Improv show brings down the house
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The Drama Club presented the “Improv Comedy Competition” on Thursday, Sept. 12 through Saturday, Sept. 14.
The Improv Show was a collection of skits, games, and other activities that the actors had to come up with on the spot from a repertoire of topics the referee and audience suggested. There were two competing teams in the show, juniors and seniors, who performed in improv skits, songs, and games in an attempt to elicit applause from the audience.
The applause from the crowd was measured on the applause-o-meter, and whichever team received the most applause won. The fans were on the side of the seniors, who won in a dramatic, last-minute turn of events.
The show featured an improv actor from ComedySportz Chicago, who acted as a referee for the improv game show. This was not the first time the Drama Club produced an improv show, with the last one in 2008, where ComedySportz Chicago was also hired. Ever since the last improv show, students had been asking for another.
“Students wanted the improv show; it is a lot of fun and people love improv,” said Chris Kostro, English teacher and Drama Club director. “Who doesn’t love Second City?”
The stage was filled with random objects for the contestants to use in skits, and the backdrop was a bright, extravagant scoreboard. The contestants wore “uniforms,” denoting which team they were playing for, and each team had a captain who would lead their team as they participated in each game.
The referee and contestants actively engaged with the audience, and when the show finally closed its curtains, the crowd erupted with applause, giving standing ovations and whistle calls to the unorthodox drama production. Both the cast and audience said they enjoyed the creative style of this play.
“The show is a semi-new idea,” said Ellie Peña, who competed for the junior team. “They did an improv show several years ago, and it was a huge success, so they decided to do it again.”
Although improv is a highly enjoyable type of acting that encourages creativity and humor, improvisation is a difficult skill for actors to master, as it requires on-the-spot thinking where actors cannot prepare or anticipate for what they will say. Despite its difficulty, actors often enjoy improv and the benefits it provides for other forms of acting.
“[Improv shows] allow actors to gain skills that they might not already have,” said Brody Melia, senior actor.
Rehearsals for the improv show were different than those of regular scripted shows. Practices began in June and occurred occasionally until August, where practices began to pick up in frequency. Actors would practice various improv scenarios, including games and skits, and sometimes had workshop days where ComedySportz professionals would help train the actors. These rehearsals helped strengthen relationships amongst the actors.
“I’ve never met a group so funny, so smart, and so compassionate in my life,” Peña said. “We’ve all grown extremely close in the past few months.”
The actors said they also enjoyed the social aspect of the show, where they had the opportunity to meet and connect with new people in a humorous, open environment and forge friendships.
“My favorite thing about the show has been the community aspect of it,” Melia said. “It’s such an open group of people, which allows us to take bigger risks in our scenes and choices.”
Kostro directed the show with the help of student co-directors Emma Linane, junior, Noela Musil, junior, Grace Notbusch, senior, and Alexxis Toler, junior.
The directors will choose what shows will be produced in the future, and as of now, the next several shows will be scripted. However, there is a chance that there will be another improv show in the future.
“I love doing [scripted] shows, but this was such an amazing experience that everyone thought was hilarious,” Peña said. “I really hope this becomes a tradition.”
Upcoming drama events include the freshman play on Oct. 17, 18, and 19, and the play “Peter and the Starcatcher” on Nov. 14, 15, and 16. You can purchase tickets, view the schedule, and find out other information regarding the Drama Club at http://www.hinsdaledrama.com/. You can listen to some audio from the show here: http://drive.google.com/file/d/1sh_nz-t8naS9tvIYu5VHaA14mVz1CwW2/view?usp=sharing
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