Club Spotlight: Undefined, more than just a club

Megan Rigabar, Webmaster

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Lafayette boasts a colossal list of extracurricular clubs that seems to encompass any and all hobbies and interests students may have. However, until last year Lafayette lacked an improvisation (improv) group on its catalog of clubs.

Undefined, Lafayette’s resident improv troupe, was formed during the 2013-2014 school year by the then seniors Shelby Foley, Chase Shelton and Katherine Stinnett and junior Smirthi Mani, who all became the club’s first improv captains. The group was originally inspired by another high school improv performance they attended.

“We just saw an improv show at Parkway South and we were like, ‘Wow, this is really cool. We should do this at our school too,’ so we started it last year,” Mani said.

Now a senior, Mani leads Undefined as Captain along with senior Connor Stephens and juniors Chris O’Connor and Chris Foley.

“As Captain, we’re responsible for coming up with the routine for practice each day and since we’re improv and do everything on the spot, some people think we don’t practice, but we do. We just play the games that we play onstage in practice as well,” Mani said.

However, it’s not all fun and games. Mani and the other captains consistently work to develop concepts to focus on each rehearsal, such as working together as a team, exploring the surrounding environment and building character.

“It’s different aspects that make an improv scene good and we focus on each aspect one day until we’re closer to the show when we just run through the games of our show,” Mani said.

Senior Madison Kesselring, an Undefined member, describes Undefined as an improv group that does unscripted comedic acting.

“It’s all on the spot, fun stuff. Usually we spend our rehearsals playing games, but sometimes we do exercises that help us develop characters on the spot and advance plot lines and all that,” Kesselring said.

Kesselring, who plans on attending Columbia College of Chicago as a directing major, has been a member of Undefined since the beginning and has seen the growth of the club.

Last year, Undefined produced two performances, but this year it hopes to produce one show each quarter.

Kesselring also traveled with Undefined to attend two improv workshops in Chicago; one with Second City, a renowned improv group, and the other with Improv Olympics, another top notch troupe.

“We learned a lot. It was stuff we already knew but I think we really solidified our skills. [We learned] a lot about relationships and understanding other people, rather than focusing on ourselves. It seemed not only to help with improv skills, but it also just kind of helped with everyday kind of things like listening to people and how to have simple conversation,” Kesselring said.

For both Kesselring and Mani, a highlight of their Undefined experience has been Improv-A-Thons, where the whole team has a sleepover at someone’s house. They’re supposed to stay awake until six in the morning playing various games, team bonding activities and improv games.

“Those nights are so much fun and we really do get closer as a team because we share stories and we just laugh. It’s just so much fun,” Mani said.

Kesselring, too, has found the Improv-A-Thons to be a worthwhile experience.

“We just play improv games and hang out together. I love the community of people that we have and we’ve all gotten so close over the year,” Kesselring said.

When they’re not busy pulling all-nighters, the members of Undefined are honing their acting and improvisational skills. Stay tuned for their next performance, which is coming soon to the Lafayette Theater.