BY JAKE BRYANT
Do you have a flair for the dramatic? Are you quick on your feet? Do you really enjoy Whose Line is it Anyway? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you should consider auditioning for the CHS Improv team! Auditions are after school Wednesday, October 10th and Thursday, October 11th, with a workshop on Tuesday, October 9th. All of these will happen in the Drama Room.
Improv, or improvisational comedy, is acting without a script. At CHS, we practice “short-form improv.” In short-form improv, players learn different “games”; these are scenes in which players have to follow specific rules, such as not being able to use specific body parts, having to talk in a funny voice, or playing a certain character. Audience members are called on to give suggestions that the players then have to incorporate in the scene.
CHS has a robust theatre department, and our improv troupe is no different. The Improv department here is divided up into eight teams of three or four players, each with one team captain. Improv captains teach, guide, and support the other players, as well as leading their teams. There are six regular season improv matches, one every month, from November to April. These matches are divided into two rounds, with two teams “playing against” each other in the first round, and two different teams “playing each other” in the second round. Each Improv team plays in three out of the six normal matches. In May, there is a seventh All-Star match, where teams of All-Star players are selected to play against each other, and where four captains play against a team of teachers!
Why audition for Improv? Well, there are lots of reasons! First, it builds very strong public speaking and acting skills, as being required to think on one’s feet builds adaptability and comfortability in front of an audience. In addition to improving my theatrical capabilities, participating in Improv has helped me build confidence and become more outgoing. In improv comedy, there is little room for shyness or uncertainty—you have to jump in headfirst! I realized that, if I could do something as crazy as improv comedy, I could go into a room full of people I didn’t know and strike up a conversation. Finally, the greatest reason to try out for Improv is the near-familial bonding that takes place between teams. Throughout the course of a season, players bond with one another, and a small, tight-knit community is created.
Still need more convincing? Here are statements from the other seven captains as to why they think you should try out for Improv!
James Auwn: “Improv is not just a super fun performance art; it’s also a great life skill that helps you think under pressure and respond to spontaneity.”
Ian Bower (the Improv Manager): “Improv may seem incredibly overwhelming, because (seemingly) the only person you can rely on is yourself; however, that isn’t true. Improv at CHS is done with a team that knows your strengths and weaknesses, and everyone comes together to create something beautiful. You aren’t really doing improv for the audience—you’re doing it for yourself and your team.”
Gabe Crochet: “Improv is more about the team you bond with than the shows themselves, and you eventually learn to have more fun with those onstage, as opposed to worrying about what people think of the scene.”
Abby Lundergan: “Improv creates such a tight-knit community within such a fun and easygoing activity. No one ever knows what they are going to be doing in improv, which makes it such a wonderful thing to be a part of, especially as an underclassmen. Absolutely no one knows what will happen. We are clueless in the best possible way: as a team.”
Hunter McCoy: “People know improv for the comedy, when in reality, the structure of the scene itself is more important. A scene composed completely of jokes, without any substance, will fall flat much quicker than a well-improvised, somber scene. That’s why everyone, including those who don’t consider themselves funny, is encouraged to audition.”
Gwen Muncy-Champitto: “I think improv is so special because it gives you a place to get out of your head and be silly, whether by adopting crazy accents or rolling around onstage. Laughing and having an outlet to exercise your creativity is so important.”
Allie Jessee: “I would definitely not be as outgoing and welcoming as I am now if it had not been for improv. It forces you—in a loving way—to let go of your insecurities and just put yourself out there on stage and with your team members. Performing improv leaves you with laugh-out-loud memories and exciting newfound confidence.”
Hopefully, this article was enough to convince those on the fence about auditioning to come and try out, and to even further encourage those raring-to-go. We are so excited for auditions, and for the coming year of inevitably sensational improv comedy.