Marianna McMurdock | Photographer
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Raps, rhymes, and recognition: Improv tramples the Bronco Stable

Marianna McMurdock | Photographer
Marianna McMurdock | Photographer

Chants reverberate throughout the crowd: MC! MC! MC! The familiar Red Sea spirit turned indoors last Friday evening for a change of scenery: Theatre at the Mount. Hundreds of Sundevils and Broncos alike filled the mini-thrones at the first home improv match of the year.
Seniors Tasha Baenisch and Kevin Billimoria remember the night as one of the biggest games MC has seen, and thanks all Sundevils for showing their support.

“We looked out into the crowd and we were so pumped,” Baenisch said.

Improv matches consist of a series of games or challenges between teams. Ding, five things, and beastie rap are just a few player and fan favorites. Despite the eclectic names, the games are fairly simple to follow and require quite a bit of audience participation.


Billimoria’s game of choice is pan left, pan right. It entails all four team members: two act out a scene, and after one player is “panned” with another, the scene switches to a completely different setting (decided by the audience). The caveat is that each scene must begin with the last line of its predecessor.

“You can get some really cool variety and work with a lot of different people,” Billimoria said.

Baenisch considers Billimoria’s energy on stage as somewhat contagious.

“Whatever he says, even if it’s really dumb, you can still play off of it. It’s so [genuinely] funny,” she said.

Marianna McMurdock | Photographer
Marianna McMurdock | Photographer

In contrast, five things relies more on pantomime than the spoken word: the audience determines five “things” for a player to guess within about three minutes. The catch here, however, is that the teammates who act out the “things” cannot speak english, only gibberish- like an intense game of charades. In this match, Billimoria was able to guess that he was brushing his teeth (which were really catci), in the basement.

Five things is definitely the most challenging just because you have to guess so many things and you can’t speak,” Billimoria said. “You have to really think outside of the box and have very good chemistry with your teammates; luckily I had a perfect team.”
Billimoria and co-captain Reed Wagner evaluate the twenty-some improv prodigies during Wednesday rehearsals, and pick two students to play as a part of the MC team during the next match.

“Anybody, as long as they’re doing a good job, can be on the team. We try to mix it up,” Billimoria said.

The team is overseen by MC Alumnus Chanel Mize, who has coached the team since early September.

“I wanted to come back and be the coach that I always wanted,” she said.
During the show the players seamlessly worked through an issue that arose, unbeknownst to the audience.

“They literally handled the situation perfectly- [as] if I had told them to handle it that way. I was a proud mama,” Mize said.

Marianna McMurdock | Photographer
Marianna McMurdock | Photographer

After a night of hysteria, laughs, and mild fatigue, the “Big Voice”, or announcer, revealed the final score: 35 to 35. Alums and current Sundevils alike roared.
A tie, previously unattained in MC’s improvisational history, proved an even greater rallying force. Billimoria led his team in the final game against RanchoBernardo: Beastie Rap.


“I did not want to lose, and RB was trying really hard, too. It was an awesome way to end the show,” Billimoria said. “It was so satisfying when we finally took it at the end. I was glad I was able to pull through.”

Billimoria and Baenisch hope to bring the same enthusiasm and confidence to their next confirmed match, a home game in the first week of November.

Written by Marianna McMurdock

Self-described as an "ardent archivist", Marianna is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Sun. When she is not despairing over her beloved television characters (Underwood and Holmes represent) she enjoys listening to movie scores, Andrew Bird, and Beyonce. She also serves the Sun as Photo Editor, and has been a self-taught photographer for four years. Her personal work is available at

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