Meet the Cast: Without a Box

Without a Box, the 5C improv group, is beginning a new year of unique performances.

“We’re really excited about this year because it’s different… People are going to see a new Without a Box,” said producer Jason Blagman PZ ’12. Without a Box will be moving away from the format of last year’s shows, performing more long-form improv and becoming less “gimmicky,” Blagman said. Performances will continue to be enhanced with music from pianist Scott Jesperson PO ’12.

Auditions were held the weekend of Sept. 17, and two rookies–traditionally called the “moops” of Without a Box–were selected: Joseph Reynolds PO ’15 and Noah Weingarten PO ’14.

Without a Box will be performing roughly every other Thursday at Doms Lounge throughout the fall semester. The next Without a Box performance will be held Oct. 13.

The Student Life sat down with the comedians to learn the ins and outs of Without a Box.

Elsa Bruno SC ’14

Reason people should come see Without a Box: “Laughing is healthy and keeps you happier.”

Favorite spot in Claremont: Margaret Fowler Memorial Garden at Scripps

The worst thing about improv: Rhyming.

The best part of improv: “Hanging out with these people a lot.”

Strength as an improv performer: Musical numbers.

Noah Weingarten PO ’14 (moop)

How was the audition experience? “Pretty awesome… people were really funny. They told us it was gonna be a couple hours on callback day but it went about five hours, so I’m still harboring some anger about that [laughs].”

Other activities: Kung fu, hot yoga.

Reason people should come see Without a Box: “If you want to do something that you can come to both in a sober or hazy mindset, [Without a] Box will serve your purposes beautifully.”

Favorite part of improv: “Really committing to weird characters… I once played a small Chilean boy with gout.”

Joseph Reynolds PO ’15 (moop)

First experience with improv? “In high school I took an improv class… it was one of the biggest highlights of my senior year.”

How was the audition process? “It was intense. Really long.”

Reason people should come see Without a Box: “Because we are a fun group of children who are not afraid to say a mouth-load of vile and inappropriate things and still end the show as classy mofos.”

Strength as an improv performer: “My strength would be physical comedy—I do dance so I can contort my body in really weird ways.”

Ben Tumin PO ’12 (director)

Weird onstage moment: “The other day I was a father and Joseph was my son and I had to explain to my daughter [Elsa] why I had a boner every time I saw her.”

Reason people should come see Without a Box: “Because we will teach them things that have never been taught before… no, it’s just really fun. Improv is the praising of the beautiful in life and the mocking of the stupid.”

Favorite parts of improv: Being the “freaky guy” or the freaky guy’s foil.

Joseph Ocon PO ’14

Weird onstage moment: “The last show that we did, we did a scene where Ben had an incestuous relationship with Elsa… we just take things quite far sometimes.”

Favorite place in Claremont: “I like the Grove House because they have really awesome sandwiches.”

Favorite part of performing: “I like being the really menacing character. One time I did a scene with Jonah where I actually made him scared… not everyone loves scaring the shit out of people, but that’s something I like to do.”

Andre Pegeron PO ’12

Weird onstage moment: “One time in a show where we were doing superhero eulogies, my character was Captain Charisma’s sidekick and he was really awkward and nervous… I got in the mindset of being so awkward and nervous that I started feeling really nervous… I could feel it in my body. My heart rate went up, my hands were tingly.”

Reason people should come see Without a Box: “Because we’re awesome and hilarious, and if you can’t beat us, join us… and you can’t beat us.”

What’s the hardest thing about improv? “Trying to keep yourself from being yourself all the time—it’s hard, but good when you can take on a completely new personality.”

Katie Lyman PZ ’12

Weird onstage moment: “At our last show I gave birth onstage.”

Favorite place in Claremont: “This is really dorky but… the library at Scripps.”

Reason people should come see Without a Box: “Improv is especially fun because the audience is a part of it, and we take suggestions from them.”

Strength as an improv performer: “I like anything that has a really solid character relationship.”

Jonah Breslau PO ’14

Weird onstage moment: “Elsa was brought onstage as a half-baby… and I had to carry her off because no one else would.”

Reason people should come see Without a Box: “[Improv] is so funny because it’s always so unexpected… plus sometimes we have beer and other refreshments.”

Most memorable character played: “I was a wind-surfing dog named Alan… it turned out I had cancer, though, so that was sad.”

*Without a Box member Avery Bargar PZ ’12 was unavailable for interview.

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