On the Spot Improv troupe prepares for national tournament this weekend

The audience watches performers act at the On the Spot improvisational acting show in Forum Hall on Aug. 30, 2016. (John Benfer | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State University’s very own student improvisational acting troupe, On the Spot Improv, is set to compete at the national College Improv Tournament in Chicago this weekend.

Originally called “Making It Up On the Spot,” the troupe was founded in 2009. Ten years later, On the Spot continues to elicit laughs from sizable audiences with weekly improv shows, typically in the Student Union.

During On the Spot shows, one troupe member — or “spotty” — acts as host, interacting with the audience and introducing each sketch. The sketches range from guessing games to scenes based on audience suggestions to short plays.

Nate Kochuyt, junior in statistics, said every performance is different.

“All that we as the performers know is what games we will be playing and what order they will be played in,” Kochuyt said. “Everything else is made up completely on the spot.”

Lorna Hurt, junior in English and history, is a first-year member of the troupe. Hurt said one of her favorite parts of being a member of On the Spot is the camaraderie among team members.

“It’s so fun to be able to act on a stage with your friends in front of an audience,” Hurt said.

Kochuyt said he agrees with Hurt, adding that the people he has met during his time with On the Spot will be lifelong friends.

In addition to being part of the regular On the Spot troupe, Hurt is a member of the competition team, humorously named Shotgun Baptism, which will be competing at nationals. The competition team includes eight of the 14 total group members.

This past February, the competition team traveled to the Heartland Regional Tournament in Kansas City, Missouri. The group won first place, and will now be traveling to Chicago for the national tournament from April 5 to 7. This will be the group’s sixth year at the national tournament.

Hurt said she enjoys being a member of the competition team, and she has learned a lot about improv by watching other teams at competitions.

“I think it’s an interesting way to see other teams put forth their best effort and see how they do it,” Hurt said.

In addition to their weekly shows, On the Spot meets for two hours to practice on Thursday nights, and Hurt said the competition team has additional meetings outside of these time frames.

“We’ve grown a lot as an organization,” Kochuyt said. “We’ve gone from performing every so often at Salsarita’s to performing once a week on an actual stage.”

On the Spot’s weekly shows are held Mondays at 8 p.m. in Forum Hall at the K-State Student Union. On the Spot is also available to perform at private events.