By Erica Dunigan
Staff reporter

“Zip, zap, zop! Snap, crackle, pop!” If you’re walking the basement halls of Christy late at night, you might just hear these exact words come shooting out of the Little Theatre.

9 Lives, comedy and improv troupe, is rehearsing for their show on Feb. 11, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Messenger. Allyson Moon, associate professor of theatre, is the group’s director. She said, “For this particular show we intentionally opened it up to a range of ages. The content of the show will be a comedy that is created with one goal in mind, and that is to have the comedy understood by the variety of ages.”

9 Lives has been bringing laughter to Southwestern students and the community since 2001.

Justin Tinker, theatre performance sophomore and member of 9 Lives, said, “The first time I saw 9 Lives at Builder Camp, I knew that was something that I would really like to be a part of. I love to make people laugh, and improv also allows you to have creative freedom and endless imagination.”

Improv allows each person to explore who they are and build trust through one another.

“Each member has different personalities that work extremely well together. They understand how to support each other,” said Moon. “Even though they are different, they all have one goal, and that is to make the audience enjoy a good show filled with laughter.”

Growing up never means you have to be serious all the time. Chris Cole, education junior, said, “In high school I would always get in trouble because I would take a video camera around with me trying to catch random moments that were funny. Me and my friends loved to make people laugh, and sometimes that would get me in trouble with the teacher. Comedy has always been a part of my life.”

Even if your life hasn’t been filled with comedy, one good laugh can make a memory.
“When something is really funny, a shared experience can happen that an audience may never forget,” said Moon. “Then, at that same moment, laughter is released.”

Adding comedy to improv can bring different people from different backgrounds together.

Nolan Davenport, mathematics freshman, said, “I saw 9 Lives perform their first show of the year, and it really caught my attention. I was worried with not being a theatre major, and with being in football if they would accept me, but they did. Now I really want to try to be part of 9 Lives. It is really awesome to make people laugh and put a smile on their face.”

Moon said some students worry that they will have to memorize lines like a play, or that they have to be in theatre. Improv allows students from different majors and different backgrounds to come together because they all have one thing in common. They enjoy making people laugh. “Improv is different than a play because you can’t rely on a written script,” said Moon. “An improver gets a topic and they have to trust one another to be creative and not say ‘no’ to what is being played out.”
9 Lives is always taking time out of practicing to open the door for new members to join.

Moon said, “The process isn’t simple, but it is worth it.”

Students can take Improvisational Acting Class. If the 9 Lives members think they can work well with the team, the student is invited to a 9 Lives meeting. During the meeting different improv games are played. If students work well with the team, they have an opportunity to become a kitten, also known as an apprentice. From there a student can become a 9 Lives member.
Tinker said he is glad he became a part of 9 Lives. “It’s a nice feeling to see the students and community members leave with a smile on their face, and knowing that they enjoyed the show,” said Tinker. “Laughter is something that makes you feel good, and to know that we brought them that feeling is awesome.”

Erica Dunigan is a junior majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail her at