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The Spirit

What’s Improv Anyway?

It’s All About Improv

Catherine Tadin, Senior Writer

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Catherine Tadin ’17
Students practice improv after school.

For most, the thought of standing on stage performing without preparation is a daunting task, yet Alena Stankaitis ’18 joined the improv club at the beginning of the year with an open mind. Stankaitis transferred to Saint Ignatius this year and wanted to join clubs to help her find friends, so she went to the club fair during activity period at the beginning of the year. “[T]he kids at the booth seemed really funny and nice, so I signed up and I went to my first practice and I had a lot of fun. And I’ve been going ever since,” Stankaitis said.

According to Mr. Martin Butzen, one of the moderators of the improv club, anybody can do improv. “That’s the interesting thing about it, we’ve all been improving,” he said. Mr. Butzen also talked about how improv parallels learning in class because we the students are faced with stressful situations in which we have to come up with a response.

According to Mr. Stephen Cahill, the other moderator of the improv club, improv is all about positivity, working together and saying “yes”. “You’re trying to further whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish,” he said. Stankaitis also said that optimism is key in improv. “Sometimes a pessimist can be funny but mostly optimism [is key],” she said.

At improv practices, there is an icebreaker to start off, followed by games that one might actually see being played at an improv show such as the alphabet game. The rules of the alphabet game are there is a letter given to start off, and whoever is improving has to create a scene using that letter. Then you move on to the next letter and create a scene from that letter. After one of these games, the students who just performed receive feedback and advice from some of the older students.

“We do pretty much the same games everyday, but each time it’s obviously different. We get different topics to do it on, or we work on different skills,” Stankaitis said. The improv club is all student directed, with the student leaders planning practice and giving feedback. Stankaitis also talked about how improv has really helped with her public speaking skills and it is great for overcoming stage fright. “I have great respect for the kids who are willing to get up on the stage in front of especially their peers,” Mr. Butzen said.

“I see things emerge from them that I had no idea was there,” Mr. Butzen said when talking about his experience moderating the club.

“After doing this for 12 years, I’ve seen kids come in as freshmen, sophomores or even juniors, but mostly freshmen, and by the time they’re a senior – they’re one of the best,” Mr. Cahill said. The upcoming improv shows will be on March 11 at 6:30 pm, March 23 during activity period, April 28 at 3:30 pm, May 6 at 6:30 pm and May 8 during activity period.

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The student news site of Saint Ignatius College Prep
What’s Improv Anyway?