UW-Eau Claire improv organization looks to stand out

Backwards Thinkers Society involve students of all backgrounds

More stories from Seth Abrahamson

Take Two
May 10, 2018


The Backwards Thinkers Society is an improv organization on campus and perform every other Thursday at The Cabin from 7-9 p.m.

The Backwards Thinkers Society provides a different kind of theatre than the standard play — one of unplanned and satirical spoofs.

UW-Eau Claire has dozens of student-run organizations on campus, but none like the Backwards Thinkers Society, or BTS as they call themselves. BTS is a group of 13 students from various majors who have a passion for improv.

The group, organized in 2010, came to be after a few students from the UWEC Players —  a theatre group, decided to break off and do theatre in a more spontaneous way.

Matthew Hordyke, a senior liberal studies student, joined the group last fall and said he loves the group and is glad he decided to join, but does not see it as something for his professional future.

“It’s a great group to be a part of, I’ve enjoyed every second of it,” Hordyke said. “But the field is very small, and extremely difficult to make a career out of it.”

As social coordinator and BTS veteran, Marc Cain said BTS is all about developing improv skills and learning to be funny. He said they learn to “make things up on the fly.”

“We rehearse twice a week, learning skills of improv and being funny,” Cain said. “Learning how to improv is a weird skill to learn, but it is something you can learn.”

Cain said individuals within the group have many different personalities, which helps everyone bond and brings different attributes to the scene. Each member brings along unique skills that add to the group, but they rehearse and work on those skills to make them stronger, Cain said.

To be a successful team and have a good improv show, Cain said trust and building relationships are the keys to being funny. However, being funny is not the overall goal of improv, he said.

“One of things of improv is you never try to be funny,” Cain said. “Building that trust, building that relationship, that’s how improv works.”

Cain said he views improv as a hobby and wouldn’t want it to be anything more because he enjoys it a lot more that way.

Chase Kazmierkoski, a senior and business marketing major, has been with the group for the past four years. He calls himself the resident team pirate. It started out as a gimmick on the team, but he turned it into a real position. He manages all the social events and makes sure everyone is happy within the group.

“It started out as a nonsense position for me,” Kazmierkoski said. “I took it from Steve the Pirate on Dodgeball, and turned it into my own thing, now I am known as team pirate.”

The Backwards Thinkers perform every other Thursday at The Cabin from 7-9 p.m. You can find all of their performance times for the fall semester on their Facebook page.