In spending two hours with Watermelon, a semi-experimental former Ewing troupe currently dabbling in musical inspirations for their scenes, there was only one item they insisted be included in this profile, and that is this: Watermelon is Kaspars Skels’ 11th-favorite improv troupe. Even though he’s in it.
Taken at face value (probably not a wise idea) that really says something about DCH improv troupes, or at least the troupes Kaspars has seen, because man, what a fun, funny, warm, and just awesome troupe Watermelon is. I didn’t go into this rehearsal expecting to come out a drooling fanboy, but here we are.
Besides the discriminating Kaspars, the rest of the troupe is made up of Adam Fullerton, Austin Guttery, Heather McKinney, Caroline Phillips, Frank Buttafarro, Sara Aisenberg, Jame McCraw, and Jesse Gonzales.
They seemed especially relaxed and there to have fun, all of them, which was striking for a Sunday morning. I asked them if that comes down to their obvious chemistry, or did they have some sort of hack to shed nerves?
"I think most of our [relaxed nature] is our chemistry, and we know we are going to support each other,” answered Adam. We’re big fans of each other."
Heather emphatically drove home the point. "Everything I say will be liked, and loved, and accepted."
If you’re an improviser, you’ve probably been in improv situations where “I got your back” has been more of a plaudit; not insincere, but not deeply felt and invested in either. Watermelon is a shining beacon to the magic that happens when you are there for your troupemates from the very bottom of your heart.
Is it because they’re rigid practitioners of proper improv? Perhaps, but it seemed more because they just like each other so damn much. "We're obsessed with each other. Our Facebook chat is constantly going. My boyfriend will hear my notification ding and say, 'Is that The Melons?'" said Sara.
Their skills and coaching were on point too. I didn’t recognize their warmup games. Turns out that’s because they make ‘em up on the spot. Their adviser, David Allison, encouraged them to "…perform like no one is going to come out and support you. If you're on the sidelines, come out and support."
Check out Watermelon when you can (the new semester’s schedule should be coming out soon with the deets). When you do, ask Kaspars what his ten favorite improv troupes are. Be sure to see them too.
Kevin Beane graduated from the DCH improv program in 2016 and is in the DCH troupe Preschool Fight Club. He also cohosts Quizprov, with occasional DCH shows, and performs in the Dallas-area troupe Autocomplete.He likes sports, eating, sleeping, board games, poker, euchre, and procrastinating. He hails from Akron, Ohio.