Happy Accidents: Taking Things One Performance at a Time


Wesley Wood, Co-Captain: Well, my favorite story about the happy accidents was back in 8th grade. I had been watching them perform since 7th grade, so I knew I wanted to audition. I thought it was one of those things that you audition for at the end of 8th grade, so I emailed Ms. Dillard, asking for audition dates. She responded, explaining that you couldn’t audition for the Happy Accidents until the end of freshman year. Freshman year goes by, I meet [Hayden] in C&C, and we quickly discover we both really like improv, and wanted to audition [for Happy Accidents]. Leading up to auditions, we had both come to know Ms. Dillard much better, and it finally came full circle when we auditioned and we both made it.


How is the group different now that Ms. Dillard is no longer teaching at Enloe?


Wood: When Ms. Dillard was here, it used to be the [one] captain, who would work side-by-side with her, but now that she’s gone, it’s just us. If it was just one of us leading everything, Happy Accidents would be a mess. We take things one at a time, and nothing’s spiraled out of control. We are grateful for everything Ms. Dillard has done for the group, and training us to be who we are, but this year we have the freedom to do things that we may not have before because of schedules. When we worked with Ms. Dillard, we were also entrenched in the theatre department, and their schedules. For example, with [Midsummer’s] production schedule, Happy Accidents would not be able to meet almost at all, but now that we’re free, we were able to perform twice this month, which was completely unheard of up until now! 


Hayden Rains, Co-Captain: Wesley and I are leadership. We do most things for the Happy Accidents. We’re the counselors, mediators, the “good guys and the bad guys”, and schedule most performances. Ms. Dillard was also almost a mom to us, and would help solve problems, which Mr. Jerrigan has now handed over to us. We would be dead if it weren’t for the other one. It’s rewarding to know that there isn’t some higher figure, telling you what to do. We are successful this year because we have worked hard. 


How does the group prepare for performances?


Rains: Whatever you can do to get energy, whether it is a compliment circle, playing some fun games, or just laughing as a group, you just want everyone to be in a good mood prior to performing. For the last show, we had a Compliment Circle, where everyone stands in a circle, one person is picked, and everyone else in the troupe gives a compliment for them; it ends up with everyone being complimented by everyone else. And after that, everyone compliments themselves. Most of the time, people are uncomfortable doing that, because they maybe don’t want to brag, or they don’t know what they’re good at, or they’re insecure, but that is something we want to work on, as a way to “hype” the group up. 


Wood: Our group splits up sometimes, where I’ll have a group and [Hayden] has one, and his [group’s performance] was one of the best I’ve ever seen from the Happy Accidents. And something we’ve been trying to instill from the beginning is that the height of the best laugh is determined by the work put in during warm-ups. With such a vulnerable art form as improv, the vulnerability shown by the group members in these [exercises], everyone learns to trust each other, which in turn opens the door to so much potential for an amazing show. We pride ourselves on being able to read the room of our group, and Hayden was the one who realized that this group especially needs good vibes.


How much of Happy Accidents is made up of “theatre kids”?


Wood: Over the last three years, we’ve noticed a sort-of culture change, for lack of a better term, since our sophomore year. Happy Accidents used to be the thing that the funny acting kids did in their free time, and something they didn’t take that seriously. When we got to leadership, we didn’t understand why this wasn’t everyone’s number one priority, since we both loved improv and this troupe so much. It just so happens that this year, the people that fit that bill are not all involved in theatre. Only three of the fourteen of us are in the drama department. 


Rains: And just a couple years ago, the group was made up of mostly acting kids. When we got in to leadership, we established fairly early-on that we were going to separate ourselves from acting, and we needed to be seen as some acting entity. We wanted people to know that the group wasn’t just available to only drama kids, and that anyone could be a part of it. 


What else would you want Enloe students to know about the Happy Accidents? 


Rains: If you don’t necessarily like drama, or watching big performances, you would still enjoy Happy Accidents. We just had some people come to our most recent show that have never seen improv, don’t see Enloe shows, aren’t “drama kids”, that loved the show, and Happy Accidents. It’s something for everybody.


Wood: We are very much our own thing, and we’ve put in a lot of work this year to make it so. And we want all of that to pay off. This group deserves a packed house; they’re just that good. If there’s one big takeaway, we want people to see our shows, so give it a shot.