Titanic Players’ ‘Daddy Mags’ advances to national improv tournament

Lark Turner and Lark Turner

Northwestern senior Dave Collins said he isn’t taking his improv group’s recent success too seriously.

‘It’s improv,’ Collins said. ‘There’s only so much you can do to get ready. You just have to go out and perform and have fun.’

After winning a Jan. 23 regional competition, the group, called ‘Daddy Mags,’ advanced to the Chicago Improv Festival’s national competition. They will compete Feb. 6 in Chicago at the College Improv Tournament against teams from across the country, including the University of Florida’s ‘Theatre Strike Force’ and the University of Houston’s ‘Scatter!’

Daddy Mags is a part of a larger group, The Titanic Players, which includes five other teams at NU as well as groups at University of Wisconsin and University of Illinois. The organization is the largest student improv group in the country.

The group’s coach, Mike Abdelsayed, said the judges noticed Daddy Mags’ chemistry.

‘They showed that improv could be fun as well as exceptionally good,’ the NU alum (Communication ’98) said.

The team includes Communication seniors Jen D’Angelo, Katherine Docimo, Dana Kaplan-Angle and Collins. Daddy Mags has been together since each student’s freshman year at NU.

‘I don’t think we were expecting to win,’ Docimo said. ‘We were really surprised.’

She said the team did a grocery store scene during the regional competition that stood out from the rest.

‘That was a really, really fun scene,’ she said. ‘It was a totally different kind of comedy. It was all physical.’

Unlike the popular show ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’, Docimo said long-form’ improv lasts for 25 minutes, and each group’s style is different.

‘You’re kind of creating a short piece of theater, a short play,’ she said.

The Titanic Players’ team ‘Old Town Jar’ won the first annual competition, Abdelsayed said. Now in its third year, Daddy Mags is looking to win back the title, he said.

‘I’m telling them just to take each performance as a unique performance,’ the coach said. ‘Just go do what we do and be proud of it.’

Collins said a show at NU the night before the competition will help the group prepare for nationals.

‘We’re trying not to make too much out of it,’ he said, ‘because at the end of the day, we’re just going to go and have fun.’ [email protected]