Jokers stealing the stage

Gianna Lazzaro, staff writer

The Jokers Improv troupe, directed by drama teacher Andrew Cupo, performed to an enthusiastic audience at the Valentines’ Day improv show.
Improvisation is a form of live theatre in which the actors make the characters and plot up on the spot. The spontaneity of the performance makes it one of a kind.
“Problem solving, listening, and teamwork are important abilities to have,” said Cupo. Anyone can have success with improvisation as long as they are dedicated.
Since improvisation consists of quick, critical thinking, students have to be able to form instant responses that typically result in bizarre situations that, when done well, make the whole room erupt in laughter. Sometimes, the actors even use the laid-back structure of their shows to ask the audience for their feedback on a scene.
“I kind of try to go with the flow of what’s happening in the scene I’m in,” said Kelsey Casas, a sophomore member of the improv troupe.
Being quick-witted is a large factor that goes into the art of improvisation, as there is no script to memorize. The on-a-whim nature of improvising allows the performers to take the scene in whatever direction they please.
“I get nervous before I go on stage but when I get up there and I begin the scene, I start to relax,” added Casas.
The lack of a script can create tension because of the uncertainty of the act. There are many strategies that the Jokers use to strengthen their performance, including team building exercises, as well as working through various different scenarios.
“We have all these traditions before the show,” said Adam Schwartz, a sophomore drama student. “Just getting into the mindset of the shows calms me down.”
The hours of training give the actors a level of competence that is apparent on stage.
Before they perform, the Jokers run through warm-up games to get their minds going and ease some of the pressure.
“I think the hardest part is cooperating with each other, because it’s not just you doing it personally, you have to listen to what the other person is saying,” said Schwartz.
Working with what is given and being able to collaborate with one another on stage is a key component to a successful improv show.