Emma Kelsey – Staff Writer
LineUs is back on campus, and it’s members are ready to entertain. As Gustavus’ premiere and only improv comedy troupe, this group performs monthly for students and visitors to campus. They also have additional shows for Midnight Express each semester and during the 100 Hour Challenge. Their goal is to provide Gustavus students with a fun, friendly and free event on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s a good time for everyone involved; passionate performers get to do what they love and audience members get to hang out with their friends and have a good laugh after a long week of schoolwork and other commitments.
What is improv? A lot of fun. Improvisational theatre is a unique form of performing, where most or all of what is performed is unplanned, unscripted and spontaneous. Performers and audience members alike are kept on their toes, and it’s an exciting experience to see what exactly will happen next in a show. Performers have to think quickly on their feet and take risks. Mistakes may be made. Fun will be had. Laughter will be ringing.
Their long awaited return was made May 1st, 2021, their first in-person show since pre-COVID. Like many of us, LineUs experienced a painful pause in their lives when they were kept from performing when the pandemic hit. It had been over a year since they could bring their comedy first-hand to students. In 2020, they put on performances virtually, streamed through Youtube, recorded via Zoom with members joining from their own individual spaces.
Although they got creative and still found success, they anxiously awaited the day they would be together again to perform with an audience whose laughs they can hear. Sophomore Lauren Kennedy, a member of LineUs and head business manager expresses the group’s feelings on their highly anticipated return, “LineUs is VERY excited to be back to performing monthly and we have a show this Friday [October 8th] in Alumni Hall at 8pm,” Kennedy said.
Not only are there many opportunities for students to enjoy LineUs from the audience vantage point, but can be involved with it in numerous other capacities as well. LineUs is student run, consisting of 10-12 performers and a few business managers. These two teams of LineUs make for the perfect group. According to Junior Thomas Sullivan, a member of LineUs, “The performers are students from all years, majors, and backgrounds who just like to let loose, be themselves, and have a good time,” Sullivan said. They strive to bring laughter to everyone: the audience and one another. “LineUs is open for all students to audition for a spot on the performance team. This is a good opportunity for students who are interested in performance and/or comedy,” Sullivan said.
On the other side of LineUs are the business managers. These students run social media, book gigs and rehearsal spaces, manage finances and resources, and keep the group on track. Sullivan says the performers would be lost without them. Head business manager Kennedy works with two other business managers Sophomores Jack Raway and Anna Stednitz. Senior Sam Albright is the current President of LineUs, and there are two Co–Vice presidents, Seniors Dessa Thomas and Audrey Ochtrup-DeKeyrel. There are several more members, including Juniors Alex Bretoi, Jacob Korver, Katie Doolittle, and Sophomores Anna Marie Riner, Kayla Malmgren, Carter Learned and Aurora Schelmeske. These members all work together with the leadership positions to make things happen. The two sides of the group, performers and business managers, balance into a successful and fun-filled organization and provide students with many different opportunities for involvement.
LineUs’ previous event was just last month and members report success. Members were pumped to put on a show, overjoyed to get back to performing and energized to be together again. The audience turnout was a success too. Manypeople turned out to see the show and were also excited for what the evening had in store for them. Most importantly, people were laughing. The smiles, cackles, giggles, chuckles, chortles and grins fueled the performers as they thought on their feet in the art of improv.
It was good for the members to see their hard work pay off, because a tremendous amount of effort goes into each performance. This past show was one of many more to come this year at Gustavus, and has made many laughs of countless more. It provides a place for students to relax, enjoy themselves, be with one another, meet new people and laugh after long days of committed study. LineUs is back on campus, in all its comedic glory.