Since high school, I’ve loved being a part of theater. The whole process of discovering your character, memorizing lines, bonding with your cast, and finally performing for an audience requires a lot of hard work, but is so worth it in the end. However, my favorite form of theater requires a little less technical work and a lot more spontaneity: improv!
Improv is a form of theater that requires actors to think and act on their toes, saying and doing whatever comes to mind at any given moment in a scene. As you can imagine, this usually means improv shows are a riot. And what’s better than hearing a crowd erupt into laughter and knowing it’s because of your goofy genius?
Here at the University of Puget Sound, there’s an absolutely FANTASTIC improv team called Ubiquitous They. They hold shows every other Friday night in Club Rendezvous next to the Cellar. The entire team is composed of geniuses, and though there’s only been two shows so far, I’ve had the pleasure of attending both!
Just this past weekend, our campus was lucky enough to have a professional improv team from New York, the Upright Citizens Brigade, perform in our concert hall. Needless to say, they were hilarious. Topics in their scenes ranged from camping, to Ryan Gosling working as a carny, to school libraries with only Clifford books to offer. After the show, the performers held a little Q and A session for our very own improv team (plus anyone else who wished to join), and they talked about making it in the real world as an improv performer. It was an awesome experience, and a great way to spend a Saturday night.
Friday and Saturday proved to be just the beginning of my weekend improv adventures! Sunday was part of the Tacoma Fall Free-For-All, a free theater festival held at the Broadway Center for the Arts just off campus. Here, I was given yet another opportunity to witness some incredible improv. The group was called Muh Grog Zoo, and they put on an entire one act play based on suggestions from the audience. How they created a plot around linen pajamas, laughter, sewing, and “Gangnam Style” may seem a mystery to many, but that didn’t mean it was anything less than entertaining!
Improv is something I’d recommend to anyone who is interested in theater. Not only is it nice to make people laugh, but it really makes you feel like a genius. There’s no script, so you can’t mess up! I’m looking forward to auditioning for Ubiquitous They next time they hold auditions, and I suggest you all look into it too. In the meantime, you’re improving every day, everywhere, just by living life!
Pictures of the Upright Citizens Brigade show are courtesy of Serni Solidarios.