Mock Turtle Soup
Mock Turtle Soup is Clemson University's comedy improv troupe. The troupe performs shows approximately once a month. Each show features a section of short-form improvised games, followed by a longer piece improvised based off of one suggestion during the second half of the show. The troupe also performs and participates in out of town festivals and workshops. During Homecoming 2004, the troupe partnered with Habitat for Humanity to present a 24 hour Improv-a-thon, performing improv for one full day and night on a stage next to the Habitat House, on Bowman Field. The troupe also sponsors a summer improv camp for area youth.
Improv, short for improvisation, is a theatrical method in which all dialogue is improvised spontaneously by the performers. Improvisation is often used as a rehearsal technique in theatrical productions, but it is also a performance style, popularized in part by television shows such as "Whose Line is it Anyway?". Improvised scenes are often humorous, lending the style to be closely associated with comedy. Improv is generally divided into two styles, "short form" and "long form". Short form is the style most familiar, and "Whose Line is it Anyway?" exclusively features it. In short form, the performers use various traditional improv games to create short sketches. In one game, an improvisors first line must begin with a certain letter of the alphabet, and the next performer's line must begin with the subsequent letter, until all letters have been used. Other games might require the performers to speak only in questions, or to change their last line to something different if the host rings a bell. In contrast, "long-form" is less structured. In a long form performance, improvisors will ask the audience for a suggestion, and use that suggestion to extrapolate a series of interconnected scenes, which might feature a variety of characters and locations.
Mock Turtle Soup was formed in the Fall of 2002, when Clemson students Katie Jones and Bryan Buckley invited students to join in the creation of a comedy improv troupe. Rehearsals were open to any who wished to join, and as the semester continued, a group of several dedicated students emerged that formed the nucleus of Mock Turtle Soup. That Spring, auditions were held, and several students were invited to join the troupe. Unfortunately, the new members were all Seniors, and so graduated with the end of the year.
During the troupe's second year, auditions were held again in the Fall, with seven new members accepted out of an auditioning group of nine, effectively doubling the size of the troupe. At the end of the Fall semester, the troupe traveled to Charleston to participate in a workshop with The Have-Nots, a professional improv troupe located there. In the Spring, a trip to Chicago, Illinois was organized during Spring Break. Chicago is the birthplace of improv, and the troupe members on the trip enjoyed watching several professional improv performances, and participating in workshops with professional improv coaches. Also during that season, several troupe members formed a sketch comedy group, Ask Your Doctor, which performed a sketch show after Mock Turtle Soup's final performance for the 2003-2004 school year, and two more performances the following semester.
The 2004-2005 school year saw an increased interest in auditions for the troupe, and four new members were accepted. Shortly after, the troupe traveled to the Georgia Tech campus for the Black Box Improv Festival, which was the first performance for several of the new members. That Fall also saw the introduction of MTS's 24 Hour Improv-a-thon benefitting Habitat for Humanity, and another Spring Break trip to Chicago, with a full 3/4 of the troupe in attendance.
Spring 2007, MTS added a 10:00 "Nocturnal Soup" show after each of their monthly performances. These packed shows involve long form that is a little more artsy and blue.
In the fall of 2007 MTS was asked to perform in the College Comedy Championships. CCC is a competition of comedy troupes from colleges and universities around the United States including troupes from Arizona, Indiana, Illinois, New York, South Carolina, and Florida. It is the largest student comedy competition in the world that will showcase top comedy talent on campuses.
Auditions are held each Fall semester, and are open to all interested students of Clemson University.
Complete list and description of past/present alumni activities found at MockTurtleAlumni.googlepages.com (created by alumna Cheryl Swit).