Down in the jungle with Jestmont

Shaun Underwood, Arts & Entertainment Editor

“Kumcha! Kumcha! Kumcha! Kumcha! Kumcha!” The iridescent chants echo through the empty stage as the jesters mimic their newest member in a circle of confused laughter and awkwardness. Westmont’s improv club, Jestmont, maintains a steady cast of curious individuals through its vivacious ventures into exploring the art of winging it (in its most literal terms). While they may be wacky, zany and everything else in between, the jesters of Westmont explore the extent of human imagination. 

They start with a simple game of “Red Ball.” The first person holds an imaginary red ball in their hands, then, it transforms into anything as they pass it around the circle. Eventually, the fifth person down the line holds a thumb drive filled with “a simulation of a mac and cheese explosion in a microwave.” Then the thumb drive turns into a wet piece of paper, which turns into a ruby wedding ring, which turns into a cascading series of marriage proposals that all end in tragedy, after which no one can keep track of what the red ball became. A pandemonium-filled exercise they call a warm-up teems with creative energy and laughter. However, it is not all fun and laughter. 

One of the club presidents, Simeon Michelson, wastes no time in explaining how “Red Ball” cultivates the art of describing something in as few words as possible to allow for as much creative expression from as many people as possible as the red ball – or what used to be a red ball – travels from person to person. 

Right when the conversation reached a constructive tone, chaos ensued. Multiple different conversations emerged as rampant screaming engulfed the stage. It was like watching a mass of preschoolers flailing about with no care for any worldly worries. Another club president, Isaac Jessop, acting as the preschool teacher, clapped three times, and miraculously, the children all turned to their teacher like meerkats on the prairie. 

Jestmont proceeded to rope me into the next game, no longer seeing it fit to have me as a silent observer. A mild-mannered journalist entering a new world no more, now I had become one of them. Out of the blue, I was now the boss of a tardy employee who needed to interpret why they arrived so late from two coworkers pantomiming behind me. Apparently, the employee failed to show up on time because their magic carpet got into a dogfight with a fighter jet, and the only way to stop the fighter jet was to woo the pilot so they could make it to their job at a modeling agency. 

A seemingly untamed wilderness ruled by crazy clowns transformed into a deep appreciation for acting on the fly. Jestmont’s true colors shine through as a solid group of friends hoping to express their wildest ideas. 

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