After 23 hours on stage, a sleep-deprived, delirious UT alumnus Quinn Buckner will improv his way through one more unpredictable scene — and he’ll still have another 23 hours to go.
Along with seven other improvisers, Buckner will perform at the Hideout Improv Theatre’s sixth annual 46 Hour Improv Marathon for the first time. Starting Friday, the improvisers will take the stage for 46 hours straight, with only ten minute breaks for every hour they perform and will not be allowed to sleep.
"I'm super excited for the marathon," Buckner said. "It's a ton of improv in a condensed time. We'll get to see all states of psyche from being super fresh in the beginning to a state of insomnia at the end. It will be fun to see our filters go down when we get super tired."
Roy Janik, co-owner of the Hideout theater and Buckner's friend, has performed in marathons in the past and said he knows Buckner will bring many strengths to the show.
"[Buckner] is known in Austin improv for his physicality," Janik said. "He's great at embodying characters with unique mannerisms and he has a willingness to jump into anything even if it's never been done. If you give him a setup or direction, he'll attack it."
Buckner became enraptured with improv during his time as a UT student when he joined a Gigglepants improv show six years ago. Since then, he has pursued his passion for improv by taking classes, teaching students and performing shows in Austin.
"Real life wants you to plan everything out and to say no sometimes but in improv we're asked to do the opposite,” Buckner said. “The greatest joy of improv is the same, getting to let yourself go and create new worlds with people."
Buckner said it’s important for kids to explore improv because it allows a space to learn acceptance and build off others. The marathon’s money will go toward developing youth and summer programs, bringing improvisors to Austin schools and funding the Hideout’s special needs program.
"Kids should do improv because it's the best thing in the world," Buckner said. "Improv can help kids because it creates a place for them to build their imagination.”
For any student who is considering a path in improv, Buckner said his advice is to just ‘go for it.’
"Go find a school and take some classes," Buckner said. "That can lead to finding a group of people who like to have fun and do scenes or games without an audience. Just start playing as much as you can."
Buckner said the 46-hour marathon is similar to a real marathon in that improvisers must push themselves mentally to make it to the end.
“What's going to motivate me is being in the machine that is the marathon and the other seven people who will be up there with me,” Buckner said. “What pushes you on is getting to the end hour. Forty-six is our finish line.”