are all super driven and super focused about meeting that goal,” Said McIntyre, “I only have great things to say about the team.”
The new improv team will have their first show on Saturday Oct. 1.