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The East Texan

Improv Troupe Brings Laughs and Smiles

Wesley Sharp, Staff Writer

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Cricket City, a comedic improv group, unites students with different backgrounds and majors to spread laughter and entertainment throughout the campus of Texas A&M University-Commerce.

Cricket City, formed and recognized on campus in 1999, is a 14-member organization specializing in improvisational absurdity and working well with other peers. Over the years, the improv group has performed in competitions across the nation including national comedy festivals and conventions in Austin, Dallas, Chicago and New York which sometimes leads to collaboration with professional improv groups.

Under the supervision of theatre professor and faculty adviser Jim Tyler Anderson, Cricket City continues to grow in reputation and membership.

Senior member and assistant director Ronald Leonard has been with the organization since 2012 and is one of five returning members. Although most members have some experience in theatre, many have been in and out of the program and are neither theater majors nor minors.

Leonard, a radio/ television major, said Cricket City can help students in their individual major.

“We like different majors within Cricket because we promote diversity, and it can help a student with all kinds of aspects within their major whether it’s building confidence in critical thinking, public speaking, or meeting deadlines,” Leonard said.

Leonard admits that he joined the group because he wasn’t always the most outgoing person, however, Cricket City has guided him and other students in the right direction towards breaking out of their shell. Students involved, tend to further improve their problem solving and collaboration skills in the outside world which most employers are looking for.

Anderson knows collaboration is essential for improved conditions.

“Members will work-out with top notch improv groups and get some of their insight……We’ve got a lot of allies in the Dallas area, at the House of Comedy, and places like that, that quite often provide venues for the troops,” Anderson said.

The current improv team is in what they call a rebuilding stage, referring to the number of currents members versus the number of new members.

Cricket City often host two or three free or inexpensive shows per semester, usually in the Performance Arts Center, Hall of Language, or the University Amphitheater. Every Friday night in October, Cricket City will do a complete improv horror movie which is usually a parody of a well-known movie. Also, at the beginning of each semester, the group will have auditions for students interested in membership with the next audition opportunity in January.

“Just the idea that you can do it and have confidence in yourself and get rid of the fear, that’s the main thing improv does for everyone, it helps them get over the fear,” Anderson said.

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Improv Troupe Brings Laughs and Smiles