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The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

Kolb Makes Cut for Elite Improv Group


Kolb stars in Duke's improv group.
Kolb stars in Duke's improv group.


Whether she was preparing to play a money-hungry company owner or a kinky old woman at Marlborough, Julianne Kolb ’09 always attached herself to the script. What she’s never done was perform with no lines memorized and no script. <br>

Kolb ventured into improvisation when she saw the Duke University’s Improv (DUI) perform at student orientation. Though the recent past members of DUI were all males, Kolb was not deterred by the lack of estrogen. She became more motivated.<br>

“I wanted to prove to myself that I could be a girl who was funny and could be funny in front of a huge group,” Kolb said.<br>

Scott Peppel, one of the seniors in DUI, said that DUI never intended to be an all male improv group, but auditions in the past attracted more guys than girls. He explained that the lack of girls in the group was almost “self reinforcing.” <br>

“Just seeing more men in the group draws more men to audition,” Peppel explained.<br>

During three rounds of auditions, Kolb said that she doubted herself not only because of the difficulty of creating “a scene out of nothing in front of the semi-serious group,” but also because of the members who “watched menacingly.”<br>

However, the toughest part was hearing the news that she did not get in. <br>

“They come around to everyone’s room and pretend you didn’t make it,” Kolb said. “Then, they tell you that you actually did.”<br>

Chosen from about 85 hopefuls as one of the four new members of eleven, Kolb and Jess Hendin became the first women to join in five years. Members were chosen based on their presence on stage and interaction with their partners, Peppel said. <br>

Kolb started her initiation by bonding and listening to the members’ life stories at the beach house of one of the students during a fall weekend, Kolb said. <br>

“The bonding experience is really important, because trusting your partner is crucial,” Peppel said. <br>

The members also spend a lot of time at school practicing for two hours, twice a week. The time commitment allows the group to work on videos, play games, and experiment with new characters.<br>

“Improv is like a sport…if you don’t practice enough, you lose the ability to respond quickly,” said Peppel. <br>

Despite the training, Kolb remembers her first show as nerve-wracking. <br>

“I don’t even know how funny I really was, but we got insane laughter from the audience. It was the biggest charge of adrenaline I’d ever had,” Kolb said. <br>

Whether its her previous experience in drama or her natural talent, Kolb is known for her ability to make people laugh. Peppel said that Kolb is great at creating characters. <br>

Performing Arts Department Head Anne Scarbrough, who taught Kolb, agrees. <br>
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see her on SNL someday, or starting up her own show of that type. She’s just one of the funniest people I have ever met,” she said. <br/>

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