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Improv show returns to the stage for ninth year

Taylor Schmitt, Reporter

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The curtain goes up for “So _________ You’ll _________ IX: So ________!” Thursday, Sept. 21; Friday, Sept. 22; and Saturday, Sept. 23. The show starts at 7 p.m. each day, and there is an additional show on Sept 22, at 3:30 p.m. Each show takes place in the SC PAC.

“I like the PAC more for the Improv show because I think comedy is funnier close up,” Director Mike Kuehl said. “A lot of the stuff we do is small, facial things and goofiness that doesn’t play so well in a 700-seat auditorium.”

Improvisation is the creation of a scene or story without any script or pre-planning, Kuehl said. For the show, the cast does a lot of short-form improv in the form of exercises. The actors are given the format of the exercise; however, they don’t know the situation or characters. Those come up organically over the course of the show.

“I think improv is an amazing skill for anybody, especially high school students to have to wrestle with,” Kuehl said. “The ‘thinking on your feet’ aspects and the rules of improv are all great rules for life. [Improv is] about seeking agreement and contributing to something bigger and listening to other people rather than just doing your own thing. That’s how improv succeeds on the stage and that’s how you can succeed in a job interview, at work, with roommates or at college.”

The format for the show is changing this year, Kuehl said. In past years, there was a “competition” between two teams playing similar short-form games. After the intermission, they would create a long-form improvisation play with four or five actors.

This year, there will be no intermission, and it will be primarily short form games, Kuehl said. Rather than having a 30-minute long-form play, at any time during the show, one of the “teams” of actors can tell the other to perform a five to 10-minute long-form improv play about a topic that came up during a short form game.

“Personally, one of my favorite parts is seeing the kids that haven’t done improv before that are really hesitant in rehearsal, blossom onstage, get a big laugh and get kind of hooked,” Kuehl said.

The auditions were at the end of the 2016-2017 school year, and they were open to incoming sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The cast of 24 students includes two seniors who have participated in the show all three years they were eligible.

“Improv is the best experience at LT that I’ve had,” Sam Land ’18, one of the two returning seniors, said. “It makes the fall so much more fun after school. I’m always excited to get back to school, in a weird way, because you know that the second or third day of school is when improv rehearsal starts.”

The show has grown over the years, Land said. While in her sophomore year, there was only Land and another senior, Taylor Koc ’18. This year’s show has six sophomores.

“One of my favorite things about the improv show is that you get a lot of people who don’t necessarily do theater, or musicals, or dance, or artsy types,” Land said. “There are a wide variety of kids who think that they’re funny. And they are.”

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The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years
Improv show returns to the stage for ninth year