Heavy homework loads and a long list of tempting
extracurricular activities can make it difficult to commit to a club or group.
For the members of Harvey Mudd College’s improvisational team, Duck!, the
decision to commit was an easy one and has provided a stress relief as well as an acting challenge during rehearsals.
Duck! had its first performance of the year Oct. 11, where the group provided laughter and off-the-cuff humor for attendees.
The laughter and easy friendship among team members are some
of the main draws for team member Julia Fox HM ’14.
“Duck! also allowed me to overcome my stage fright, with the help of a welcoming, motivating, group of friendly faces and Duck! enthusiasm,” she said.
Not every college student would agree that joining yet
another club is a good way to blow off steam, but several members of Duck!
agreed that the club is far from a stressor in their lives.
“In my experience,
if I’m about to have a busy Monday and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, I don’t have time to
go to Duck! this week,’ if I make myself go, then I’m more efficient in the
time I spend working because my brain wants me to go to Duck! in some respect,” member Michael Baeder HM ’15 said. “There’s a self-organization that goes
on when you make Duck! part of your equation.”
Duck! is also open to students who feel they can not promise
to come to practice every week. For some, the club is an occasional treat rather
than a weekly commitment. There is no requirement; participants just have to be willing to try.
For Baeder, the best part of improv is experimenting with new possibilities.
“Improv is an excellent way to push yourself and take risks
without fear of judgment,” he said. Improv can sometimes be nerve-wracking for even the
most seasoned actors, which is why it can be helpful to have amateur
groups such as Duck! on college campuses.
There are several actors on the team, but acting practice
isn’t the only reason to join a performance-based activity such as Duck!.
Duck!’s relaxed, welcoming attitude and love of performance draws most of
its members. For Fox, Duck! helped eliminate her stage fright. For Jacob
Rosenbloom HM ’14, it’s a club full of “friendship, love and fun.”
However, member Elly Schofield HM ’13 said she’s in it for the performance.
spend our entire lives in front of people, talking or doing other things and
seeing how they react,” Schofield said. “But there’s something great about live
performance—it’s a moment dedicated to the actions of a few people, removed
from all the day-to-day context that makes the excitement of improv feel
It is this awareness of social codes and a willingness to
test boundaries that makes improv an enjoyable activity for many students.
Duck! doesn’t have any upcoming events scheduled at this time, but they hope to put on another performance within the next two weeks.