Monday, February 18, 2013

Beanpot: Boston's Biggest Collegiate Improv Competition

In most cases, an adventurous journey through the deepest caverns of ice planet Zilia in search of the mythical sphinx with healing powers seems far-fetched. But in the world of improv, anything is possible.

The members of Sweaty-Toothed Madmen, Gordon’s improv troupe, harness the imagination to create humorous, often outlandish theatrical scenes. Later this month, the troupe will make their fourth appearance in the Beanpot, a Boston-based competition that brings together improv teams from Boston University, Northeastern University, and other colleges in the area. 

Throughout the three-day competition, teams extemporaneously create characters and plots in either 60 or 90-second scenes. Three judges score teams based on elements like story, character development and originality. The players also hone their craft in workshops led by professional improvisers and share the stage with other teams, culminating in an explosion of creative magic.

The Madmen have been an integral part of Gordon campus life since 1996. The group participated in Beanpot in 2007, 2010 and 2012, taking third place in the final competition the last two years out of a pool of 14 teams across the city of Boston.

The Beanpot is an opportunity for the Madmen to put their skills to the test and network with other local university students. Last spring, Boston University’s Liquid Fun came up to Gordon for a year-end show and took the stage with the Madmen, and the Madmen participated in BU's 24-hour improv show.

Ryan Coil, leader of the Madmen for the past two years, explains, “Beanpot is one of the most important events for us. Not only is our team exposed to new improv forms, but we get professional instruction. And the networking opportunities between teams is fantastic.”

This year’s Beanpot competition will be from February 21 to 23 at Improv Boston. Two nights of performance and competition on Thursday and Friday will be followed by all-day workshops on Saturday. The two finalists will compete for the Beanpot title that night. Tickets and show information are available through ImprovBoston online

Blogger: Mac Gostow ’13. Mac is a communication arts major from California and a student writer in the Office of College Communications at Gordon College. With a double minor in business administration and sociology, Mac has interned for CBS News in New York City, is a founder of ScotRadio, performs with the Sweaty Tooth Madmen improv troupe, and served as a show host for KURadyo in Istanbul, Turkey.  

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